I started my time as an intern at the Coalition for the International Criminal Court on May 15th. I immediately got a sense of how broad is the field of action of this NGO. The Coalition for the ICC is a network of more than 2000 NGOs that works on different levels to guarantee that the mission of the International Criminal Court is undertaken in a fair, independent and efficient manner. The Coalition advocates strongly for the states’ support of this international tribunal, believing that is the fundamental element to guarantee the possibility of delivering justice for atrocities like war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

In order to achieve all this, the Coalition’s staff is divided into different “sections”: the Legal officers work in tight contact with the Court and oversee judicial decisions, hearings and important documents and communicate legal matters to the Coalition’s members. Communications officers take care of delivering messages about the work of the ICC and the campaigns of the Coalition on social media. Advocacy experts make sure that the efforts of the Coalition are well known to the public, they inform people of important matters related to international justice and the ICC system, and perform as a bridge between the legal information and the Communications stage. Programme associates work in order to coordinate the actions of the Coalition between the different offices, take care of the organizational aspects of the Coalition’s campaigns, support the work of Advocacy and Communications offices and coordinate the communications with the Coalition’s members and regional offices.

Being a Programme intern is a deep, diverse and dynamic experience. I had the chance to confront myself with very different tasks and environments. I carried on a project for the redaction of a handbook for the Communications department. At the beginning of June, I had the chance to participate to the annual roundtables where NGOs representatives and Court’s officers meet to discuss strategies, issues and lessons learnt in the delivery of justice for victims of atrocities. I collaborated in overseeing and developing advocacy strategies for the Coalition’s campaign on the Elections of the Judges. I assisted in the organization of advocacy campaign on the ratification of Rome Statute Protocols, and in the organization of events and conferences in which the Coalition was involved. I developed diplomatic skills, having to interact personally with people from Embassies and States’ delegations, as well as officers of the Court and other NGOs. I contributed to the creation and editing of website contents and features, and I was responsible for the creation of databases with the contacts of Ministries and NGO members. I was asked to redact reports and summaries of meetings organized by the Court’s organs, I dived in the world of international organizations that is so lively in The Hague, and I learnt a lot about the work of the International Criminal Court, as well as the role of civil society in the development of this new institution.

I got very involved with the general mission of the Coalition for the ICC. Especially having responsibilities during the Coalition’s campaign for the upcoming Judicial Elections of December 2017, I engaged with the true core of such an important institution like the International Criminal Court, valuing the Coalition’s efforts in raising awareness about the importance of having a qualified and representative judicial bench and the fundamental role that judges play in delivering justice to victims.

This experience working in a foreign country gave me a sense of what I want to do, and who I want to be in my professional career. I understood the importance of engagement, networking, passion, but also independence and creativity. I learnt how to tackle issues and problems of which I do not know the answer, applying strategies and creative thinking to accomplish and finalized that I was asked to carry on. I value commitment and dedication even more, especially in the context of the work of NGOs where sometimes personal engagement has to fill in the gaps of scarce budgetary resources.

I also learnt about the passion, the incredible efforts and the constant attention that NGOs like the Coalition for the ICC deliver every day. The balance between expectations and budgetary issues, the involvement in advocating for justice and human rights, the personal impact that this job has on the individual lives are elements that truly inspired me in these three months.

I understood that professionalism is not the only element at stake, that the message passes through better when one believes in the mission he or she is working for, that a transparent working environment can help one growing, professionally and personally, learning from mistakes and from successes.

I am grateful for having being able to fulfil this experience thanks to the Erasmus+ Program. I believe experiencing a professional practice abroad during the studies is the necessary element to finally combine knowledge and practical application, to confront oneself with the world out there, to develop personal passions and understand more about oneself and his or her relation with others. Internships and traineeships should be valued and encouraged by every member of the Faculty as fundamental steps to fulfil a complete and comprehensive education.