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LETTER from the Magazine Committee

COLOPHON NEXUS MAGAZINE FALL 2013 Date of Publication 11 November 2013 Nexus Nexus Student Association Nexus Magazine Committee 2013-2014 Christian Skrivervik (Editor in Chief) Jill van de Walle (Secreatry) Ina Boncheva Founder Nexus Magazine Gemma Torras Vives Graphic Design Christian Skrivervik Jill van de Walle Cover Photo Nicola Mulinaris Logo RE_Oslo Authors Christian Skrivervik / Kevin Olivier / Madleen Scatena / Mari Pilvio / Hannah Widemann / Nienke Boskma / Jill van de Walle / Ina Boncheva / Frederik Hafen / Cameron White / Marcel Brus / Lisa Weihser Special Thanks To Andrew Zuidema / Nicola Mulinaris / Ray Feliciana / Waltter Suominen


Dear Readers,

3 Letter from the Magazine Committee 4 Editor’s Note 5 Introducing the Board 2013 - 2014 6 10 Quick Questions for the President 7 El Presidente 8 TED ; Ideas Worth Spreading 10 Opinion ; Where did the Irish Luck go? 13 Tips ; Online Studying 14 Alumni ; Life After Groningen (the Gambia) 16 Alumni ; Life After Groningen (Geneva) 18 Debate ; Intervention in Syria 21 Internship ; ICLHR 22 Opinion ; Should Turkey Join the EU? 24 Lecture ; The Hague Approach

This year will be the first year for the newly established Nexus Magazine Committee, and therefore, this will be our first edition coming from an actual separate committee! We are glad to share this publication with all Nexus members and others who are interested in our work. We strive to make this magazine a place to acquire knowledge, and be a place for open discussion on subjects that YOU are interested in. Our mission is to produce articles that matters to you, and our goal is to improve and practice communication skills, creative thinking, career development, organizational skills and leadership. Take initiative and join our legal community! What makes Nexus Student Association most interesting is the diversity of people and ideas. Therefore, we encourage your contribution, opinion and ideas to the development of this magazine. This project is from and for all students! We hope that you will enjoy this first issue of the academic year 2013 - 2014, and we look forward to receive your input! - Nexus Magazine Committee 2013 - 2014


The Nexus Magazine Committee independently obtained and organized the content of this magazine and is responsible for the publication of the Nexus Magazine. The opinions and ideas expressed by authors of articles in this magazine are solely the opinions and ideas of those authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions and ideas of this magazine or its editors or publishers.



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FINALLY we are done editing the first magazine edition for this academic year (2013-14), being the 6th edition of the Nexus Magazine in total. We, the Magazine Committee, set out with the objective of creating a magazine on the basis of spreading knowledge, while simultaneously providing an easy read on interesting topics for all students. As law students ourselves, we understand that the workload for Uni is tough, and consequently, we wanted to create something students would actually be motivated to read alongside the studies; something we would easily pick up and read ourselves. As you may or may not know, this year Nexus established a separate Magazine Committee, with the intention of granting more time to the creation and development of the magazine. Thus, by being able to devote more time to the magazine and no other Nexus tasks, our mission was

to create the best magazine edition to date. Therefore, you will notice massive changes in this edition compared to all previous ones; more time has been spent on layout, more pictures have been used, the general design has been changed, the logo updated and we’ve purposely focused (a lot!) on detail. This has been done in order to establish an ultimate framework for the magazine which we intend to use for the next editions to come. With that being said, I would encourage the readers to criticize and comment – we want to keep improving! It goes without saying that this process has not been a walk on roses. Neither Jill (my fellow editor and secretary), nor myself, had much prior experience in editing and we have definitely met a few rather big bumps along the way. As a result, this publication takes place a few weeks later than firstly intended, but I expect and hope the upcoming editions will run a

little smoother(!). Our goal is (still) to publish four editions this academic year, one for each season, this being a late ‘Fall Edition’. Now, the theme of this edition is evolution; not purely in a Darwinian sense, but the evolution from something to something. The theme was purposely kept broad in order to maintain a wide scope, and avoid to many limitations on topics. Consequently, this edition bears a wide array of topics and articles for you to enjoy. More specifically, we have established an ‘Opinions’ section where students can submit an article proclaiming their opinion on a certain topic. In this edition we find that Madleen Scatena is trying to determine where the ‘Irish luck went’ in relation to the Euro Crisis and bank bailouts, while Ina Boncheva puts forth her opinion on Turkey’s potential EU membership. In addition, we have established a ‘Debate’ section where Jill van de Walle has asked a 1st year, a 3rd year, an exchange student and a professor on their opinions on intervention in Syria. From this edition and onwards, a section will be devoted to Alumni – where former LLB/LLM students let us know how they experienced life as a student in Groningen, and more importantly what they are doing now. In this edition we meet Hannah Widemann, who now lives in the Gambia working an internship with UNDP; and Nienke Boskma, who now resides in Geneva, interning at the International Service for Human Rights. They have both provided us with brilliant photos!



The content of this edition does not stop there – you’ll find photos and articles on relevant events which has taken place here in Groningen (including TEDxGroningen), and others things like: Tips for studying, other internships and, of course, an introduction of this years Nexus Board (for those of you who don’t know them yet). Moreover, I would like to mention that I am very thankful for having the opportunity to be Editor in Chief of the Nexus Magazine. Beyond some moments of frustration, it has truly been a great new learning experience I would not want to be without. I would also like to take this opportunity to personally thank a few important figures in the process of making this magazine edition. Firstly, Jill van de Walle has functioned as a co-editor and without her help this edition would probably not have been done until Christmas … Also, I would want to give a special thanks to Nicola Muliaris for baring with us and providing some awesome photos, and lastly Waltter Suominen for basically teaching us Indesign. On top of that, there is the obvious THANK YOU to all contributors, helpers and readers! Lastly, I cannot stress enough that we are making this magazine for you, YES – FOR YOU. Therefore, we rely on your feedback, your collaboration and your comments in order to keep producing magazines that you want to read. So please, be in touch!


