Friday 30th November
Author: Olivia Tolley
Our last day! All over far too soon. As a fitting end to our tour, we visited the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the Peace Palace in The Hague. We’ve been so busy that our 7.30 start felt like a luxurious sleep in, but we were all awake pretty quickly walking to the Palace in the first frost of the season! The Palace was beautiful and we enjoyed a two-part tour, with a talk about the workings of the Court as well as information about the history of the Palace. To begin, we were unsuspecting models for a Palace photoshoot – clearly there is nothing more attractive than representatives from Down Under (check out the Palace website for evidence of our modeling debut).
The Peace Palace is in fact rented by the ICJ from the Carnegie foundation – with Andrew Carnegie described as “that short chubby man” in official tour paraphernalia – and is full of intricate statues, paintings, tapestries, stained glass windows and even a wooden ceiling made without nails or glue (which we didn’t stay under for long.) It turns out that it became so fashionable to donate valuables to the Palace that they had to restrict donations to those from states and municipalities only – a choice that certainly makes sense when you see the décor! It was also interesting to discover artistic references to peaceful polar bears and acorns, symbols we certainly hadn’t heard of before! The workings of the ICJ itself were of great interest to all of us, as was the advice of staff regarding internships and future careers in the field of international arbitration. Although our official programme ended when we left the Palace, some of us had not yet had our fill of international courts and decided to head to the International Court for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY – The Hague is a world of acronyms!) to watch a segment of Radovan Karadzic’s trial in person – a fascinating experience we can certainly recommend! We can’t quite believe that our tour has come to an end! It has certainly been a fantastic experience with just the right mix of invaluable European legal perspectives, different teaching approaches and a huge amount of fun with new friends.
International Court of Justice