The M.A. Programmes within the Department of International Law (DIL) at the University for Peace provide students with a rigorous understanding of the role of law in today’s complex global society. Though international law has a long history, the last century has seen an impressive expansion of the role of law and legal institutions in international and transnational relations, involving not just states, but an increasing array of various types of actors. Our Masters Programmes provide an introduction to this dynamic field as well as the opportunity to gain a solid and critical understanding of public international law and its various underpinnings. Aside from a focus on the foundational principles and values of the international legal system, various courses deal with the broad range of international institutions that play a pivotal role in the development of international law as well as in its implementation and enforcement. Our courses are taught by faculty with rich international experience, as well as by visiting professors from prestigious universities and key international organizations (UN, UNHCR, ICRC, etc.) Our faculty has long-standing experience in teaching both lawyers and students from different disciplines. The in-class experience offers an exciting and diverse environment, with students hailing from all over the world and a broad range of backgrounds.


Frans Viljoen obtained his LLB and M.A. degrees (in Afrikaans literature) and his LLD (on the African regional human rights system) from the University of Pretoria (South Africa); and his LLM degree from Cambridge University (UK). In October 2007, he was appointed Director of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria. He is also the Academic Coordinator of the LLM in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa presented by the Centre, in collaboration with seven partner law faculties across Africa. He is also the author of numerous articles, especially dealing with human rights issues, and International Human Rights Law in Africa. He is editor-in-chief of the African Human Rights Law Journal and co-editor of the English and French versions of the African Human Rights Law Reports.

 Helga Gudmundsdottir is an associate at Brussels-based law firm, Van Bael & Bellis. Prior to joining Van Bael & Bellis, Helga was a Fulbright, Harvard Frank Boas, Leif Eiriksson Fellowship scholar at Harvard University and recipient the Law of the Sea Institute of Iceland Grant, the Thor Thors Scholarship, the Landsbankinn Schgolarship and the Carl G. & Rikke Fredriksen Barth Scholarship. 
Helga received a BA in law from the University of Iceland in 2013, an MA degree in International Law and the Settlement of Disputes from the UN mandated University for Peace in 2014, a Mag.jur. degree from the University of Iceland in 2015, a Rhodes Oceans Scholar Diploma from the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy in 2015 and an LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School in 2017. During her studies, Helga has largely focused on international law, in particular, the international law of the sea.
Helga has held a number of research positions, including at Harvard University on the South China Sea dispute and at the Icelandic Centre for Research on international intellectual property rights. Helga has also held editorial positions for international law publications, including the Harvard International Law Journal and as editor and coordinator of Liber Amicorum - In Honour of a Modern Renaissance Man His Excellency Gudmundur Eiriksson (Lexis Nexis/UPeace 2017).
She has recently authored articles on the use of compulsory conciliation in fisheries disputes and on coastal States’ claims to the continental shelf.

The only tripartite U.N. agency, the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers representatives of 187 member States to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. The main aims of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.

Dr. Jan Arno Hessbruegge works for the Methodology and Training Section of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), where he is responsible for the human rights training of military and police peacekeepers and covers other human rights engagement with security forces. Over the course of two decades, he has worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as a direct legal adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, for the OHCHR New York Office, OHCHR Rule of Law Section and for the U.N. Commissions of Inquiry on Human Rights in Syria and North Korea.  He also served in U.N. peacekeeping missions in Sudan and Haiti, and worked with the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and the Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons. Prior to joining the United Nations he worked for the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the German Parliament and the U.S. Institute of Peace. He holds a law degree from the University of Muenster in Germany, a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, the Diploma Law of the Hague Academy of International Law and a doctorate in international law from European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. He teaches this course in a personal capacity and any views presented are not necessarily those of the U.N.

Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo (Venezuela) is Professor and Dean at the University for Peace (UPEACE). He is also Associate Professor of International Law at the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas and has been since 1998. He served as Fulbright Visiting Professor at the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington DC (2008-2009); Professor of Humanitarian International Law at the Universidad Sergio Arboleda (2009-2014), the Universidad Javeriana and Universidad El Rosario, both in Colombia. He is also Professor at the Universidad Alfonso X El Sabio in Madrid and has been since 2009. He was Jurist to the Regional Delegation of Venezuela and the Caribbean of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He served as member of the Venezuelan Foreign Service in charge of border affairs as Adviser and Coordinator of the Cooperation Border Programs between 1991-1999, and Deputy Director of the Diplomatic Academy. Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo has a Law Degree, a Master's Degree in International Law and a Doctorate Degree (Cum Laude) from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas and a Master's Degree from Oxford University (UK). He has published four books on international law and international relations and numerous articles in different publications in the field

Dr. Mariateresa Garrido (Venezuela) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Law at UPEACE and the Doctoral Committee Coordinator. She is an international lawyer and holds a Doctorate from UPEACE. Her main research area is related to the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and the protection of journalists in Latin America; but she is also researching on the interaction between human rights and Information and Communication Technologies. She uses mixed methodologies and legal research to explore linkages between the law, journalism and new technologies. She also holds two Master’s Degrees; one from UPEACE in International Law and the Settlement of the Disputes and one from the Central University of Venezuela in Public International Law.

 Dr. María Pía Carazo has a Law degree from the University of Costa Rica (1996), an LL.M. degree from the University of Heidelberg, Germany (1999) and a Doctor iuris from Göttingen University, Germany (2017). She focuses on regional human rights protection systems. She has also researched and taught other subjects such as general principles and rules of public international law, refugee law, international human rights protection, sustainable development and climate change.  She worked as a junior research fellow at Max-Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, Germany. She has also lectured and taught at different institutions, including the University of Bonn, Germany and the University for Peace. Pia is also co-founder of Quantum Leap, an initiative focused on holistic solutions for climate change. 