2013 - 2014

////////////////////////////// KEVIN OLIVER • POSITION: PRESIDENT • AGE: 23 • COUNTRY: GERMANY



////////////////////////////// MARI PILVIÖ • POSITION: SECRETARY • AGE: 20 • COUNTRY: FINLAND










If you got 1 million euros, how would you spend them?

I’d wait until the Bitcoin market collapsed again, invest half of the million, turn a super quick profit, and then invest the profit in antique books and medieval manuscript. Not only are they badass, but also double as secure investments for the future. As for the million euros initially invested, I’d travel the globe and touch on every continent – as well as the obscure Amsterdam Island.

Who was your childhood hero?

As a pre-teen, my childhood hero was always Peter Pan; the guy never grew up, could fly anywhere he wanted (including space), and got to fight pirates with his kick ass pixy sidekick. As a teenager though, my hero was Christopher Hitchens (RIP).

Do you have a secret talent?

I don’t know about ‘secret’ talents, but there are a few things I enjoy doing which aren’t very common. For example, I’m an avid urban explorer, with many hours of ‘draining’ experience. Also, I tend to be somewhat of a computer nerd at times; between the ages of 13-17, I co-founded the largest computer security website in the world. Additionally, albeit less novel, I can balance eggs in less than 30 seconds, and tie a cherry stem with the tongue in under 4.

Who needs to get their finger out of their ass and get things done?

Kevin has previously obtained a Bachelor Degree in Philosophy at the University of Florida, and is currently studying for a Masters Dregree within that field alongside law. His parents are from Germany, he was himself born in Canada, but raised in the United States (Florida). HE IS NOT CANADIAN!

What do you do when you go crazy?

When I go crazy from stress or anxiety, I tend to play guitar for an hour or two. Recently I was able to bring my acoustic over from Florida, which I’ve become attached to over the last few years; its sound is something unique and relaxing.

Who deserves extra praise for their work?

This question is tough to answer, considering there are many people who deserve extra praise for their work. On the world stage, I’d say a person who – perhaps doesn’t deserve extra praise, but rather – deserves less demonization is the US President, Obama. Over the last years, I’ve heard many people critique everything the United States is doing (or failing to do), and ascribing all actions to Obama; these people turn a blind eye to the fact that congress is the main decision maker within the US government, and that Obama merely has propositional and veto powers. When it comes to individuals within the Nexus Student Association, I can say, with complete conviction, that all active participants within the organization deserve more praise for their work. Any student association is only as active and efficient as its members; being that all active members within the organization donate their time freely to help evolve and ensure the flourishing of Nexus, I wholeheartedly believe everyone involved deserves much praise.

Considering the current state of the world, I strongly believe that everyone could benefit from taking a finger or two out, including myself. Although (hopefully) most people are productive in one aspect or another, there are always ways in which individuals can benefit the collective whole. By focusing on one way in which to benefit the world – be it through planting trees or feeding the hungry – and donating a few hours per week to a related cause, everyone would greatly improve the quality of life for all.

Which three people would you invite for dinner?

Which three people would you invite for dinner?

If a dictator ran the world, who should he/she be?

If I were able to invite three people for dinner (not including the pre-invited guests: girlfriend & magazine committee), I would choose individuals who would be able to have an insanely fascinating discussion. That being said, I’m currently thinking Socrates, Christopher Hitchens, and Jesus Christ; although two of the three may be fictitious, together they would have indescribably informative and engaging discussions.



If I were able to invite three people for dinner (not including the pre-invited guests: girlfriend & magazine committee), I would choose individuals who would be able to have an insanely fascinating discussion. That being said, I’m currently thinking Socrates, Christopher Hitchens, and Jesus Christ; although two of the three may be fictitious, together they would have indescribably informative and engaging discussions. I have no idea who the specific person should be, but I definitely think they should be philosophically grounded.

For what cause would you go to the streets for and demonstrate?

I would go to the streets and demonstrate against religious extremism. I believe this sort of extremism to be inexcusably damaging and amoral.

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As a first year bachelor student at the University of Florida (2008), I never really considered investing much of myself within a student community; as is common among freshman, I was more interested in my newfound freedom and sense of individuality than anything else. It wasn’t until I became more established within my second year that I decided to involve myself with an animal activist association, as well as student council; I quickly adopted a board role within the Animal Activists of Alachua, as well as the presidential position within the local student government. Although the hours were demanding, and the extra work never-ending, I gained quite a lot of experience with regards to running large organizations, while at the same time making valuable connections among the student body.

Nexus is more than just a student association; it was established in 2009 with the purpose of creating a student/ alumni network within the faculty of law, while at the same time fashioning an environment wherein academic excellence and social finesse may flourish. As the LLB programme came into being in 2008, there was a clear need for the creation of an association which represents international students within the faculty of law; in response to this requisite, on the 30th of September, 2009 – under the Presidency of Johannes Löfstrand – Nexus became an independent association, and the first in RUG history comprised completely of international students. Additionally, Nexus holds the title of being the first student association operating completely in English, and with a fully international board.

As a result of my positive experiences being involved within the student community, it was without hesitation that I applied to be the First Year Representative, and current President, of the Nexus Student Association. As an international student – who basically left it all behind to attend university in another country – I realized how important it was to put myself out there and get involved right from the beginning; not only does participation within a student organization allow you to develop one’s leadership and organization skills, but its also advantageous with respect to meeting people and making new friendships.

As the 2013 academic year marks the 5th anniversary of Nexus, we celebrate the associations first ever ‘lustrum,’ a term which originates in Ancient Rome, meaning ‘a period of 5 years.’ As is customary during lustrum years, Nexus will be celebrating its various achievements, as well as obstacles transcended, over the last 5 years. In the beginning, the association was only comprised of the Activities Committee, Educational Committee, External Affairs Committee, and the Debate committee; however, the last few years have seen the addition of the Internal Publications Committee, Master’s Committee, and the Mag-

azine committee. Together, the committees and board have hosted numerous guest lectures, borrels, informative events, as well as social jaunts. This year I hope to see our association grow at an unprecedented rate, through the development of various new social progammes (like our mentor & tutoring systems), as well as through hosting a wide range of communal events, like barbecues, excursions, and the like. As it is our lustrum year, we will also be holding a large anniversary party, at which we will cheers to the associations previous accomplishments, and celebrate the foundations upon which we hope Nexus will thrive for years to come.








