Master in International Law and the Settlement of Disputes

Programme Description:

The Masters Programme in International Law and the Settlement of Disputes provides students with a rigorous understanding of the role of international law in the settlement of disputes having an international, regional, or a national character. This unique and cutting-edge programme has been carefully designed to provide both lawyers, and those already working or aspiring to work in the broad transdisciplinary field of conflict resolution or in global policy making, to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for resolving contemporary disputes within the contours of international law. Thus, the programme aims to ensure that all its graduates are equipped with tools for conflict resolution through the use of the language and techniques of international law, including in the regional and international courts and tribunals, in diplomacy, and in alternate dispute resolution methods such as negotiation, mediation, and truth and reconciliation.


The programme is founded on three incremental pedestals. The first stage develops the necessary transdisciplinary foundations necessary for all global professionals today through the two UPEACE common courses on Peace and Conflict Studies, and the United Nations system. The second stage builds the foundational legal scholarship essential for those professionals who wish to be engaged in the settlement of disputes through the use of international law. This stage includes core courses in public international law, human rights law, law related to armed conflicts (including the UN peace and security architecture, law on the legality of use of force, self-defense, as well as international humanitarian law), transitional justice, international criminal law, and the law related to protection of various vulnerable persons and groups. The third stage engages students in a thorough specialization in the field of international legal dispute settlement. Students conduct an in-depth and hands-on analysis of the rules, procedures, techniques, successes, and failures of international and transnational adjudication in resolving disputes between and within States. Students are then introduced to key specialized regimes in international law for resolution of maritime and territorial disputes, including an emphasis on the Law of the Sea. Finally, students critically engage with the legal resolution of contemporary and emerging areas of disputes between States stemming from their increased trading, financial and investment relations.


One of the key highlights of the programme is the possible opportunity for students to represent UPEACE in international moot court competitions, including a direct participation in the final international rounds of the Philip Jessups Moot Court Competition. Another key aspect of the programme is its in-built certification courses from UNHCR, ICRC, and the ILO. The programme is taught by faculty with rich global experience, as well as by reputed international visiting professors and retired international judges. Finally, the carefully selected student body for the programme ensures national and regional diversity allowing for a rich exchange of experiences and peer-to-peer learning amongst students. 


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