Dr. Mihir Kanade (India) is the Academic Coordinator of UPEACE, the Head of its Department of International Law, and the Director of the UPEACE Human Rights Centre. He is also the academic co-coordinator of the LLM programme in Transnational Crime and Justice offered jointly by UPEACE and UNICRI in Turin, Italy. He holds an LL.B. from Nagpur University (India) and a Master degree and Doctorate from UPEACE. He is an adjunct/visiting faculty at Universidad Alfonso X El Sabio (Spain), Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal), Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia) and Long Island University (United States). His principal area of academic research and study is International Law, Human Rights and Globalization, covering several themes within that interface including armed conflicts, trade and investment, sustainable development, forced migration, indigenous peoples’ rights, public health, amongst others. He currently serves as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council's Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development in representation of the Asia-Pacific region. He also chairs the group of international experts mandated to elaborate the draft convention on the right to development. He has previously served on the International Advisory Board of the International Bar Association on the topic of Business and Human Rights. He leads an e-learning project of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on promoting the Right to Development. Prior to his pursuit in academia, Mihir practiced as a lawyer at the Bombay High Court and at the Supreme Court of India.

Professor Mohammed Ihsan is currently president of the International University of Erbil. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Defence Department at King’s College, London and Honorary Research Fellow at the Social Science Department at the University of Exeter. Between 2005 and 2011 has been Minister for Extra Regional Affairs and between 2001 and 2005 Minister for Human Rights, President of the General Board for Disputed Areas in Iraq from 2011 to 2015. He has also been International Investigator for Genocide crimes in Iraq, Bosnia and Rwanda. Between 2007 and 2012 he has been Kurdistan Representative to the Federal Government of Iraq. He published various books and articles on Iraq and the Middle East. He holds a PhD(EXON) in Political Sciences from the University of Exeter and a PhD in International Law from King’s College, London.

Nobuo Hayashi is an Associate Senior Lecturer at the Centre for International and Operational Law, Swedish Defence University. He also holds visiting professorships at the UN-mandated University for Peace (San José, Costa Rica) and the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (Turin, Italy). He specialises in international humanitarian law, international criminal law, jus ad bellum and international weapons law. He has over twenty years of experience performing advanced research, providing expert advice, teaching postgraduate students and training senior professionals in these areas. HIs work has been cited in international war crimes trials and diplomatic negotiations. His latest monograph, Military Necessity: The Art, Morality and Law of War, was published from Cambridge University Press in 2020.

Major positions held: Senior Legal Advisor, International Law and Policy Institute (Oslo, Norway); Visiting Professor, International University of Japan (Niigata, Japan); Researcher, Peace Research Institute Oslo; and Legal Officer, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (The Hague, Netherlands). Degrees earned: PhD (Leiden), LLM (Cantab.), DÉS (Graduate Institute/Geneva), BSFS (Georgetown).

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights, San Jose, Costa Rica. Attorney, May 2001 -present Drafting preliminary sections of the Court's judgments, resolutions and memorandums for subsequent presentation to legal officials and judges. Assisting the registry during the proceedings of the cases pending before the Court.

With 20 years of experience in the field of International Law and Diplomacy, Sergio Ugalde (Costa Rica) graduated as a lawyer from the University of Costa Rica and holds a Magister Juris in European and Comparative Law from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. As Costa Rica’s most senior international legal adviser since 2002, he has been entrusted with representing and managing his country’s last six cases before the International Court of Justice as counsel and advocate, and later as Co-Agent. He has served his country on over 40 occasions as Special Ambassador for legal, diplomatic and international cooperation and security affairs, and has been the chairman of the International Law Commission at Costa Rica´s Foreign Ministry for 17 years. He has headed several negotiations involving issues of international law. From 2014 to 2018, Mr. Ugalde was appointed Costa Rica´s Ambassador to The Kingdom of the Netherlands and Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prescription of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), where he served as Vice-Chair to the 20th Conference of States Parties. He was also Governor at the United Nations sponsored Common Fund for Commodities, based in Amsterdam. He served as Costa Rica’s Representative to the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and was appointed Vice-president of the Assembly of States Parties and Chair to The Hague Working Group on the International Criminal Court between 2016 and 2017. As acting President to the XVI Assembly of States Parties of the ICC in New York, he played a significant role in the activation of the ICC´s jurisdiction over the Crime of Aggression by the consensus of 123 State Parties. He is a member of the Costa Rican Bar, an international member of the American Bar Association, and a member of the International Law Association in London.


Thomas Koerner is currently working within the International Criminal Court (ICC). He has extensive experience drafting judicial decisions and orders, arrest warrants, Decisions on the Confirmation of the Charges and final Trial Judgements, as well as ‘Article 5’ trials (the core crimes of the Court; crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide) and ‘Article 70’ trials (contempt of Court cases; witness interference, tempering of evidence, etc.). His practical work experience in the Pre-Trial Section and Trial Section of the International Criminal Court includes trial management, liaising with the parties and the Registry, extensive legal research, drafting of option papers and memos, strategic consulting of the Judges, providing legal advice to the Judges, analysing evidence and drafting of orders and decisions. His academic work includes presentations about the ICC in national settings: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, panel discussions about the ICC and International Criminal Law in general, workshops and presentations at Universities as part of their international criminal law courses.