TED is a global community, which is not only limited to TED talks. Two major TED events are held each year: the TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, and TED Global which is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland. Furthermore, the TED Prize is given annually and the TED Fellows program helps individuals with a wish to change the world become part of the TED community. Also, remember to visit TED Woman online.

It is amazing to me how the internet has developed into such a large forum for spreading ideas, information and knowledge, FOR FREE! If there’s anything you want to know – just ask google, wikipedia or TED! I honestly don’t know what I would do without … TEXT: CHRISTIAN SKRIVERVIK

TED.COM There is one website I would truly recommend everyone to get familiar with, if you aren’t already, namely TED. com. TED is a non-profit organization, established in 1984 in Silicon Valley, California, and offers thousands of so-called ‘TED-talks’ on almost any topic you can imagine, where the worlds leading ‘thinkers and doers’ are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Basically, TED is devoted to ‘ideas worth spreading’, and as a result, each talk is posted online ( for the world to see, learn and discuss. Famous ‘talkers’ include Bill Clinton, Richard Dawkins, Al Gore, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, Jody Williams and many other Nobel Peace Prize winners. New TED talks are posted daily.

TEDxGroningen In addition, TEDx offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events all around the world, with the underlying mission of fostering learning, curiosity, inspiration and wonder in order to provoke conversations that matter. These events are seriously taking place everywhere, from rural India to urban Sydney – and of course in our delightful Groningen.

For me personally, TED is the perfect means of procrastination, as watching a TED talk makes you feel like you are actually doing something useful (learning), and not just wasting your time. Therefore, I often argue that TED is a justified means of procrastination, especifically when an important paper is due or when reading for an exam should be top priority … I should warn you though, that you could get lost on this page for hours. One days procrastination can teach you that stress can actually be good for you; that systematically herding livestock can reduce deforestation, create fertile land in deserts and reduce CO2 emission; meet global corruptions hidden players; and learn why everyone in the world should spend more time playing video games. Don’t believe me? Give it a go! NEXUS FALL 2013 | 8


TEDxGroningen took place recently on October 31st, and a small delegation from our LLB course was present, and I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say the event went beyond all prior expectations. I am actually out of words .. I had Goosebumps almost throughout the event, and I have to admit I got pretty emotional during a few talks. We saw eye-opening talks about genocide, car power plants, X-ray art, Vertical Farming, conflict resolution, conflicting perception with local tradition and much more. Truly an amazing experience, and I would recommend everyone to attend next years event (assuming there is one), or another any other elsewhere in the world if you get the chance to.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to announce that from next edition and onwards the magazine will have a designaded page for recommended Ted Talks. Therefore, we encourage you to send us YOUR favorite talks! QUOTES “TED talks are about “spreading ideas”, and that’s what TEDxGroningen was all about. We learned about people’s passions in life, and how they’ve pursued a career involving them. We learned that if you concentrate on something and you pursue it, there is a high chance you may achieve it. Each speaker inspired us in a certain way to “get up” and start doing what we really want to do. TEDxGroningen was an amazing, well-organzed and fun event and we enjoyed every second of it” QUOTE: BARBARA HERMANN and EBRU AKGÜN

“The TEDx event was an unforgettable experience. I was incredibly impressed by the creativity and motivation of the speakers - it definitely ignited something in me that I’m looking forward to pursue!” QUOTE: JULIA ENCHANOVA


Basically, when German, French and Dutch people complain that they have to pay for Ireland and Spain, they should understand that this money was used to pay off foreign creditors. Who are those creditors one may ask. Unfortunately, almost no government is keen on revealing those private creditors which the weakened banks had to pay off. However, unofficial sources still show that mostly the big banks from Germany, France and the Netherlands got their money back, and not national bond-holders.


Although there are several examples, I want to illustrate the interwoven connections with the example of Ireland. With the introduction of the Euro in year 2000, the interest rate in many countries fell drastically as they became part of a wider monetary system. These low interest rates seduced banks and governments to loan large sums of money for various projects. The money handed out exceeded, by far, the national savings, so the money had to be lent elsewhere. Friendly financial institutions from Germany, the Netherlands, France and Luxembourg helped to fuel the unrealistic ‘Real Estate Hype’ in Ireland with their “cheap and seemingly unlimited” money supply. Unfortunately, the unavoidable happened, and Ireland was harshly hit by the Euro crisis as their main economic sector was financial. As in many countries, the Real Estate bubble burst and the banks where head over heels in debts and facing bankruptcy, which also meant they would not be able to pay off their foreign creditors.

Where did the Irish Luck go ? Shedding light on where all the European Help Fund money went

In order to avoid the failing of the entire European banking system, the EU member states deliberated on what actions could rescue individual states. Euro-bonds were issued, financial help packets where agreed upon, and the European Stabilization Mechanism was established. Meanwhile in Ireland, the Anglo Irish Banks near-collapse in 2008, pressured the government into guaranteeing the entire financial sector with a 67.5-billion euro loan from the EU and IMF. As a consequences, in order to rescue one bank, the entire Irish state took over the debts of this

