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.
Mohibullah Taib is an Afghan diplomat in charge of human rights at the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN in Geneva. In this interview, he tells about the programme and what it will bring to his career.
This panel discussion marks the Launch of our New Research Initiative, carried out jointly by our Swiss IHL Chair Robin Geiß and the ICRC.
This online IHL Talk aims at shining light on the various ways of promoting respect for and implementation of international humanitarian law.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, discusses the protection offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) and addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, provides participants with a solid understanding of the existing pluralistic system of international accountability for international crimes and of its main challenges.
This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.
This project intends to clarify the conditions of accountability for international crimes by providing a detailed assessment of the customary international law status of, in particular, the actus reus and mens rea elements of modes of liability: planning, instigating, conspiracy, direct and indirect perpetration, co-perpetration, the three forms of joint criminal enterprise, the doctrine of common purpose under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, command responsibility and aiding and abetting.