International Law Seminar - United Nations Office

In connection with the seventy-second session of the International Law Commission (27 April – 5 June and 6 July - 7 August 2020), the United Nations Office at Geneva is organizing the fifty-sixth session of the International Law Seminar, to be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 6 to 24 July 2020.

Interested candidates can apply online at the following website before the deadline date of 8 April 2020. Applications will not be accepted after this date. Applicants must be between 24 and 38 years of age on 1 January 2020.  This rule will be applied strictly.


The Seminar is designed for postgraduate students in international law, young scholars, government officials as well as young lawyers in the field of international law, to widen their knowledge of both the work of the International Law Commission and of the codification and progressive development of international law. It also provides an opportunity for young lawyers from different legal systems and cultures to exchange views regarding items on the agenda of the Commission.

The International Law Seminar is not intended to be an introduction to international law. Applicants must prove a sound knowledge of public international law, based on either their postgraduate studies or significant professional experience.


Twenty-five participants will be selected, by a Selection Committee, to participate in the Seminar.  The Selection Committee is composed of two officials of the United Nations and is chaired by a professor of international law of a Geneva-based university.  All applications will be considered, but the Selection Committee does not disclose the motivation of its choices and decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

Participation and organization

Participants will attend the plenary meetings of the International Law Commission as well as lectures given by members of the Commission, officials of the United Nations or Specialized Agencies and other professors from academic institutions in Geneva. Participants are expected to take active part in the discussions following each lecture and to produce short reports within small working groups on topics on the agenda of the Commission.

The working languages of the United Nations are English, French and Spanish. As simultaneous interpretation may not be available for all the sessions, candidates must be proficient in at least two of the working languages. All participants will be given access to the library and the cyberspace of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

While participation in the Seminar is free, the United Nations cannot cover the cost of travel or subsistence for all participants. A limited number of fellowships will be made available to participants from developing countries (travel and/or subsistence allowance), depending on the amount of voluntary contributions received from Governments prior to the start of the Seminar.