Before I try to shed light on where all the European Help Fund money went, which interlinks with the Euro crisis, I want to point out that I am neither an expert in Economics, nor an Expert on the Euro crisis. I am simply very interested in this topic, and I have looked into it for years now. What strikes me repeatedly when listening to the news, politician’s speeches or ordinary people discussing this issue, is that most people think that Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium are paying for the Irish, Greek and Spanish bail outs. I object strongly to this populist opinion, and will explain in this essay why I do. TEXT : MADLEEN SCATENA / PHOTO : JILL VAN DE WALLE NEXUS FALL 2013 | 10


financial branch which had carelessly speculated away its money. By taking over those debts, the Irish government put a burden of €390,969, in foreign debts, on each Irish citizen. Indubitably, Germany, France and the Netherlands provided huge sums of money in order to help economically weakened European countries and their banks. It is also unquestionable that those banks were only able to pay off their creditors with the money received from Europe. However, what is missing in the great political speeches about how a steady governance rescued the economy, of for example Germany, is who exactly those creditors who recived the money, are. Who are those private investors for which countries have given huge sums of money (into a rescue fond); for which Ireland had to take over the debts of their banks; and for which the Irish tax payers will have to pay for the next 40 years? It turns out that the biggest creditors of the Irish Anglo Bank where other big banks in Europe, which can be traced on the webpage of the Bank for International Settlement. Through internet forums and insider blogs, like Guido Fawkes, detailed lists of the individual bond-holders made it to the press. This list contained among others: the Deutsche Bank, ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Raiffeisenbank/Banque Raiffeisen, Banque de Luxembourg and many more. A basic market economical principle says that every person who takes his money and invests it has the right to obtain part of the revenue, but also has to bear the risk which can result from the investment. Remarkably, what happened in the case of Euro crisis, was that the private risk of private investors was transferred to Irish and Spanish tax payers. The German, Dutch and French private investors gambled away huge sums of money, and Irish and Spanish governments paid the losses in order to rescue their own banking sectors. What is not mention is that the money given, for example to the Anglo Irish bank, was used to pay off foreign bond-holders from Germany, the Netherlands and


France. What that means is obvious, in order to ensure that the Deutsche Bank was not incurring a loss from its failed speculations in the Irish Real Estate market, the German government sent Ireland money so it could rescue the Anglo Irish bank, which in turn could pay off Deutsche Bank. The people whom have to pay for those debts are ultimately the Irish citizens, and not Deutsche Bank, which made the bad choices in the first place. The same banks which, afterwards, claimed to have survived the crisis without the help of their governments; keeping it a secret that German money fell through Irish banks, and later back into German financial institutions. Many wonder why a bank like the Anglo Irish was rescued with million and millions of Irish Euros just to pay off foreign creditors. An argument often raised by politicians, such as the Financial Minister of Germany Wolfgang Schaeuble, is that all banks in Europe are connected; and if one bank goes bankrupt the whole banking system could collapse. By handing all the debts, and therefore, the responsibility to the Irish government, the banks where spared. Although investment normally bears a risk of failure, in the case of the Euro crisis, this risk was not present, as the governments gave the speculators a safety net. Therefore, not

the real initiator had to take the negative consequences, but the citizens who had no choice in the matter. The consequences of these debt, are budget cuts in Ireland, which decreased the living standards of Irish people by 25% and increased the unemployment rate drastically. Moreover, many fear that the bankruptcy of the Irish state is around the corner, and that the only solution to stop the unavoidable downturn of Ireland, is to release them of parts of their debts. Experts only speak of releasing Ireland from the debts they have with the European Central bank; by no means will Ireland be released from the debts they have to Germany, France and the Netherlands. The Anglo Irish bank wanted to lend 30 billion form the ECB to survive; however, such loan requires certain securities, as the ECB, as every other central bank, cannot give such a loan without a backup. In order for the Anglo Irish bank to receive the ECBs loan, the Irish government had to step up and take over the liability for this money; and thereby, take over the responsibility of 30 Billion Euros. Just recently, it was in the news that the ECB prolonged the repayment of Irelands debts to the ECB. However, in my opinion, the best solution would be to simply release them from those debts, as the process of making those debts was more than questionable.

A study by Karl Whelan, directly commissioned by the European Parliament, claimed that the liberty the ECB took in their involvement in the Irish crisis, was more than doubtful. The ECB demanded of the Irish government to pay off all foreign creditors of Irish banks, or else they would redraw their help funds. Therefore, one could argue that the ECB forced the Irish people to take on those debts, ensured that careless speculators all over Europe shed all responsibility and where not liable for the Euro crisis, caused widely by themselves. The ECB claims that they wanted to ensure the stability of the whole banking system with this move. However, many see this critically, and question the role and limits of the ECB in the Euro zone. Joerg Asmussen, from the ECB, alongside German and Dutch politicians, claim that by cancelling the debts of the Irish people, the whole system would lose credibility and become unstable. Moreover, if the ECB would release Ireland from its debts, this would result in a key chain reaction, and all other economically weak states would want the same treatment. Nevertheless, by cancelling the Irish debts in part, the Irish economy could recover, which would be favourable for all of Europe, as a strong Irish economy is far more beneficial for the whole Eurozone - than a bankrupted state.

In the end, it does not seem fair to me that individual people can speculate freely with millions of Euros, and if things turn bad, the responsibility is simply shifted to the collective whole of a state. A state which did not, firstly, cause the crisis and, secondly, has to bear the responsibility for foreign investors which are, on top of it all, safeguarded by the whole European system. I am by no means saying I know the whole picture of the story, or let alone know even parts of it thoroughly; I simply want to motivate the readers with this article to critically deal with these issues, which, in my opinion, should interest us all. And, furthermore, to stipulate that each of us establishes our own view, instead of repeating statements and opinions from the media. As educated people living in Europe, we should at least know in parts what is going on, and not blindly follow one side of the story. Lastly, the questions which remain are; why do investors of big financial institutions not have to incur the losses they caused; what would happen if we let banks go bankrupt; why do we let Irish tax payers suffer for the failures of the speculators; and when will the system erupt again?

“ does not seem fair to me that individual people can speculated freely with millions of Euros, and if things turn bad, the responsibility is simply shifted to the collective whole of a state. A state which did not, firstly, cause the crisis and, secondly, has to bear the responsibility for foreign investors which are, on top of it all, safeguarded by the whole European system.”

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We all know the way to the law library. Just walk inside Harmony, then to your right, then straight, then right, then right, then straight, then right, the left, then up the stairs... I think we can all agree that there must be an easier way to study, and there is! Just open your computer and try these websites: /////////////////////////////




My University

Yes, yes, youtube is full of hilarious videos, but Youtube (http://www. is also filled with videos that will help you study. Just type in some keywords and you can view a video explaining almost any topic discussed in class. For example, if you missed what the lecturer was saying about Isoquant curves in economics, just type in “Khan Academy Isoquant” and watch your way to understanding.

