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.


Dr. Abdalla is a visiting professor of peace and conflict studies at the University for Peace and the Wesley Theological Seminary. He serves as the Senior Advisor on Conflict Resolution at the Washington-based organization KARAMAH (Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights in the Washington, D.C. area. From 2014 to 2017 he was the Senior Advisor on Policy Analysis and Research at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa University. 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. Both his academic and professional careers are multi-disciplinary. He obtained a law degree in Egypt in 1977 where he practiced law as a prosecuting attorney from 1978 to 1986. From 1981-1986, he was a member of the public prosecutor team investigating the case of the assassination of President Sadat and numerous other terrorism cases. 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 has been an active figure in promoting effective cross-cultural messages within the Islamic and Arabic-speaking communities in America through workshops, T.V. and radio presentations. He has also been actively involved in inter-faith dialogues in the United States. He 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). Dr. Abdalla teaches regularly (face-to-face and online) at Wesley Theological Seminary and the University for Peace.
Dr. Cecilia Bailliet is a visiting scholar at the University for Peace. She is also a Professor in the Department of Public and International Law, and the Director of the Master's Program in Public International Law at the University of Oslo. She has a doctoral degree in law from the University of Oslo and a combined JD/MA (honours) degree from the George Washington University Law School & Elliott School of International Affairs. Her research addresses the cross-fields of international public law, human rights, women's law, refugee law, peace studies, and counter-terrorism. Among her publications are: The Research Handbook on International Law and Peace (2018 co-edited with Kjetil M. Larsen); The Legitimacy of International Criminal Tribunals (2017 co-edited with Nobuo Hayashi), Promoting Peace through International Law (2015 coedited with Kjetil Larsen), Security: A Multidisciplinary Normative Approach (2009) and Cosmopolitan Justice and its Discontents (co-edited with Katja Franko Aas, 2011).

Frans Viljoen obtained the degrees LLB, MA (in Afrikaans literature) and LLD (on the African regional human rights system) from the University of Pretoria (UP); and the degree LLM from Cambridge University.  In October 2007, he was appointed as Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. He is also the academic co-ordinator of the LLM (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, since 1919 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.
Jan Hessbruegge is taking a sabbatical leave from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Since 2005, he has worked as a United Nations human rights officer for the United Nations, where he worked for the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, United Nations peacekeeping missions in Sudan and Haiti, the Commissions of Inquiry on Human Rights in Syria and North Korea, the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and the Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons. He holds a law degree from the University of Muenster in Germany, a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School and the Diploma in Public International Law of the Hague Academy of International Law. Jan is currently pursuing a doctorate in international law at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany.
He 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), 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 Masters programs in the Americas, as well as lectured in different countries in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. He is author of several articles on international human rights.

Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo is the Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor at UPEACE. He is also Associate Professor of International Law at the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas since 1998. Professor of Humanitarian International Law at the Universidad Sergio Arboleda in Bogota since 2009; he was Fulbright Visiting Professor at the Washington College of Law at the American University in 2008-2009. He served as Jurist to the Regional Delegation of Venezuela and the Caribbean of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo has a Law Degree, Master in International Law and Doctorate (Cum Laude) from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas and a Master Degree from Oxford University, UK. He has published four books on international law and international relations and a numerous articles in different publications in the field.

Julie Diane Recinos is a senior coordinating attorney at the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights, where she has worked since 2008. She holds a BA in history and political science magna cum laude from the University of Florida and a JD 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.

Member of the Office of the Legal Counsel, Office of Legal Affairs, Secretariat of the United Nations. Previously a member of the Treaty Section of the Office of Legal Affairs. Formerly a legal adviser and a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Territories, the Philippines, and Rwanda. LLM, London School of Economics and Political Science; PhD, University of Cambridge. Areas of expertise are the law of international organisations, international humanitarian law, international law regulating the use of force, and the law of treaties.

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 Pía Carazo Ortiz (Costa Rica) 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., also 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). Among her previous work experience 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.
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 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 Defense 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.
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.

Instructor, Liason, Media, Peace and Conflict Studies Specialization and Editor, Peace and Conflict Monitor and Peace and Conflict Review Ross Ryan holds degrees in political science and literature from McMaster University, Canada and the M.A. degree in environmental security from the University for Peace, Costa Rica. He is chief editor of the Peace and Conflict Monitor and managing editor of the Peace and Conflict Review, as well as instructor in the department of peace studies and liaison officer of the media, peace and conflict studies specialization. He is currently working on a research project entitled “Information Technology, Civic Engagement, and the Cyber-Ethnography of Peace Movements”.