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UNICRI - United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute

02/01/2021 | Press release | Archived content

Opening ceremony for the fourteenth edition of the Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Transnational Crime and Justice

On the 1st February 2021, Professor Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo, Dean of the University for Peace (UPEACE); Professor Mihir Kanade, Director of the Human Rights Centre at UPEACE; Ms. Antonia Marie De Meo, Director of UNICRI; and Mr. Leif Villadsen, Deputy Director of UNICRI, officially opened the fourteenth edition of the Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Transnational Crime and Justice. The opening ceremony, which was held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions, was a chance to welcome the 43 students from 22 countries who will be studying for the LL.M. this year.

The ceremony also provided attendees with the unique opportunity to hear from the distinguished keynote speaker, Judge Navi Pillay, President of the Advisory Council of the Nuremberg Principles Academy. Judge Pillay, a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008 - 2014), former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and former Judge of the International Criminal Court (2003-2008), shared her expert knowledge on the challenges of addressing atrocity crimes and human rights violations.

Judge Pillay also reflected upon the persistence required by lawyers when seeking justice, stating: 'Lawyers try all kinds of strategies to get access to justice for victims in many parts of the world who have no rights or remedy. If they have no rights or remedy in their national state, their hope is to look to international law. This was my hope under apartheid in South Africa.'

The implementation of the LL.M. programme, co-organized by UNICRI and UPEACE, supports the aims of Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which calls for peace, justice and strong institutions.

In her opening remarks, the Director of UNICRI, Antonia Marie De Meo, reiterated the importance of education for achieving more peaceful and just societies, stating that 'The LL.M in Transnational Crime and Justice is designed to empower new generations to address the challenges of today, and tomorrow, through substantive knowledge and innovative thinking.

The enforcement of international criminal law is a powerful tool that contributes to lasting peace, prevents new conflicts, promotes accountability, and encourages reconciliation.

This LL.M invests a new generation of students with the tools and approaches needed to identify, prevent, and address transnational crimes; it reflects our belief that education and employment are the best investment a society can make in its future.'

Dean Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo, when welcoming the new cohort of students, highlighted the course's significance for fulfilling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: 'For the University for Peace, as an entity created by the United Nations General Assembly to educate professionals in the area of building sustainable peace, this new meeting is of the greatest importance [...] Our programme aims to train human capital in a crucial area in the development of access to justice.'

About the Master of Laws in Transnational Crime and Justice

The LL.M., running from November 2020 to July 2021, addresses the topical issues and the main priorities of the international community, focusing on issues related to peace and conflicts. This unique training allows participants to specialize in the fields of humanitarian law, international criminal law, international human rights law, international law dimensions of peace and conflicts, transnational crimes and transitional justice.

The LL.M sets as its core objective the education and training of new generations on core issues related to justice and peace that, beyond a highly specialized knowledge and expertise, require above all a comprehensive vision of international scenarios and the capacity to address and cope with today's major challenges.

This excellence programme includes in its faculty internationally renowned experts from the academia and practitioners from international organisations, international tribunals and the UN System. Capacity-building and specialized training are UNICRI's core business and cut across its programme of work on various thematic areas with the aim of creating and testing new and holistic approaches to prevent crime and promote justice, human rights and development.