Institute Information

BIIJ 2016 cover
2016 Institute Report

For links to all institute summaries, reports, photos and more see the BIIJ homepage.

Thoughts from the undergraduate interns
Two undergraduate interns from Brandeis provided support throughout the Institute: Chantal Sochaczevski '17 and Lee Wilson '18. Read their reflections on the experience.

2016 BIIJ interns

Brandeis Institute for International Judges (BIIJ) 2016

Judge participants at BIIJ 2016

Judge participants at BIIJ 2016

The Authority of International Courts and Tribunals: Challenges and Prospects

27 – 30 June 2016


Judges serving on the benches of 12 international courts and tribunals met in Copenhagen in June for the 11th session of the Brandeis Institute for International Judges. This small and confidential judicial event, unique in the world of international justice, was carried out as an institutional partnership between the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life of Brandeis University, and iCourts, the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre of Excellence for International Courts at the University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law.

The Institute’s theme, “The Authority of International Courts and Tribunals: Challenges and Prospects,” took its inspiration in part from research currently being conducted by iCourts scholars. The aim of the institute was to explore the nature of the authority of international courts and tribunals, the various challenges this authority may face in different types of jurisdictions, and the ways in which judicial institutions might enhance their authority, in the eyes of constituents, parties and the broader public.

biij2016 fernandez wyngaert
President Silvia Fernandéz and Judge
Christine Van den Wyngaert of the
International Criminal Court take
a break between BIIJ Sessions.

Session topics included: the authority of international courts: definitions and dilemmas; challenges and strategies related to the authority of judicial institutions; the role of international judges in building a coherent international legal order; the internal aspects of the function of international courts; and evaluating the performance of international courts.

Participants were introduced to the iCourts research agenda by director Mikael Rask Madsen and heard from two scholars about their findings. This was followed by a stimulating discussion between scholars and judges about how research on international courts and tribunals can be relevant to judicial practice.

Ethics Center Director Daniel Terris and Director of Programs in International Justice and Society Leigh Swigart also had the opportunity to present the Center’s Ad Hoc Tribunals Oral History Project and receive feedback about its future shape.

During the closing session of the BIIJ, Judge András Sajó of the European Court of Human Rights thanked the organizers for the institute, remarking, “I really learned a lot, and it was a great support emotionally for me to hear that judges in other institutions face similar problems.”

World Trade Organization Appellate Body member Ujal Bhatia echoed these sentiments, acknowledging the value of this opportunity to “meet with brother and sister judges and hear their points of view on issues of mutual interest.”

International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea Judge Tomas Heidar thanked his fellow judges for their contributions to the learning and open dialogue that occurred over the course of the Institute, adding, “this is a unique forum that I hope will continue in the years to come.”

Participants also expressed an interest in enhancing the network of international judges created through the BIIJ in order to ensure the lasting impact of these special judicial gatherings.

The Institute ended with a public roundtable on “The Role of International Courts in Combatting Terrorism and Ensuring Peace.” Judge David Baragwanath of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, University of Copenhagen Professor Jens Elo Rytter, and former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Hans Corell each offered insightful remarks on the this topic, which current events have rendered increasingly critical to global well-being.

The 2016 Brandeis Institute for International Judges was supported by the Rice Family Foundation, the Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice and the Danish National Research Foundation.

Reports on all BIIJ conferences can be accessed from the BIIJ homepage.

biij judges meeting
historic meeting room in the university of Copenhagen.

BIIJ 2016 Participants

International Judges

 African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights

  • Solomy Bossa (Uganda)
  • Fatsah Ouguergouz (Algeria/France), program committee member

 Caribbean Court of Justice

  • President Sir Dennis Byron (St. Kitts), program committee member

 East African Court of Justice

  • Emmanuel Ugirashebuga (Rwanda)

 European Court of Human Rights

  • Vice-President András Sajó (Hungary)

 Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

  • Oliver Beauvallet (France)

 International Criminal Court

  • President Silvia Fernandez (Argentina)
  • Christine Van den Wyngaert (Belgium), program committee member

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

  • President Vagn Joensen (Denmark), program committee member

 International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

  • Fausto Pocar (Italy)

 International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

  • Tomas Heidar (Iceland)

 Mechanism for International Courts and Tribunals

  • President Theodor Meron (USA)

 Special Tribunal for Lebanon

  • David Baragwanath (New Zealand)

 World Trade Organization Appellate Body

  • Ujal Bhatia (India)

 BIIJ Co-Directors

  • David Thór Björgvinsson (Professor, University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law; former judge of the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Iceland)
  • Richard Goldstone (former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; retired Justice of the South African Constitutional Court)


  • Henrik Stampe Lund (Administrator, iCourts)
  • Mikael Rask Madsen (Professor and Director, iCourts)
  • Leigh Swigart (Director of Programs in International Justice and Society, International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, Brandeis University)
  • Daniel Terris (Director, International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, Brandeis University)


  • Kirsten Bree Carlson (Researcher, iCourts)
  • Harry James Rose (LLM student, University of Copenhagen)


  • Chantal Sochaczevski (Brandeis '17)
  • Lee Wilson (Brandeis '18)

Invited guests and presenters

  • Hans Corell (former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs)
  • Federico Fabrini (Associate Professor and Researcher, iCourts)
  • Andreas Føllesdal (Co-director, PluriCourts, University of Oslo)
  • Urška Šadl (Associate Professor and Researcher, iCourts)
  • Geir Ulfstein (Co-director, PluriCourts, University of Oslo)