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.

Gudmundur Eiriksson is Professor and Executive Director, Centre for International Legal Studies, Jindal Global Law School. He holds an A.B. degree and a B.S. degree (Civil Engineering) from Rutgers College, an LL.B. (Honours) degree from King’s College London and an LL.M. degree from Columbia University. He is a Fellow of King’s College London and Professor Emeritus, University for Peace. Professor Eiriksson served from 1974 to 1976 as a Law of the Sea Officer in the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Law of the Sea. He served from 1977 to 2014 in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, as Assistant Legal Adviser, Legal Adviser and Ambassador of Iceland in Ottawa, Pretoria and New Delhi, accredited to Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Singapore, South Africa and Venezuela. He was a member of the United Nations International Law Commission from 1987 to 1996 and a Judge at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea from 1996 to 2002, where he was President of the Chamber for Fisheries Disputes from 199 to 2002. He was a Judge ad hoc in the M/V “Norstar” Case before the Tribunal from 2016 to 2019.


He was a Lecturer at the University of Iceland from 1987 to 1996 and a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law from 1994 to 1995.  He was Director of International Law and Human Rights Studies and Dean for Cooperative Programmes at UPeace from 2001 to 2003 and Professor and Head of the Department of International Law and Human Rights from 2005 to 2008. He has been a Visiting Professor at Upeace since 2008. He is on the Visiting Faculty of Symbiosis Law School (Noida, India).


He is a member of the Panel of Conciliators and Panel of Arbitrators, International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, the Panels of Conciliation and Arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the International Council of Environmental Law and the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law. He is a member of the Icelandic Society of Professional Engineers. He is a life member of the Indian Society of International Law and a member of the Asian Society of International Law, the International Law Association and the American Society of International Law. He is a Member of the Editorial Board of the Inter-American & European Human Rights Journal/ Revista Interamericana & Europea de Derechos Humanos and the Advisory Board of the Nordic Journal of International Law. Professor Eiriksson is the author of The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and numerous articles on the law of the sea, legal education, international criminal law, international organizations, international relations, disarmament and human rights.


 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). 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.

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.

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.

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 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.


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.