Department of International Law

The M.A. Programmes in International Law 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.

The Master Programmes begin with core foundational courses in the field, including public international law and human rights. Against this background, considerable attention will be given to the role of international law in conflict and peace, in particular to questions of collective security arrangements, international humanitarian law, and peacebuilding. Specific attention will be given to post-conflict situations and ‘transitional justice’ mechanisms, which call for complex international legal and policy arrangements, and are crucial for the implementation of international human rights standards. In particular, it will examine how international criminal law and the International Criminal Court (ICC) have become a crucial part of this framework. In addition, the Programmes provide an understanding of the position and protection of the most vulnerable, in particular refugees and the stateless. Students can choose between the two different Programmes: 'International Law and Human Rights' or International Law and the Settlement of Disputes.



Amr Abdalla (Egypt) is the Senior Advisor on Policy Analysis and Research at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa University, and the Senior Advisor on Conflict Resolution at KARAMAH (Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights). In 2013-2014, he was Vice President of SALAM Institute for Peace and Justice in Washington, D.C. From 2004-2013 he was Professor, Dean and Vice Rector at the United Nations-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica. Prior to that, he was a Senior Fellow with the Peace Operations Policy Program, School of Public Policy, at George Mason University, Virginia. He was also a Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Leesburg, Virginia. He practiced law as a prosecuting attorney from 1978 to 1987 in Egypt. He then emigrated to the U.S. where he obtained a Master's degree in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. He has been teaching graduate classes in conflict analysis and resolution, and has conducted training, research and evaluation of conflict resolution and peacebuilding programs in several countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. He teaches regularly (face-to-face and online) at American University in Washington, D.C., University for Peace, University of Addis Ababa, and Open University of Catalonia. Dr. Abdalla pioneered the development of the first conflict resolution training manual for the Muslim communities in the United States titled (“…Say Peace”). He also founded Project LIGHT (Learning Islamic Guidance for Human Tolerance), a community peer-based anti-discrimination project funded by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). In 2011, he established with Egyptian UPEACE graduates a program for community prevention of sectarian violence in Egypt (Ahl el Hetta).


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.

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). Over the last 14 years, he has worked as a legal adviser in the High Commissioner’s Executive Office, 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 He holds a law degree from the University of Muenster in Germany, a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (United States), the Diploma Law of The Hague Academy of International Law, and a Doctorate degree in International Law from the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt, Germany.

Jorge Calderon is currently a Senior Legal Officer at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, where he has worked since 2007. He obtained his law degree (JD equivalent) at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) in Mexico City, and an LL.M. degree in International Legal Studies at American University-Washington College of Law in 2007. He has also undertaken specialized studies in International Criminal Law at Leiden University. In Mexico, Jorge was active in different NGOs and worked on several community projects with indigenous peoples. He also worked as a Deputy Visitor at the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City (Ombudsman). He was a Research Assistant at the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and an intern at Human Rights First in Washington, D.C, and Seconded Jurist at the ECHR in France. He has been a Professor on Human Rights at the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and in other international Master’s programmes in the Americas, as well as lectured in different countries in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. He has authored several articles on international human rights.

Professor José Riera-Cézanne (United States) is Adjunct Professor in the Department of International Law at UPEACE. He joined the faculty after 32 years of distinguished service with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), most recently as Special Adviser to the Assistant UN High Commissioner for Refugees (Protection). Professor Riera-Cézanne is a seasoned expert in multilateral consultations and negotiations relating to refugees and other populations of concern to UNHCR, as well humanitarian issues more broadly. He brings to UPAZ his in-depth knowledge of international refugee law and protection issues; international humanitarian law and norms relating to the protection of the world’s growing number of internally displaced persons; international law relating to statelessness and nationality; human rights law; international migration and efforts to improve global governance of international migration and refugee flows; climate change and its ramifications for migration, displacement and planned relocation of affected populations; humanitarian accountability; evaluations of humanitarian assistance; and the UN’s cooperation with faith-based actors in development and humanitarian interventions. Professor Riera-Cézanne holds degrees from Yale College (BA cum laude, SY ’77), Columbia Law School (JD ’81), the Parker School of International Law (Certificate in Public International Law ‘81). He has also worked towards a doctorate from the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland, and studied at The Hague Academy of International Law (Private international law and Public international law). His principal area of academic research is documenting the impacts of climate change on human mobility and identifying effective adaptation strategies and State policies to promote them.

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

Julie Diane Recinos is currently working at the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico. Before that, she was a senior coordinating attorney at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for eleven years. She holds a B.A. (magna cum laude) in History and Political Science from the University of Florida and a J.D. (cum laude) from the University of Notre Dame, both in the US. She has also undertaken advanced studies in human rights at the University of Oxford, UK, and has written and taught on international human rights instruments and standards in various academic and governmental institutions around the world. She specializes in gender rights.

