Visiting the PCA and ICJ

I had the amazing opportunity to have a private tour of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice, both located inside the Peace Palace in The Hague.  A few weeks ago, I reached out to a William & Mary Law School alumnus who practices international arbitration at a large law firm in Washington, D.C.  Oddly enough, when we spoke over the phone, he told me that he was visiting The Hague in late June and that we could get a coffee and take a tour of the Peace Palace in order to see the Permanent Court of Arbitration.  He has hearings at the PCA in October and was visiting to see where the hearings would be held.  I'm not sure I have ever seen a building as beautiful as the Peace Palace. From the entire ceiling being intricately painted to the dozens of ornate gifts placed throughout the building (from various countries who are members of the PCA), it was truly a wonderful experience.  It was so kind for this attorney to take the time to not only speak with me about international arbitration, but to allow me to join him on this tour.

Peace Palace

While there, I also got to see the International Court of Justice which sits on the right side of the building (opposite of the PCA).  It is different from the ICC and ICTY in the sense that the public is in the actual courtroom rather than being in a public gallery behind glass. I really hope I will be able to go watch some proceedings before I leave, but when I was there, they were setting up for a hearing between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Being in The Hague is a remarkable experience because of all of the international courts and mechanisms that are located within the city.  From the ICTY, the MICT, the ICC, the ICJ, and the PCA, there are so many opportunities to learn something new about international law and relations. Regardless of what opportunity comes next for me, I now know from living here that I could see myself in this city long-term. It is like no other place I have seen, and I hope to never forget the memories I have made here.