MyUniversity is that website that always pops up when you log into a computer at school. Before clicking it away, note that it contains many useful widgets! Firstly, there is the option to change the language from Dutch to English- always helpful. Next you can take a look at your RUG mail, announcements, the courses you are enrolled in, your past grades, computer availability as well as your printer credit (i.e. the amount of money you have left to buy coffee). It also has a widget for 9292 which allows you to check public transport timetables for the whole of the Netherlands. The website also contains news and University-related tweets. MyUniversity is a simple way to access all you University related pages with just one click. (


United Nations Youtube is great for short explanations, but if you missed a whole lecture and need more information, you can visit the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law ( cod/avl/lectureseries.html). It is filled with all kinds of law related lectures held by esteemed scholars. /////////////////////////////

Libguides If you prefer reading to watching, then definitely visit Libguides ( Libguides is filled with tips and routes to online resources. Need an idea for a research question? Go get inspiration from the American Society of International Law tab located under “starting your research”). Can’t remember the sources of law? Just click on European or International law and they are right in front of you. LLM students should note that there is a special section just for you, with information about how to begin your thesis. You should also check out Picarta (under the “Find Books and Journals” section), which has thousands of books and articles, all accessible online. Just type in some keywords, click search, and start studying! /////////////////////////////

Constitute Project Since we are all students, it is important to know this next site: <> This website allows you to find all the constitutions of the world. You have the option of searching constitutions by country, or by topic. For example, click on “Browse by Topic”, then for example on “Legislature” → “First Chamber” → “Minimum age of members of first chamber” and you can find a list of all the countries that mention this search. Then all you need to do is click on the interested country and you can find the exact article you need.


Libary App You should also be familiar with the Library app. This app allows you to check the opening hours of the library, check the number of available computers or search through the Library catalogue. You can also find a small overview of news and events related to the Library. Check out <> for directions on where to download the app. /////////////////////////////

Facebook Now, finally, if all these methods fail, there is always Facebook! Yes, that’s right. Facebook is the easiest way to use our final study method: asking your peers. Often, things that seem confusing to you, are crystal clear to someone else. Just post your question on the Nexus Facebook Group and wait for someone to reply! If you miss a class and are lucky, someone may post a recording or save you 50€ and post a pdf of the book. It’s also the easiest way to beg those active students to send you their notes. You can also join the Nexus Tutor System page and find someone to tutor you. Here we have it: The study methods to get you passing all you classes. The days of traipsing up and down those library stairs are history. However, please note that websites will only get you so far... you should actually open your books!




Hannah is a former LLB and LLM student at the Rug, and she was the first First Year Representative on the Nexus Board, and later on became Preseident of Nexus. After graduation she moved to the Gambia (West Africa) where she currently has an internship with UNDP. TEXT AND PHOTOS: HANNAH WIDEMANN

For those who don’t know me: Hi! My name is Hannah Widemann. I am a 23 year old German, and was part of the 1st and 2nd General Board of Nexus (as First Year Representative and as President). We were the second year to graduate from the LLB program in 2012. Afterwards, I did my LLM in European Law (also at the Rug), specializing in Climate and Energy Law. Now, I am in the Gambia (tiny state in West Africa, look it up its awesome!) doing a six month internship with the UNDP under the energy and environment portfolio. I really enjoyed the LLB program and its internationality. For me, that is one of its biggest advantages: You make friends from all over the world which will afterwards spread all over the world. (Okay, the goodbyes suck, but that makes the reunions all around the world even nicer!) From an academic point of view, for me, the

LLB program offered a good basis, for things to come after. In our year everyone found “their thing” during exchange; some favored international law, some European law, some national law. During the LLM, I deepened my knowledge in a particular field, climate and energy law - with a substantial part of environmental law which I enjoyed a lot after three years of courses from all areas (sorry, I will never develop a passion for administrative law). Even though the LLM is still described as European law, it contains numerous international law courses as well. I think that’s important, because if you look at climate issues you can’t really stop at the EU border - it’s a global issue. So now I am in the Gambia.

Nexus helps me now. Of course, I always thought it would look good on the CV and be a nice experience, but this was my first step out of university, actually realizing its added value. One of my first tasks was to attend a meeting for the revision of a strategy plan, and strategic planning continues to be an essential part of the daily work here. Without 2 years of experiences in drafting strategy plans with the Board and Committees, I would have probably been completely lost. Conducting meetings (efficiently!) and dealing with external parties, are other things I learned during my time in Nexus. I will be posted to the Ministry of Energy next week to work on the review of a policy, and am happy to fall back on at least a bit of experience in dealing with external parties. Lastly, what I took from Nexus which helps me today is working with people from different coun-

I am only a few weeks into my internship, so that I can’t really say that much about it yet. What I can definitely say is that I was shocked to realize how much being active in

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tries, cultures and religions. So, I was prepared when my first meeting started with silent prayers, people leaving meetings at certain times in order to pray (Gambia being a Muslim country), or being the only white person at a conference. After my internship with the UNDP, I hope to find a second internship with one of the local or international organizations here, after which I plan to come back to good old Europe to look for a job. But then again, looking at my path the last 4 years, I usually ended up doing things that I did not plan, so I’ll see what the future holds. If you have any questions about the LLM in Climate and Energy law at the Rug or any other things you’d like to ask feel free to contact me on Facebook or



GRONINGEN Nienke, as well Hannah, is a former LLB and LLM student at the Rug, and she has a very active Nexus past as part of the Activities Committee and later being Secretary of the Second Nexus Board. Currently, she resides in Geneva, Switzerland, interning at the International Service for Human Rights after graduating before the summer. NIENKE BOSKMA / 23 / ALUMI




My name is Nienke Boskma and I’m a 23 year old Dutch girl who has been active for Nexus since its initiation. During the first year of Nexus, I was in the Activities Committee, and then I was the Secretary of the second General Board. I did my LLB in Groningen, and afterwards I decided to stay and did an LLM in International Law with a specialization in human rights. Currently, I’m living in Geneva, Switzerland, where I’m doing an internship at a human rights organization. I have to be honest and say that I never wanted to study law. The concept never appealed to me and I thought it was “dry” (as the Dutch say). Unfortunately, I was “forced” to study it after I didn’t get through the lottery for the International Relations bachelor.



here. I work at the International Service for Human Rights, where I’m part of the United Nations monitoring team. My tasks are to attend different United Nations meetings and report on those. In September, for example, the 24th Session of the Human Rights Council took place. These are three very intense weeks where a large array of human rights issues are being discussed by States. My NGO has an observer status with the ECOSOC, so I was allowed in the room and even delivered a statement myself.

