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Peace, Justice and the International Courts

Dr. J.D. Bowers, director of the Honors College at the University of Missouri, shared information on the approach they take to introducing and exploring international justice through a summer study program and courses at Mizzou.

Last summer he conducted a program on Peace, Justice and the International Courts in Amsterdam and the Hague, Netherlands, where they focused on the international pursuit of justice in the wake of genocide and mass atrocities.

According to The Hague's website,,

The Hague is the International City of Peace and Justice. It is the United Nations’ second city, after New York. There are 160 international organizations in The Hague, employing around 14,000 people dedicated to the cause of world peace. As far away as Sarajevo, Nairobi and Kabul, the name ‘The Hague’ represents hope: hope for millions of people that the crimes perpetrated against them will not go unpunished. Hope for a peaceful future.

Resolution of conflicts in the courtroom

Many people in The Hague are working towards a peaceful and just world, in which conflicts are not settled on the battlefield, but in the courts. There are also many people in The Hague who are working for a world without chemical weapons, and without ethnic cleansing. A world in which the might of right prevails, and not the right of the mighty. Anyone who thinks they are above international law will be called by the world to account in The Hague.

International organizations

The Peace Palace in The Hague, with the International Court of Justice and Permanent Court of Arbitration, is the icon of international law. There is nevertheless more in the city: the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Court (ICC), Eurojust and Europol, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and many other large and small international organisations. The Hague even has an International Zone, a large area in which an increasing number of international organisations are based. There the world’s second United Nations parade of flags proudly symbolises the city's international role.

Living and working in The Hague

Tens of thousands of people from all over the world live and work in and around The Hague. They bring extra colour to the city and highlight its unique international character. The Hague is an attractive city for international companies to base themselves; there are more than 300 in the region. Shell, Siemens and Nationale Nederlanden – each with their head offices in the city – are among the largest.

History and future

‘Legal capital of the world.’ It was no one other than the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who uttered these words to describe the unique position of The Hague. The Hague's current role as host to international organisations and the international community is part of a tradition dating back more than 750 years. Read more about The Hague's history as the City of Peace and Justice.

In order to keep international organizations here while also attracting new ones, the Netherlands and The Hague are working to make the city an attractive base for international organizations and the ideal place for people to live and work.

#JDBowers #TheHague

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