Each fall, Macalester’s ‘Perspectives on Globalization’ program takes 10-12 students to The Hague for an intensive three-week summer seminar and then for a semester abroad at Leiden University College. Just an hour train ride from Amsterdam, The Hague is home to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as well as hundreds of non-governmental organizations dedicated to international politics, justice, and human rights.

This past fall, two Human Rights and Humanitarianism concentrators, who participated in the Perspectives on Globalization program, completed internships as part of their studies in The Hague. Sofie Pedersen ’16 (Stockholm, Sweden) worked as a legal intern at the Coalition for the International Criminal Court Secretariat Office. Andjelka Radevic ’16 (Rozaje, Montenegro) interned at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Though her daily tasks varied depending on the activities taking place at the International Criminal Court, Pederson’s responsibilities at the CICC Hague Secretariat included everything from attending global justice seminars to taking notes at The Hague Assembly of State Parties (ASP) diplomatic working groups.

Pederson first heard about the CICC Hague Secretariat from her Macalester academic advisor and director of the Human Rights and Humanitarianism program, Professor Wendy Weber.  Prof Weber had visited the CICC Hague Secretariat with a group of Macalester students in the summer of 2012. Both Professor Weber and Pedersen reached out to the organization about internship opportunities, and after completing a standardized application and being chosen for an interview, Pedersen was selected for the highly selective legal intern position.

Radevic worked directly with the defense team for Radovan Karadžić, former president of Republika Srpska (Serb entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina) who is accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. She worked side-by-side daily with world-class lawyers and judges. “I truly cherish my internship experiences,” says Radevic, “I have learned so much from the professionals working in the field about international law.” One such professional is Macalester College alumnus Peter Robinson ‘75, legal advisor for Radovan Karadžić, who helped Radevic secure her internship at the ICTY.

Like Pedersen, day-to-day work for Radevic was varied and dynamic. “Every day in the office was a kind of cultural experience,” she says, “it was not rare to hear couple different languages trickle down the hall.” During her time with the Defense team, Radevic assisted with and edited the Defense’s final brief, analyzed prosecutorial evidence, and summarized witness statements.

Being multilingual, Radevic also had the unique opportunity to try her hand at translation during preparation for the case’s final arguments.

Both Radevic and Pedersen credit their preparations at Macalester for contributing to their successful internships in The Hague. In her Macalester coursework, Pedersen says she learned to communicate effectively and recognize many sides of an argument. Radevic also valued her Macalester coursework during the semester, especially the classes she had taken in the Political Science and International Studies departments. According to Radevic, these courses “have given me a good basis and skills to understand the various mechanisms of international justice.”

Now back at Macalester, the former interns are processing their experiences and looking to the future. Both feel revitalized and better prepared for their academic and career interests in the fields of human rights and humanitarianism. “These are skills I will take with me throughout my career,” Radevic describes. “Overall, it certainly strengthened my interest in continuing to research and work in the field of international human rights and law.” Pedersen agrees, “I’m now more confident that there are many different ways of incorporating what I’m studying at Macalester in my upcoming professional life.”

March 17 2015

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