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NEW BEGINNINGS THE SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS The legal positions of American Governers who refuse to accept Syrian refugees

CLIMATE CHANGE SYMPOSIUM A report on the recent Climate Change symposium

THE ICTR Remembering the founding of the tribunal and its milestones throughout history.





Introducing the committee




Strasbourg study trip


UJIEL article


Hamburg MUN


Symposium Lecture




10 things to look forward to in 2016


Member's page





Ingeborg Leijtens CHAIR 2015-2016 Dear reader, It is with great pleasure that I present to you the newest version of the Urios Magazine: Curious! After a calm period, the Urios magazine is back in full swing and has even undergone a small face-lift. Our highly motivated Magazine Committee is ready for the year to come, and I am certain they will produce educative and at the same time highly entertaining issues. The theme of this edition is ‘New Beginnings’. While most of you will probably be thinking about their 2016 resolutions – ranging from finally running that half marathon, travelling to India for a spiritual journey or simply eating more veggies at dinner – we secretly all know that 2016 won’t be much different from the year before when it comes to sticking to those well meant but often improbable initiatives to change our lives for the better. So let’s approach things a bit differently and think of 2016 as the start of another year to be filled with interesting encounters, exciting challenges and time spent with new and old friends. We all know too well that it will also be filled with rainy bike rides, nights spent at the library and long days at work – but perhaps, for now, let’s pretend like that won’t be the case so we can still enjoy the beautiful feeling of a new beginning. I hope you will all start the new year with the intention to make it a very good one. On behalf of the Urios board and Magazine Committee I would like to wish all a wonderful, exciting and loving 2016! Enjoy the brand new edition of Curious.





INTRODUCING THE COMMITTEE Roos Bos I’m Roos, 21 Years old and in my 3th year of my law bachelor. I just came back from a semester abroad in South Africa. The most important thing I learned from spending six months at a University in a country recovering from decades of race segregation is that creating an informative platform for young people to share and discuss ideas, can bring about great change. So I am very excited to keep Urios up to date on everything that is happening within the association and in the field of international law.

Natasha McArdle-Ismaguilova My name is Natasha, I'm 21 and studying my Masters in Law and Economics here in Utrecht, I'm really interested in law and how it intersects with social justice. In my spare time you'll find me ranting about feminism, legal theory, politics and technology on my various social media accounts.. I'm really looking forward to being a part of Urios in 2016! .




Judith Bel My name is Judith Bel, I’m in my first year of studying Law at the Utrecht University. I’m passionate about travelling, different cultures and making a change in the world. In my free time I like to read, write, do yoga and attend lectures every now and then. I also like plants and drinking beer with friends. When it comes to the magazine, I have tons of ideas and like to brainstorm a lot, but I’m also very interested in how a magazine is actually put together, since I don’t have much experience with the process. So far, it seems like a very interesting and informative project to work on!

Sofia van Dijk My name is Sofia van Dijk and it is a great pleasure to have been given the task to supervise the magazine committee. Together with my committee we will strive to make the Urios Magazine one of the indispensable elements of our association. I am a very curious person and if I were able to, I would want to spend my life long traveling. I can be quite the chaotic person, but a perfectionist at the same time.










Refugees could be one of the great Trojan horses’’ (Donald Trump) ‘’Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees (…) being settled in Texas.’’ (Greg Abbott) ‘’I will do everything ‘’humanly possible’’ to stop more Syrian refugees to be placed in this state.’’ (Phil Bryant) ‘’I will take every lawful measure in my power to prevent resettling refugees in Maine. ‘’ (Paul LePage) ‘’

More than four million Syrians have left their homes looking for a new beginning in a safer place. John Kerry, the American secretary of state, announced in September that the United States will increase the number of worldwide refugees they each year accept to 100,000 in 2017. But not all the states of ‘’the melting pot of cultures’’ are happy with Obama’s policy on resettling more Syrians in America. Thirty-one states in the U.S have stated that they oppose letting in more immigrants from Syria, but the question is whether the states have any legal authority to close their borders for refugees. According to immigration-law experts, the American constitution commits the legal power to refuse or allow people into the country to the federal government. President Obama has the authority, under the Refugee Act of 1980, to accept foreign refugees who face: ’’Persecution or a well founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular group, or political opinion’’.