Now I’m living in Geneva, and together with a large amount of other interns from all around the world, I’m trying to figure out my life

Speaking in front of all the United Nations Member States in this large room with over 200 State representatives and NGOs present


So that is how I ended up in the LLB, and that is how I accidently became a lawyer. And frankly, I have never regretted studying law. The LLB provides a good and broad basis, and allows you to explore different areas of law so that you can decide for yourself what you’d like to do afterwards.

was very scary, but an incredibly thrilling experience. And I have to say, I would probably not have been able to deliver the statement the way I did, had I not done the LLB and Nexus. During the past four years I have learned so much about how to be a good public speaker, and through my experience with Nexus, I have become confident of my abilities and grown both professionally and personally. My internship ends in December, but I’m enjoying Geneva so much that I’m trying to find another opportunity here so that I can stay longer. Times are tough, but I’m taking the leap, and who knows, I might just accidentally end up somewhere great again.

In addition to this, people studying the LLB are special, in the most positive sense of the word. Prior to the LLB, I was living in Sweden with my family, and after high school I decided to move back to the Netherlands by myself. Being only 18 years old, this was very scary, but LLB students are so international and almost everybody left their families behind, so the LLB becomes your surrogate family instead. And when I now tell people that I have friends all

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around the world, I’m not even exaggerating, but simply telling the truth. Ending the LLB was very bittersweet; a lot of people left and everybody had found their own path during the past three years. For me, the epiphany of what I wanted to do came during my exchange semester in Oslo where I took courses in human rights law and humanitarian law. I realized that these were subjects that I was really interested in, and that is how I ended up doing a master in International Law, specializing in human rights.



Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the LLB, Nexus or post-LLB/LLM life. You can find me on Facebook or email me on 1. Lausanne 2. The UN Human Rights Council Room 3. Palais des Nations, the UN building 4. The view from Nienke’s seat in the Human Rights Council 5. Geneva 6. Nienke in the UN building




As law students there is almost nothing we love more than conferring our ideas on others. For this there is now the debate section, where we inquire for the opinions of students and professionals (between which a thin line exists of course). This issue we focus on the issues we face in Syria and wheter the international community should intervene. TEXT: JILL VAN DE WALLE / FREDERIK HAFEN / CAMERON WHITE / INA BONCHEVA / PROF. MARCEL BRUS / PHOTOS: BTV.NEWS.BG

The contentious issue of military intervention in the Syrian conflict is one that poses not only moral questions but legal ones. Whether or not one believes intervention is necessary to protect the Syrian people, examination of the law is required. With Security Council approval seeming all but impossible to acquire, it is safe to assume that any military intervention would take place without permission. For relevant articles of International law, I turn to the United Nations Charter, specifically Article 2(4) which states: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” This article is one that is pivotal to my argument that any intervention in Syria with the aim of removing Assad from office and reconstructing Syria with the ‘rebels’ in government, would most likely be illegal under international law. The removal of Assad and the restructuring of the Syrian state that would surely follow is, in my opinion, a threat against the Syrian Arab Republic. My personal oppositions to intervention with such aims go beyond the illegality of the actions. It is

clear to me that the situation resulting from the removal of Assad is one that is far from ideal. With the increasing divisions within the Syrian opposition, it is unclear where power would lie in a post-Assad Syria. The uncertainty and potential chaos of such a situation is, in my opinion, unlikely to provide the Syrian people with circumstances more favourable than the ones they presently face. The possibility of al-Qaeda linked groups being involved not only in removing Assad, but also in a future Syrian government, is not something to be taken lightly. And so, whilst I believe that some form of intervention may be necessary to secure the safety of the Syrian people, I must stress that, in my opinion, such intervention must have the protection of people as its sole aim. Not only protection from the Assad regime, but also protection from rogue rebel groups with terrorist affiliations. Whilst International law must be respected in this debate, we should always be conscious of the fact that the Syrian people are the most affected by any decisions made in regards to intervention and that their needs and their safety should be paramount.

PROF. MARCEL BRUS Unilateral military intervention is not the road to go in Syria. It is not that we should turn a blind eye to the use of chemical weapons, other atrocities and to the fact that more than 100,000 people have lost their lives and that many millions suffer. The chances are too big that military intervention would have no winners but only losers. The conflict in Syria underlines the failure of the international community to engage in early conflict prevention and crisis management. In a shameful manner it shows the weaknesses of the current structure for keeping international peace and security. The responsibility to protect has not yet developed into a stable norm and basis of an effective toolkit for dealing with internal tension which may develop into violent conflict. The intervention in Libya learned that with military force you can win a battle but you may lose the war to improve the international system. Military force to punish the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons would not end the conflict nor

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would it ensure that Assad would not be capable of committing further atrocities. There is no political will and no military strategy to massively intervene with the aim to oust the regime and to enforce peace on the country that has now become completely entangled in its conflict. The Syrian conflict forces the world to use all its strength in finding a solution along non-military lines, by using the tools of diplomacy, of an economic nature, and international (criminal) law. The consensus on the destruction of the chemical weapons serves the long term international responses to these crises much better than any military strike could have done. There might be situations where ongoing mass atrocities have to be stopped by military intervention, even unilaterally, if there is no other option, but that is not the case at this moment in Syria. The military will be needed to support a negotiated peace agreement. Only then would there be a winner: the Syrians rebuilding their nation.

