The Public International Law program begins with a two-week introductory course, the first week of which may be 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.

Students in front of the World Health Organization Sign


  • Introduction to International Law and Institutions (3 credits)
  • International Protection of Human Rights and Refugees (3 credits)
  • The Law of Armed Conflict and International Crimes (3 credits)

Course Descriptions

Typical Field Study Destinations 

  • International Criminal Court (The Hague)
  • International Court of Justice (The Hague)
  • Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (The Hague)
  • UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (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)
  • Office of The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Geneva)
  • World Health Organization (Geneva)
  • United Nations - Palais des Nations (Geneva)

2024 Instructors (Full Bios)

Ms. Lindsey Cameron Ms. Lindsey Cameron is the Head of the Unit of Thematic Legal Advisers in the Legal Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, leading a team of experts on international law protecting people in armed conflict and other situations of violence.

Mr. Norman Farrell

Mr. Norman Farrell is the Senior Legal Advisor at the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section of the Federal Department of Justice. Prior to this appointment he was the Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the Deputy Prosecutor of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, as well he as well as Senior Appeals Counsel for the Office of the Prosecutor at the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. 

Ms. Katrina Gustafson

Ms. Katrina Gustafson is Senior Litigation Counsel with the Enforcement Branch of the Ontario Securities Commission. From 2005 to 2018 she was a Prosecutor with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia where she conducted numerous trials and appeals of individuals charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. She previously worked as an associate at the New York office of Shearman and Sterling and clerked for Justice Iacobucci at the Supreme Court of Canada.>

Professor Ardi Imseis

Professor Ardi Imseis is an Assistant Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University and Academic Director of International Law Programs at Bader College. Between 2002 and 2014, he served in senior legal and policy capacities with the United Nations in the Middle East and is former Senior Legal Counsel to the Chief Justice of Alberta.

Ms. 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 Canada's foreign ministry, she worked in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court.

profile photo for Jasmine Moussa

Jasmine Moussa is the Counsellor for Legal Affairs at the Cabinet of Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs.  She was formerly Counsellor for Legal and Humanitarian Affairs at Egypt's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva and served in other roles at the Foreign Ministry. She has taught at the American University in Cairo, Cairo University, and the University of Cambridge.

Mr. Michael Schoiswohl

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

Dr. Mark Searl

Dr. Mark Searl is a Lecturer in Law at Leicester Law School, University of Leicester.  He previously worked for several years in the human rights field in the Canadian federal public service, including as a Counsel in the Human Rights Law Section at the Department of Justice Canada and as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion at Global Affairs Canada.

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