In the most recent immigration case of the supreme court of the United States, the judges confirmed the presidential authority on immigration. Furthermore they stated that it is of utmost importance that all executive branches ensure that their policies are consistent with the foreign policy of the federal government because of the dynamic nature of the relations with other countries. Immigration policy can provoke strong reactions and international controversy, so only the federal government should set policy regarding refugees. When refugees are resettled, states do have an assisting role in working with the federal government. This facilitating role of the states specifies that states can direct federal money to organisations that assist in resettling refugees. The Obama administration reminded the states that if a state refuses to direct money to the appointed organizations, they could be subject to an enforcement action. But without cooperation of the states the settlement of refugees can be made more difficult, due to the fact that States can deny investing their own resources into resettling refugees. Most importantly they can make the states a very unwelcoming place.




STRAS BOURG By Sofia van Dijk


Traditionally Urios organizes study trips each year in the theme of both international as European law. This year's European trip went to Strasbourg in France. The European Court of Justice, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe are just a few examples of the many European institutions seated in Strasbourg. It is not for nothing that this city is known as one of the European capitals, and therefore it is a perfect destination for a Urios study trip.


PAGE 11 With a group of 22 people, amongst which were both Dutch as international students, we travelled to France with the bus. At 7 in the morning all participants were expected at Utrecht Central Station from where we were supposed to depart at 7.30 am. However due to some complications we had quite a big delay and so we arrived much later and more tired than planned. Luckily our awesome bus driver Rob got us through this journey with a lot of patience and lots of fun. After having checked in at our hotel, a very tasty dinner was arranged for the group in the beautiful historical city center. As the holiday season would almost be upon us, all streets were already decorated in Christmas and winter theme, which gave us the feeling we were walking around in Disneyland. A very pleasant way to start this great trip and a good compensation for the stress of the journey. The second day started off with a great French breakfast with fresh breads, fruits, yoghurt and much more good stuff. This was a great fuel for the exciting day that was ahead of us. Our first scheduled visit was an encounter with a Dutch EU Parliamentarian. We were very lucky to be visiting the EU Parliament on the day of an official debate on the current situation of refugees and terrorism. We had the chance to see the Italian president speech for all parliamentarians on those topics. The second visit that day went to the International Institute of Human Rights, which is a research and education institute. Although the location was beautiful, the visit itself was not very interesting and quite short. That evening a big part of our group went to explore the nightlife of Strasbourg, with which we ended up crashing a private party of a Red Cross team.



The last day we visited Eurocorps, where we watched a presentation on the institution and where we were invited to have lunch together with the residing corps. A short visit, but definitely a very fun one. After that everyone finally ahd some free time to do some souvenir shopping and to grab some food to eat on the way home. Around 5 pm we returned to Rob’s bus to drive back to the Netherlands. Rob once again gave us an entertaining trip home and made sure we all arrived in Utrecht safe. I can say for myself I arrived in Utrecht quite tired, but nevertheless very satisfied with this studytrip and I am pretty certain many share the same feeling. The board is already looking forward to the next study trip, which is going to the ever exciting IsraÍl.





THE ICTR A Walk Down Memory Lane

BY ANDREA MARILYN UTRECHT JOURNAL BOARD In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide which claimed over a million lives in a very short span of time, the international community and Rwanda had to decide how to bring justice, peace and healing to the Rwandan society. This led to the establishment of an international criminal tribunal, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) with the mandate of “prosecuting persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda and Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide and other such violations�. Twenty years after its establishment, the ICTR has finally decided to wrap up its work and the closing events were held in the beginning of December 2015.

In all, the Tribunal has sentenced 61 individuals after indicting 93 of them including high ranking officials, government officials, businessmen and religious militia. In prosecuting such high ranking leaders, the Tribunal has focused on one of the reasons behind establishing international criminal tribunals in general namely symbolic justice to the victims. Nevertheless, one cannot conclusively say that the ICTR has achieved such justice by prosecuting individuals since the Tribunal itself was established outside Rwanda, in Arusha, Tanzania. This meant that victims could not always identify with the justice laid down by the Tribunal. Furthermore, it is pertinent to note that the ICTR is concluding its work twenty years after the Rwandan genocide, which in effect, is delayed justice to the victims.