INA BONCHEVA / EXCHANGE When talking about Syria, people should ascertain both positive and negative aspects of the situation. Humans often look with empathy and solidarity at situations where other people are in danger. Apart from the humane treatment that we owe the Syrian people, it would be correct to look at the other side. Not much people take into account the serious problems that occur in the receiving countries after the arrival of Syrian refugees. The first problem is that they enter the country illegally, they are not checked by the authorized bodies whether they are criminals. If they are, this will result into a higher criminal atmosphere in the receiving states and problems for the native population. The Syrian people status in the receiving country is not clear, they are not officially “refugees” and for this reason they do not have many rights, and are not fully protected. Nevertheless, Syrian refugees manage to find shelter and start a new life. In most cases they live in camps where space is limited, which can lead to increas-

ing tension between the different ethnic groups. Within these camps situations of aggression may appear as they harbor both Shiites and Sumits, which are two different religious groups. Syrian refugees are mostly unable to find work in the new state. Most money and food that they receive are supplied by the receiving government. This can result into an increasing criminal atmosphere, if the Syria refugees begin to leave the camps, and possibly commit crimes such as stealing. An excess amount of refugees may lead to increasing costs for receiving States. Considering this, an appropriate solution should be found. As long as it is not clear what the direction of the intervention in Syria should be, for the good well-being of both Syrian refugees and receiving countries authorities and citizens. In my opinion, it would be a good solution to grant the Syrian people the status of refugees. This way they will have higher protection and rights under the national legislation and international law.


Internship The Central and Eastern European Initiative for International Criminal Law and Human Rights TEXT: LISA WEIHSER


The Central and Eastern European Initiative for International Criminal Law and Human Rights at the University of Groningen is a project offering internships which focus on the analysis of cases. Specifically concerned with crimes committed during the genocide in Rwanda in collaboration with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and crimes committed on the territory of the Former Yugoslavia in close cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

FREDERIK HAFEN / LLB 3 The main issue when discussing the situation in Syria is that it has become exceedingly difficult to be able to get a clear oversight on all the players involved and all the factors to be considered. Mistakes such as comparing the situation to Libya need to be avoided. However, the question of international military intervention in Syria is a rather simple one. On the one hand there is the arguably strong moral obligation of intervention of a humanitarian kind. This is especially so, since up till now more than 120,000 people have been killed and human rights violations are ongoing. Furthermore, the conflict is very asymmetrical, meaning that most of the gross violations are committed on the side of the government. On the other hand, however, there is the international law of the UN Charter that prohibits the breach of countries sovereignty, if not for a UN Security Council Resolution. The first one was vetoed by Russia and China in October 2011 and since then no further progress on the side of the Security Council can be reported. Thus the situation, with regard to the UN Charter, is rather straightforward; The Security Council is in a deadlock and any intervention in Syria will ultimately be breaching the UN Charter.

Russia and China are highly unlikely to cooperate in the near future and a Security Council resolution authorizing military force in Syria is just as unlikely. After the international legal situation has been established, the obvious question is, whether the moral obligation the international community has, can be said to outweigh the, arguably outdated, rules of the veto-power in the Council. Two lines of argumentation can be, the recent General Assembly resolutions, which have authorized humanitarian aid or the, currently upcoming, notion of the responsibility to protect, especially its third pillar. However, personally, I must urge everyone to consider that the goal does not necessarily justify the means. Although the UN Security Council is barely functioning in its current form, it is still the best international conflict solution body available to us. Undermining its power could potentially have painfully detrimental effects on all of the UN. This risk is too high to pay as many parts of the UN are doing an excellent job. Thus Syria needs to be tackled from all available angles, except through direct military intervention. NEXUS FALL 2013 | 20

Essentially the work that is done by the two collaborators Lisa Weihser and Mari Pilviö from the second year course of International and European Law is offering a better understanding of how to conduct a legal analysis based on the indictment and the Trial and Appeals Chamber judgements. Currently there are ten interns working on two very voluminous cases in order to experience more practical work besides their law studies which hopefully will help them in their future careers. During the last year when I was an intern myself, I worked on four cases brought by the ICTR. The


first thing every intern is required to do is to read the indictment which reveals information about the defendants personal life and the charges he is accused of. This information needs to be put into excel sheets in order to provide a clearer overview for future references. Secondly, the trial chamber needs to be extensively analyzed and all relevant information needs to be extracted. The concrete paragraphs must then be out into another excel sheet which again enables a better overview of the entire case. Thirdly, the same happens with the appeals chamber and last but not least mitigating and abrogating factors are listed. I really enjoyed my work and found it incredibly interesting to read about each accused background and reasoning. Therefore, I personally can only advise law students with an interest in the field of criminal law and human rights to apply for such a project in the future, because not only they will gain a more practical experience in reading (sometimes even confidential) cases but also because it will greatly benefit them in their future careers being able to mention some practical experience and show their obtained certificate from a non-profit organization.



are made (some exceptions exist). The people are the electors and demand that their views are taken into account. This has proven to be a good formula for success and prosperity.

Protests – one of the main ways for the public to express their opinion. Desire for change, different perspectives are leading. Protests in the democratic world – the main goals can be achieved! But when the ambition of the young meet the strict values of the old in a democratic state, with oriental roots, just one question arises – can an adequate solution be found? Is Turkey closer to the European model, or will its origins lead its future towards a middle eastern culture of governance?

The main differences between Turkey and the European Union arise from the different cultures and traditions of both European and middle eastern countries. If a Member state were to react violently to a peaceful protest, it would certainly be condemned by both Union institutions and well as the other Member States. By contrast, such violent governmental measures are relatively normal in Turkey, as they are found to be a remedy for solving problems. The role of dialogue is reduced and coercive actions are leading. Is this not, in a sense, similar to the situation during the Arabic spring? Is this a democratic way of dealing with these problems? The explanation of this is simple. Turkey is not part of any union. Therefore, there is no higher authority that can intervene into the political measures of the leaders of the country. The country is barely bound to another hierarchal, higher body and has the complete freedom to react in any way it deems appropriate, with regard to its national understandings.


