Queen's Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

Public International Law group photos

Public International Law Program (PIL)

The Public International Law program begins with a two-week introductory course, the first week of which is taken jointly by students in both programs. Classes in the PIL program then provide an overview of the international law of human rights and the more specialized protections applicable to refugees, as well as the interrelationship between these bodies of law. Students are introduced to the law governing the conduct of armed conflict and to the crimes for which individuals incur individual criminal responsibility under international law, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.


  • Introduction to Public International Law (the first week is taken jointly with students in the International Business Law program) (3 credits)
  • International Protection of Human Rights and Refugees (3 credits)
  • The Law of Armed Conflict and International Crimes (3 credits)

Course Descriptions [PDF 256 KB]

Typical Field Study Destinations 

  • Canadian High Commission (London)
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (London)
  • International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (The Hague)
  • International Criminal Court (The Hague)
  • Special Tribunal for Lebanon (The Hague)
  • Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (The Hague)
  • Canadian Mission to the United Nations (Geneva)
  • International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva)
  • Office of The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Geneva)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Geneva)


Photo of Noah Weisbord


Professor Noah Weisbord joined Queen's Faculty of Law as an Associate Professor in 2018. He studies the role of the criminal law in managing, reflecting or exacerbating intergroup conflict, often using participant-observer methods, and is a leading expert on the crime of aggression in international criminal law.




Photo of Alison Mitchell


Ms. Alison Mitchell is a lawyer and diplomat at Global Affairs Canada, specializing in the law of armed conflict, international human rights law, international criminal law, targeted sanctions, and the law of the sea. Prior to joining Global Affairs, she served as an assistant legal officer at the International Criminal Court.


Photo of Hugh Adsett


Mr. Hugh Adsett is the Deputy Legal Adviser and Director General of the Legal Affairs Bureau of Global Affairs Canada. His extensive experience at Foreign Affairs includes assignments in Ottawa in the Peacebuilding Division, Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and well as Deputy Director of the Environmental Law Division, Director of the Criminal, Security and Diplomatic Law division, and Director of the United Nations, Human Rights and Economic Law Division.  


Photo of Michael Schoiswohl


Mr. Michael Schoiswohl is the Principal Legal Officer (International Law) at the Department of Legal Affairs of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine and Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). He has held various positions within the United Nations in the field of human rights, legal affairs, rule of law and development, including in post-conflict situations (Afghanistan).


Photo of Ardi Imseis


Mr. Ardi Imseis is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge University. Between 2002 and 2014, he served in senior policy and legal capacities with the United Nations in the Middle East and is former Senior Legal Counsel to the Chief Justice of Alberta. 


Photo of Phillip Drew


Professor Phillip Drew is an Associate Professor at the Australian National University College of Law. He was an officer in the Canadian Military for 31 years, serving first as an Intelligence Officer, then as a legal officer with Office of the Judge Advocate General.


Photo of Normal Farrell


Mr. Norman Farrell is the Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). Prior to this appointment Mr. Farrell was the Deputy Prosecutor of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), as well he as well as being Senior Appeals Counsel for the Office of the Prosecutor at the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). 


Faculty of Law crest


Ms. Katrina Gustafson is Senior Appeals Counsel with the Office of the Prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) and is currently leading the Prosecution's appeal proceedings in the Karadzic case. From 2005-2014 she was a lawyer with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) where she worked on numerous ICTY trials and appeals.  


Instructors - Long Bios [PDF 333 KB]

Learn more about the course International Protection of Human Rights and Refugees