In examining the work of the ICTR, one cannot ignore the fact that the ICTR was one of the first international criminal tribunals established after the Nuremberg Tribunal and other national military tribunals. At the moment of its establishment, international criminal law and practice were mere infants. In fact, the International Criminal Court (ICC), the permanent body to try international crimes, they modelled the ICC on the flaws and the successes of the ad hoc tribunals. In light of this, the work of the ICTR is commendable. For instance, the ICTR was the first international criminal tribunal to prosecute individuals for the crime of genocide although the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide has been in existence since 1948. Furthermore, the ICTR has laid down the law in prosecuting genocide perpetrated through sexual violence so much so that in 2014 the Tribunal launched a best practices manual on the prosecution of sexual violence crimes in post-conflict regions. Another milestone in the work of the ICTR is its prosecution of the media in instigating genocide. Such rulings of the Tribunal have contributed to the development of international criminal law and practice.


The ICTR was established to achieve lofty ideals such as maintenance of peace, national reconciliation and deterrence. However, it is questionable if the ICTR did actually achieve these aims. Peace in Rwanda cannot be said to be a result of the establishment of the Tribunal and if anything, the Tribunal was one of the peace offerings to the victims. National reconciliation in an ethnic conflict such as that in Rwanda is vital in order to bring together the warring factions so as to enable them to live together as a society. However, the ICTR system could not achieve this by simply prosecuting offenders. In fact, it would be well to remember that the national systems of Rwanda are so different from international criminal justice system that one cannot conclusively state that the victims viewed the ICTR as proper institution of justice sans bias. An international criminal tribunal cannot by itself be the solution to prevent and deter genocide since genocides do not occur simply because of a feeling of impunity. That said, one cannot conclude that the ICTR was a futile institution. It was an essential stepping stone in the peace process in Rwanda, in upholding the rule of law within the international community since international crimes are essentially crimes against humanity as a whole and a guide to future tribunals in the development of international criminal law.



HAMBURG MUN From the 3rd till the 6th of December the Urios MUN Society participated in HamMUN, a Model United Nations conference in Hamburg. We got of to a bit of a rocky start since the trains were delayed and so we arrived an hour late in Hamburg. After a quick change of clothes, we went to the University for the opening ceremony and the first committee sessions, and for delicious Subway sandwiches which they had as a welcome snack. After a first brief session it was time for the first social, a Pub Crawl! Although most of us were tired and went to the hostel quite early, three of our delegates made it to the last bar. After which our delegate Eamonn o'Keeffe delighted many a participant with his lively interpretation of Gold Digger in a karaoke bar. Next morning we had to get up early for our first day of conference, it was an eventful day in which one of our delegates, who impersonated the Head of State of Mexico, got killed by one of the other delegates in the Joint Crisis Committee simulation. Which he didn't like at first but luckily he got a new persona as Commander of the Mexican marines so everyone was happy again. The lunches were far from excellent in the weekend but on friday we got to eat at the university cafeteria, which was considerably better, so we got quite lucky there. The overall quality of the food was not superb that weekend. Since we didn't have much time in between the committee sessions and the socials we had dinner in the Mcdonalds at the trainstation 3 nights in a row. We were not the only ones so it probably made quite a sight, all these students in formal suites eating big macs at the station.


From the 3rd till the 6th of December the Urios MUN Society participated in HamMUN, a Model United Nations conference in Hamburg. Our very own MUN Commissioner Maxime Voorbraak tells about the experiences of the Urios delegation at this conference.

Our delegation was spread over multiple committees and there were some interesting positions, for example the people´s republic of China in the ECOSOC committee and the Russian Federation in the Human rights council. The HamMUN staff chose several very interesting topic like the extreme censorship of journalists in the Human rights council and the increasing use of Drones in international conflicts in the DISEC committee. This topic focused in particular on the use of Drones in the Northwest Pakistan, which was interesting because one of our delegates was the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in DISEC. And he did a good job too, because our delegate Taco Brinkman got an honourable mention, which is even more impressive considering that he was a first- time MUN´er. On saturday we dressed up for our last social, the Delegate ´s ball. The ball was in a beautiful old venue in a district in Hamburg which is well known for its outrageous partying. Around the venue there were many stripclubs and bars. They opened with slow dancing but after a few beers they changed the to pop and more fast paced music. After a fun night of dancing a beers we had a rough and hangover last conference day. Many resolutions passed in the last hours and although we were hungover, it was a pretty successful day. After the closing ceremony it was time to take the train back to Utrecht, which took about 5 hours and most of us spend this time sleeping. I think it was a very successful conference, it was well organised (apart from the lunches) and we had an especially fun group of delegate´s. Everybody had a good time and I think we created some new MUN´ers. I hope to take many of them with me at MUN´s in the future since I think they acquired a taste for it now!



