24 January 2019
In this interview, Harshwardhan Akolkar, currently enrolled in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, tells us about the programme and life in Geneva.
I’m Harshwardhan, I come from India. Before studying at the Geneva Academy, I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the DES Law College, University of Pune. After graduating I practised law at the Bombay High Court and the Sessions Court in cases relating to torture, death penalty and custodial deaths. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music and reading.
Having practised human rights law at the domestic level, I was keen to develop my expertise in the international legal framework and expand my legal training to matters relating to international criminal law and international humanitarian law and its interplay with human rights law.
The LLM at the Geneva Academy provided me with the perfect platform to do so. I had heard of the Geneva Academy being the crème de la crème when it comes to these subjects and being an evocative witness to the students it produces every year.
It’s the diversity here that I am particularly enjoying. In a class of almost 40 students, we have more than 20 nationalities, which make the Geneva Academy a hub of different ideas, perspectives and cultural exchanges, yet making the student body one large family.
It’s global. I say so because the professors actually teach you ‘not to think’ through a unifocal lens. It’s multidisciplinary as well. Professors actually take the law out of the books and help you understand the theory through several other activities like the Military Briefings or conferences.
Honestly, I haven’t really made up my mind on my further steps from here. International law being such an extensive field and with getting to learn something new every day, I feel it’s too early for me to decide and comment on my plans ahead!
Well, for one reason the lake in its bucolic settings provides you with an instant breather from the schedule of the courses. Also, to me, the lake reminds me of the book Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner which has vivid descriptions of the Geneva Lake and its shores.
While most of the existing scholarship focuses only on security detention or internment by armed groups in non-international armed conflicts, her thesis also studies the detentions of armed group members by their own group and criminal detentions for crimes related to the conflict as well as common crimes.
In his new book War, our Former Director and Faculty Member Professor Andrew Clapham discusses the relevance of the concept of war today and examines how our notions about war continue to influence how we conceive rights and obligations in national and international law.