Even though I am in my second week at work, I am writing my first blog because last week involved a great deal of administrative prep for getting started at the UN ICTY.
I will be at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (UN ICTY) for 13 weeks in total. Before I even get further into how my first week went, I need to thank both Professor Christie Warren and the Christopher Wren Association for making it possible for me to be here. This internship (as is the case with most public international law internships) is unpaid, so I would not have been able to accept this opportunity without their gracious support in my endeavors. This job is truly a dream come true, so I am very thankful for their help and support, and the grant money is helping to cover my housing and living experiences while here in The Hague.
I arrived two days before starting work, which was just enough time to figure out my surroundings and find my way to work. My landlord is allowing me to use an extra bike, so I bike almost everywhere (and take the tram or train to further destinations). One of my first observations was how easy the transportation system is here. The bikes have their own separate lanes with their own stoplights, so it feels much safer than attempting to ride a bike on a road in Williamsburg! I decided to spend my last day before work being a tourist by going to see the Keukenhof Gardens, which were only open one more week. Unfortunately, the fields had already been picked by the date that I went, but I still got to see some of the beautiful gardens.
My first day of work was a mix of getting to know the other interns, learning how to navigate our maze of a building, and completing administrative paperwork. We are receiving training for our systems and databases and are just now beginning to receive assignments from attorneys in our departments. Many of the projects we will work on are classified, sometimes even from members of our own teams, but several I will be able to talk about. Even though I am in the ICTY, the MICT (which will be taking over the cases once the ICTY closes in December) also will give us some assignments through their attorneys. So far, my work assignments have been to research various assignments, read through the Trial Judgments and Appeal Judgments relating to other assignments the attorneys are working on. We got to watch a Pre-Trial Hearing on the S&S case (Stanisic and Simatovic), and that re-trial will be starting while I am here in June. Next week, our supervisor is letting us visit the International Criminal Court (ICC) to watch a day of proceedings for the Gbagbo and Goude trial, so I am definitely looking forward to that!
All in all, I am absolutely loving it here. From being able to bike to work every day, to seeing the diversity of not only my office but the entire city, and beings only a stone's throw away from other places to visit in Europe, I know I am going to have a wonderful time here. I know that what I learn here will be invaluable to my future legal career.