Climate Change Symposium On the 14th of December, the Climate Change Lecture was held in the Oude Raadszaal. The room was packed with Urios members and non­members, and the list of speakers was very promising. Subjects to be discussed included, amongst others, the recent developments at the Paris Summit COP21, political developments and the Urgenda climate case. Before diving into the more legal and politic subjects, Pier Vellinga (professor at Wageningen university) gave us a geographical explanation of how the greenhouse effect actually works. He also explained why it is almost certain that humans are the cause of the global warming, and not natural shifts. This is important, because it is the reason that finally some action has been taken to improve the situation. After these explanations,  Michel Rentenaar (climate envoy of the netherlands) was able to give us a very detailed report of the Paris Summit COP21. He was able to explain very clearly how it all took place, and how chaotic it could be at the same time. It is after all an intense event, but they luckily achieved a lot this time! The last speaker was Dennis van Berkel (climate change lawyer for Urgenda). He explained the Urgenda case against the government, which should eventually cause the government to take more action to protect us against climate change. So far, they have been doing pretty well and this was a very interesting subject to hear about as well. We hope you liked the Symposium Lecture as much as we did! And of course we would like to see you next time at any other activities that will be organised!









The recent Paris attacks where 130 people lost their lives were a tragedy, but they have also acted as a catalyst: just days after the tragedy happened, a motion was hurriedly passed in the UK calling for the use of drones to drop bombs on Syria. Just one hour after the vote passed with an overwhelming majority, on December 3rd Britain joined forces with the United States, France and Russia and officially launched airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria. British drones were seen leaving the airbase in Cyprus. Reminiscent of UK intervention in Iraq in 2003, the UK once again finds itself on the cusp of yet another war that will leave Syria desolate and poverty-stricken. The measure has already been widely criticised for being an inefficient method in countering terrorism, failing to consider the deaths and human rights abuses it will entail and being extremely costly endeavour whilst simultaneously widespread cuts to disability, child and family welfare in the UK are being made. At the same time, perhaps the most important aspect of the airstrikes has barely been touched upon: is it legal?


To put it flatly, it depends on who you ask. UK and US military action in Iraq in 2003 was widely decried to be illegal, due to the United Nations providing no resolution calling for intervention. In a 2004 interview with the BBC, the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated that"[F]rom our point of view and from the Charter point of view [the war] was illegal.” Contrast that with a UN resolution passed in November this year which implicitly supports the necessity to “take all necessary measures” to further prevent terror. However, it does not strictly approve the use of force and cannot in itself be seen as providing a legal basis for intervention in Syria. This has not however stopped David Cameron, the British prime minister, from relying on the provision. As well as this, he has stated that the main legal basis allowing airstrikes in Syria is the “self-defence” of both the UK and its allies, as per Article 51 of the UN charter which allows countries the use of military force for individual or collective self-defence. Keir Starmer, writing for The Guardian, has expressed the opinion that in the face of terror, this is a sufficient legal basis for military intervention.On the flipside, Syrian President Bashar Assad has said that Britain’s airstrikes in Syria are “illegal” and will help spread terrorism. Leading legal scholars in the UK have agreed with this position, arguing that the move is based not on legal but rather political considerations. There is no doubt Iraq and Syria are different. Yet similarities are obvious: we do not know yet whether the UK’s military intervention in Syria is legal. What we do know is that bombs will fall on innocent citizens and tear the country apart as it did in Iraq. Is this not a human rights abuse on the grandest scale imaginable?

