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Human Rights, Security and Fair Adjudication of Justice


Admission requirements

Master degree


Key element of any governing system is the demand that it secures an adequate balance between individual freedom and the common needs of security and safety of all members of the community. Also, mechanisms aimed at a fair adjudication of justice are often seen as central parts of a rule of law based governing system and as necessary parts thereof in order to acquire legitimacy and acceptance by the members of society. The right to personal liberty and security, the right to a fair trial and the right to an effective remedy in case of a human rights violation are cornerstones of both European and international human rights law.
As the post-9/11 era makes quite clear, all societies and governments are faced with an urgency and an obligation to protect the members of society against (organized) crime, violence and acts of terrorism. Offering this protection while at the same time securing fair trial rights and safeguarding against arbitrary deprivation of liberty is a challenge. In this course we will explore various human rights standards in the field of security and adjudication of justice. State practices and even UN measures in the fight against crime and terrorism put a strain on fair trial and habeas corpus rights. However, a close study and comparison of the human rights standards and international protection mechanisms in this field may indicate a balanced way out of the labyrinth.

Course Objectives

*Students acquire a thorough knowledge of the different human right standards governing the field of security and justice and the way in which they are applied by different European and international human rights bodies; *students gain a thorough insight into the structuring role of fair trial standards for the features of a democratic governing system; *students acquire thorough understanding of the ways in which current phenomena such as (the fight against) transnational organized crime and transnational terrorism cause strains in the protection of human rights, especially fair trial rights, both at the national and the supranational level; *students learn to analyze in which ways competing interests in the field of security and justice may be balanced within a human rights framework.

Assessment method

Assessment method(s) and the weighting of each form of assessment towards the final grade

  • written exam at the end of the course, 75%

  • oral presentation of a comment on a judgment or view of a supervisory body, in groups of 3 or 4 students, 25%

Submission procedures

  • written exam: hard copy

  • papers: Blackboard SafeAssign

  • oral presentation: in groups during seminar meetings

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.

Contact information:
Course Co-ordinator: J.P. Loof
Work address: Kamerlingh Onnes Building, Steenschuur 25, Room B.1.17
Telephone number: ++ 31 (0)71 527 7711
Email: j.p.loof@law,