5 May 2020
Patricia Ötvös is a lawyer with over 15 years of experience as a litigator, legal counsel and human rights advisor who joined our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict back in 2015.
Patricia has expertise in several areas of international law including international humanitarian law, refugee law, and the rights of national minorities. She also has training in international criminal and human rights investigations and is experienced in mission planning, witness and victim interviewing, and human rights monitoring and reporting.
Following her studies at the Geneva Academy, Patricia joined in September 2017 the European Court of Human Rights, where she worked as a case-processing lawyer for a year. She then resumed her job as an advisor to the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, which she has held since 2012. Previously, Patricia worked as a lawyer-linguist at the Court of Justice of the European Union and as a private practice lawyer in Romania.
I already had a good background in public international law and international human rights law and have been working for some years as a human rights advisor. I closely followed developments in various zones affected by armed conflicts, which informed my work related to the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as transitional justice. I was strongly motivated to acquire expertise in IHL, which I felt would best complement my credentials and work experience. My preference was for a part-time programme tailored for professionals, so I was excited to find this executive master.
When I was admitted I already looked forward to receiving high-quality teaching and to exchanging views with fellow students, who I expected to have a wealth of experience in various international organizations or NGOs involved in human rights and humanitarian affairs.
The programme went beyond my expectations on both points. There was a specific interplay between the various subjects included in the syllabus, which became very tangible as the courses unfolded. This structure was fascinating and it was one of the main strengths of the programme. Another strength was the setting, which allowed for in-depth discussion and analysis of topics and cases. We also had access to excellent libraries and conferences – I still come back to Geneva from time to time to attend events organized by the Geneva Academy.
The programme was an eye-opener regarding the various layers of rules applicable to facts occurring in armed conflict. Following the programme, I have been able to provide advice on situations concerning persons affected by armed conflicts and the knowledge acquired at the Geneva Academy put my work in a different perspective. I benefitted from this fresh outlook both as a lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights and as a human rights advisor.
I would recommend this programme in particular to young and mid-career professionals who seek to update their knowledge in international law and better integrate IHL in their work. I think it would best benefit lawyers and other specialists with some experience in human rights and humanitarian affairs. However, I can also see it as a valuable programme for other professionals working in areas affected by conflict or who wish to be involved in the humanitarian field in the future.
Applications will run until 29 January 2021 for applications with a scholarship and until 26 February 2021 for applications without a scholarship.
Sandra Pointet/Geneva Academy
The 78 students of our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law are starting their classes this week, both in Geneva and online.
This online IHL talk aims at shining light on substantial challenges arising from the recent decision of the ECHR Grand Chamber in the case of Georgia v. Russia (No 2).
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, discusses the extent to which states may limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter-terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
This project will explore humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these needs are addressed by international law, especially international humanitarian law.