It therefore quickly becomes evident that when world conflicts arise, they can be simultaneously legal or illegal depending on which country or part of the world you are in. The West, who feel threatened and fear for the safety of their citizens believe self-defence is a sufficient legal basis for enacting such brutal measures. As for the innocent Syrian citizens these measures will affect? They will be too busy mourning the deaths of their relatives and fleeing their war-stricken country to consider nuanced legal debates.






Sometimes it's crazy how fast time moves. 2016 is coming already, but don't worry! There are lots of small and big things to look forward to. We are excited, are you?






EXCHANGE TO ISRAEL This year's long exchange is to Israel, and it's great. Israel is said to have everything there is, yet very small. There are cities, beaches, deserts and mountains... all just very small. Small, but not less exciting. We can't wait.

SYMPOSIUM ACTIVITIES Many of you maybe already attended our symposium lecture on climate change, but that's not all! There are more things to come, so keep an eye out!

EUFA EURO 2016 Many of you might be pissed since the Dutch team didn't make it to the European Championship, but that doesn't mean it won't be a fun happening! Let's take it as an opportunity to become better friends with our neighbors and cheer for them.

GEENPEIL REFERENDUM Geenpeil made a statement and got us a referendum, so let's use it! There are differnt things to say about this trade treaty with Ukraine, but the referendum itself sure is an interesting political development!

OPENING OF JANSKERHOF 3 On January 28th the new building for the Law department will be opened! Our office is alread there and it's really beautiful, so come and take a look!






OUR UNIVERSITY'S BIRTHDAY Not only Urios is celebrating in 2016, it's also our University's 380th birthday! Let's hope that this 76th lustrum will give us lots of opportunities to celebrate!

NEW MUSIC IS TO COME! Some famous and less famous artists like Kanye West, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gorillaz, Rihanna, The xx and many more are scheduled to release their albums in 2016! It's going to be a good year for music!

GOOD NEWS AFGHANISTAN It might seem like a far future still, but on the last day of 2016, it is said that the last remaining American, British and Australian troops will withdraw from Afghanistan. Yay!

A HOTEL IN SPACE? Yes, you heard it! Apparently Orbital Technologies, a Russian private spaceflight company, plans to launch a space hotel for wealthy tourists in 2016. Are you saving already?

NEW YEAR, NEW CHANCES Don't you love the idea of new chances, a new blank page to write on. It is proven that it is easier to make life changes at the start of something new (like a new year), so take the chance!




FEATURED IN CURIOUS: JULIE ALBERS In every Curious issue an interview is held with one of the many active Urios members. In the very first issue of Curious no one less than Julie Albers will be presented to you. Julie is member of the Symposium Committee, which was the committee responsible for the successful symposium on Climate Change (see p. 16). Julie has only been a member from the beginning of this academic year and already has she done so much for the association. Not only is she doing a great job in her committee, but she has also been a big help for the current board assisting them in taking photographs, helping out with logistical problems during the Strasbourg study trip and many more other things. With this we would very much like to thank her for being such an awesome person. About her membership she says that she’s quite enjoying it so far. As a friend and roommate of our treasurer Janneke Feenstra, she says it’s really fun to hear all the inside stories of the association. At the same time it can be kind of difficult to be in an in-between position as committee member and at the same time a good friend. Julies ambitions in her career are to specialize in international law and human rights and to combine that with climate change and environmental issues. A job at the UN would not be a major problem she says. Also besides Urios and the UCU double-degree program, she is editor-in-chief of the “duurzame student”, a magazine on sustainability; thus a very busy lady. In her free time, she enjoys drinking coffee, going to the movies and playing the saxophone and clarinet. Also she loves to travel, but she does not get to do it very often. One of her biggest dream is to live some day in an apartment in New York City with some cats and a dog.

Colophon Curious - Urios magazine Vol. 1 Issue 1 January 2016 Editors Sofia van Dijk, Natasha Mcardieismaguilova, Judith Bel, Roos Bos Address Janskerkhof 3 (Room M1.07) 3512BK Utrecht The Netherlands Copyright The copyright of the articles, photographs and pictures are reserved to the authors and artists. nothing in this issue may in any way be duplicated or made public without permission from the authors.

Published every six weeks Š All rights reserved, Curios – Urios magazine

Curious #1  

Urios Magazine Volume 1 Issue 1 January 2016

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