From October 2015 to April 2016, I worked as a Legal Intern at the International Criminal Court (ICC), located in The Hague, Netherlands. I was fully supported by a scholarship from the Oxford Global Justice Internship Program.
Throughout this 6-month internship, I was placed at the Trial Division of the ICC, where I worked under the supervision of Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia, from Trial Chambers I and V, and her Legal Officer, Cynthia Chamberlain. Overall, this internship was an exceptional and life-changing opportunity for three main reasons.
First, from a professional perspective, I acquired substantial practical experience in International Criminal Law, while consolidating my theoretical knowledge of the subject. In particular, I was assigned a wide variety of tasks, such as: drafting decisions for the Chambers and its Judges, including dissenting opinions; attending hearings and assisting Judges and Legal Officers therein; drafting witness summaries and other reports on evidence; preparing memorandums for Judges and Legal Officers; and conducting the necessary legal research on topics of both substantive and procedural International Criminal Law, such as proceedings for victim participation at the ICC, the legal basis and framework of ‘no case to answer’ decisions, the material and mental elements of crimes against humanity and the different modes of liability under the ICC Statute. Importantly, these various tasks allowed me to put into practice all the knowledge acquired throughout my Magister Juris course at Oxford in 2014/2015, where I focussed my studies in Public International Law and International Criminal Law.
Second, from a more general and personal perspective, I had the honour to be part of the team of legal advisers in the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé Case, from the very beginning of the trial. This trial is of great historical significance, as it is the first one in which a former Head of State is tried for international crimes at the ICC. It is also the most complex case that the Court has ever heard so far. In addition to being part of such an important trial, I had the chance to witness the move of the ICC from its old premises to its new and permanent ones, which symbolises that the Court has come to stay as a permanent institution in the international legal order.
Finally, this internship will be of great value to my Doctoral research, which will start in September 2016 and will deal with the Principle of Legality at the International Criminal Court.
I am immensely grateful for the Oxford Global Justice Program and the Planethood foundation for this incredible opportunity.