Democracy is one of the most important values in the unique system of the European Union. It has its strong origins in the past, with results in the present. Democracy belongs to the future as the future belongs to democracy. Freedom of life, freedom of speech, freedom to know your rights, and to protect them freedom of protesting. In 2011 a new phenomenon arose in the world, resulting in big changes – namely the ‘Arab Spring’. The Arab Spring resulted in great constitutional and structural changes in many of the countries in the Arab world. Firstly, in Northern Africa, but a domino effect became imminent, and the North African desire for change spread and gave courage to populations of other states. One of the countries where protests took place was Turkey, which is situated not far from the heart of Europe. Here, the protest wave could not be left without emphasizing the main goals achieved, and those left aside. The winter of 2013 will be remembered with a big change made in a country where everything seemed to be under control. A small, innocent, ecological problem escalated, and as a consequence, shaped an entirely new perspective. It started when the government wanted to build a new mosque in the Taksim Park. A group of young people gathered to express their disapproval, because, according to them, this

construction would ruin their beloved park. Moreover, they wanted to protect one of the few green spaces left in the city. Their efforts at that moment were useless; but their voices were heard, and within a short period of time their numbers had grown, so the protest later developed into the largest in Turkey’s modern history. The protest grew from a minor private difficulty, into an idea of changing the political model of the country. Young people were gathering every day, until late at night, expressing their desire for increased protection of human rights. People disapproved of the way the prime minister led the country; they wanted him to resign and for new elections to be held - new elections with new political figures, for a new Turkey. However, the government did not have the same opinion as the protesting population, and the joint reaction of the military and the government was far from what can be considered as democratic understanding. Firstly, the protests were not broadcasted on television, and a full media blackout was in place during the first days of the protests, as the government wanted the problem to be solved quickly and silently. Even the world’s largest social network – Facebook – was blocked for a couple of hours, in order to prevent the young population from sharing photos and comments. Nevertheless, the government failed to stop all communication.

As a result, the police and military became increasingly violent. People were beaten and the police used teargas against the protesters, a toxic gas which can seriously harm eyes and skin. To make matters worse, this coercive action was taken with the approval of the prime minister. However, despite the strict measures prescribed by the government, the protests did not stop. The people on the streets were united, fighting for change. The government, on the other hand, did not hear the “voice of the street”, did not resign, and even issued a deadline for the people to end the protests. In the end, tanks and military forces were used in order to make the protesters leave the occupied spaces. Slowly the situation in the country turned back to its ‘ordinary’ state, and no change was achieved. This leaves the question: is Turkey a “democracy in decline”? If a similar situation were to arise in a country within the European Union, the whole situation would be quite different. For instance, in Greece, protests occur on a regular basis, and comparing these protests to the ones in Turkey we find that the manner in which the government handles the protests, and results of these protests widely differ. Generally, protests in Europe have a bigger impact, contain little to no violence, and there is a constant dialogue between the government and the population. Compromises NEXUS FALL 2013 | 22

Comparing the presumptions above, in my opinion, the disadvantages of Turkey becoming part of the European Union prevail over the advantages. There are too many differences. However, would an evolution process be possible? Can a, presumably, middle eastern country become part of a union with such strong democratic


origins? Can oriental values meet the European, without rivalry to arise between them? Is it possible to enjoy just the benefits of such a situation? The European Union is not just a territory. It has shared values. It is politics. It is economic integration. It is inter-state relations. The European Union is a unique system, which can be strict and reliable. It is a long-term project, looking ahead towards the goal of prosperity in this part of the world. The European Union is a powerful political actor in the modern world. It is powerful, because it is united. It is a result of a long evolution. It is the result of Schuman’s idea of creating a community, strong and stable; not immediately, but step by step. It has been proven that this is the right formula, look at the great success of the Union. The European Union is an open community. One of the main goals of the Union is to enlarge its impact and territory, and to be a more powerful actor in the international community. Looking back at the creation process of the Union, the first idea was for the Union to be not just European, but Afro-European, including the former colonies of France. This idea was not successful, but why not trying again, with a different part of the continent, closer to the middle eastern world? Considering this, the evolution of Turkey is a fresh idea open to development. Turkish membership to the European Union could be considered as a way for many other states to accede, from which both the Union and other states can benefit, build strong and stable relations, sharing ideas and helping each other.

Guest Lecture : The Hague Approach LECTURE


Six Principles for Achieving Sustainable Peace in Post-Conflict Situations TEXT : JILL VAN DE WALLE / PHOTOS : NICOLA MULINARIS

INTRODUCING: THE COMMENT SECTION What do you think? Do you have an opinion, correction or statement you want to make on an article in this edition? Send it in and er will publish it in the upcoming magazine edition! For this to work we rely on your response so please do not hesitate to send anything in to the Magazine’s email: nexusmagazine.

On the 23rd of October the department of public international law and Nexus received Dr. Abiodun Williams, president of The Hague Institute for Global Justice, for a guest lecture. He is the first President of the Institute and has had a long international career holding senior positions in academia. In his lecture, he presented “The Hague Approach”, which sets out six principles for more sustainable peacebuilding in post-conflict situations, which had just been published by the relatively new institute. There was the oppertunity to ask questions and discuss the ideas he presented, which gave the lecture a more open feeling. It was a very interesting lecture, given by someone with an inspiring and solution-focussed view on the peacebuilding issues we are facing in many post-conflict areas. The Nexus Magazine strongly encourages people to come to these lectures , as they provide for personal connections with influencial people, as well as being VERY interesting!

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Finally, we would like to thank, yet again, all contributors, helpers and readers for making the completion of this edition possible. We are making this magazine for you, YES – FOR YOU. Therefore, we rely on your feedback, your collaboration and your comments in order to keep producing magazines that you want to read. So please, be in touch!



Nexus magazine fall 2013 (pdf)  
Nexus magazine fall 2013 (pdf)  

The Nexus Magazine has its base in Groningen, The Netherlands, and deals with issues relating to international and European Law. The magazin...