Lesya Sabada was born and raised in Saskatoon. She completed a B.Ed. at the University of Saskatchewan, a B.A. in Religious Studies at the University of Toronto, a M. A. in Eastern Christian Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and a doctorate in Religious Peacebuilding at St. Paul and Ottawa Universities. Lesya is an alumna of St. Thomas More College and has been a sessional lecturer at STM since 1993. While teaching in the Department of Religion and Culture, Lesya travelled extensively researching tribes throughout Africa, South America, and Asia. Her investigations into conflict studies, the study of genocides and on-site field research included the countries of Ukraine, Thailand, Israel, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tibet, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Research of environmental destruction was focused mostly in Borneo. Most of her most recent publications are focused on religious peacebuilding, ecological theology and environmental ethics. Lesya belongs to the World Council of Churches, where she is engaged with the Climate Change Working Group. As part of her volunteer work for the Sustainable Alternatives for Poverty Reduction and Ecological Justice (SAPREJ) Committee, she taught at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar (2014), University of Kyambogo, Kampala, Uganda (2016), and the University of the South Pacific, Fiji (2018). She has also presented at the United Nations mandated University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica (2017, 2018) and Tribhuvan University, in Kachmandu, Nepal (2018). She also is the director of the Human and Environmental Development Office for the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon. She is also an avid scuba diver and trekker, is married, and enjoys her three children, their spouses, and six grandchildren.

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.

María Pia Carazo has a Law degree from the University of Costa Rica (1996) and an LL.M. degree from the University of Heidelberg, Germany (1999). She is currently completing her Ph.D. at the University of Heidelberg. Her areas of research include fundamental issues of Public International Law, Refugee Law, International Criminal Law, Transitional Justice, Human Rights (with an emphasis on regional protection systems) and Comparative Legal Studies (specially of Latin America, Spain, Portugal and Germany). She has 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.

Dr. Mihir Kanade (India) is the Academic Coordinator of the University for Peace, the Head of its Department of International Law, and the Director of the UPEACE Human Rights Centre. He holds an LL.B. from Nagpur University (India) and a Master degree and Doctorate from UPEACE. He is also an adjunct faculty at Universidad Alfonso X El Sabio (Spain), Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal), 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 trade and investment, sustainable development, forced migration, indigenous peoples’ rights, public health, amongst others. He has extensive experience in training staff of inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as professionals, in the field of human rights. He acts as an advisor to several human rights organizations and corporations on issues related to international law and human rights. He serves on the International Advisory Board of the International Bar Association on the topic of Business and Human Rights. He also leads a 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 for several years 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.

H.E. Narinder Kakar is currently a Permanent Observer of the University for Peace to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where he also served as the Permanent Observer of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Prior to joining UPEACE, Mr. Kakar spent 30 years with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), holding diverse posts with progressively increasing responsibility in Yemen, Guyana, Turkey and China. He most recently served as the Country Coordinator in the Maldives. Among his other UNDP posts, he was Deputy Director and subsequently Director of the Division for Resource Mobilization in New York. During his long career with the United Nations, Mr. Kakar served on a number of bodies, including the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund from 1989 to 1995. He also chaired the Joint Appeals Board during the 1990s and was the first member of the United Nations Federal Credit Union Board of Directors, chairing it from 1991 to 1995. A citizen of India, Mr. Kakar received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Delhi Polytecnic, where he also earned a diploma in journalism. He obtained a Master’s degree from Haceteppe University in Turkey and, in 1995, was a social development Research Associate at Harvard University.


Nobuo Hayashi specialises in in international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and public international law. He has over 18 years of experience performing advanced research, publishing and editing scholarly works, authoring court submissions, advising international prosecutors, and speaking at academic and diplomatic conferences. He regularly teaches at defence academies, Red Cross symposia and professional workshops, as well as university faculties of law, political science, and peace and security studies. He also trains commissioned officers, military lawyers, judges, prosecutors, defence counsel, diplomats and other government officials, humanitarian relief specialists, and NGO representatives from all over the world. Major positions held: Visiting Lecturer, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute; Senior Legal Advisor, International Law and Policy Institute; Visiting Professor, International University of Japan; Researcher, Peace Research Institute Oslo; Legal Advisor, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights; Legal Officer, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Degrees earned: Ph.D. in international law (Leiden), LL.M. in international law (Cambridge), Diplôme d’études supérieures in international law (HEI/Geneva), B.S. in Foreign Service (Georgetown University).



Robert H. Serry (The Netherlands) is a former Dutch career diplomat with extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy and crisis management, having served with the United Nations and NATO. In 2015, he completed a seven-year appointment as the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, based in Jerusalem. He also briefly served as Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General during the 2014 crisis in Ukraine. For NATO, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary-General for Crisis Management and Operations (2001-2005) and was involved in NATO’s operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan. Mr. Serry was involved in ‘second track’ diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinians and took part in the Middle East Peace Conference in Madrid (1991). He also gained experience in informal contacts with non-state actors in conflict theatres in the Balkans and Middle East. In 2015-16, Mr. Serry occupied the Sergio Vieira de Mello Visiting Chair in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations of Seton Hall University, USA. He currently holds the position of Chairman of UPEACE Centre-The Hague, which represents the University for Peace in Europe. Mr. Serry studied Political Science (MA with honours) at the University of Amsterdam. He was honoured by the King of the Netherlands as Commandeur in the Order of Oranje Nassau and also received decorations for his work by the Presidents of Ukraine and Palestine.


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.