Radio Netherlands Worldwide

SSO Login

More login possibilities:

  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
Saturday 20 December  
Peace Palace
The Hague, Netherlands
The Hague, Netherlands

Dutch Series - Part III (The Reward) Justice: a brand that brings in business

Published on : 18 July 2012 - 1:01pm | By International Justice Tribune (Photo: RNW)
More about:

A group of African dignitaries raise their smartphones to take photos in the Peace Palace. As they are introduced to courts of a century ago, a Ugandan Minister looks for his country’s coat of arms on an embroidered chair at the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

By Janet Anderson, The Hague

This new project—inviting justice experts from around the world—is an exercise in public diplomacy by the city and the Dutch government. Its documents describe its role as consolidating the Netherlands “as THE global centre of excellence for peace and justice”.

It has taken since the triumph of Rome in 1998 [read Part II], when The Hague was selected as the seat of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the city to realise the potential benefits. At first, the Dutch were caught sleeping when the ICC was born in 2002 ahead of the predicted schedule and says Thijs Buchli (umlaut) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs—the Dutch also had to deal with internal disagreements over the new court. The Ministry of Justice slogan at the time was the Netherlands “shouldn’t end up as the criminal rubbish bin of the world.” Diplomats were concerned that setting up the court “shouldn’t be a free ride for the rest of the world at the Netherlands’ expense” and argued for “a proper cost-sharing arrangement,” Buchli says.

William Pace of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court blames the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) for “negligence in not setting up a competition and working out what the host country would give and not give.” That lack of preparation dogged negotiations over financial rules and a permanent site for the court. When the end of the ten-year rent-free period in temporary offices loomed this year, the ICC threatened to look elsewhere. But the Dutch agreed to pay another six months’ rent—3 million euros—and the court plans to pay itself for the next few years.

Willem Genugten, professor of law in Tilburg says the cost of international justice is a recurring theme in the Netherlands. “At the beginning of the millennium it was not clear what the economic benefits would be. The Dutch are extremely Calvinistic—making things difficult when it comes to money issues,” says Professor Peter van Krieken of Webster University. But, says van Genugten, research by the municipality has helped tone down arguments.

From 2005 to 2010 the number of international organisations in The Hague increased from 72 to 199 and embassies from 95 to 111. Jobs in these institutions increased from 12,000 to over 18,000. Employees’ spending power and the purchase of products and services by international organisations in and around The Hague support another 17,500 jobs. The Hague’s new slogan, ‘International City of Peace and Justice’ is the key. The mayor, Jozias van Aartsen told Dutch Honorary Consuls last month that he was busy “put[ting] the Netherlands more firmly on the map over the next ten years as the worldwide centre of expertise in the area of peace and justice”.

Related content

A 29,5 million euro think tank
In their report, van Genugten and two colleagues recommended making the city the place where “not only practising law, but also studying and making international law, is more relevant.” Van Genugten was asked to put his ideas into practice when he became Dean of The Hague Institute for Global Justice (HIGJ)—a brand new legal think tank. It has received 17.5 million from the government, more than 2 million from the municipality and about 10 million in kind from Dutch institutes over five years. “So that’s quite an investment,” he points out.

Ugandan deputy ambassador Mirjam Blaak agrees that “coordination was lacking” in the past and wonders whether there was a degree of “complacency” within the Dutch government after getting the ICC. Now, she says, more academic institutions are filling gaps. She believes the Dutch should take “an extra step to make the city more hospitable.” She was surprised when the intergovernmental group, Justice Rapid Response, didn’t get a more generous offer from the Dutch when they asked to relocate here. A better offer came from Switzerland, where they are setting up headquarters.

At city level, money—hundreds of thousands from its own pot and Dutch ministries—is invested in finding synergies between legal institutions and business counterparts through organisations such as The Hague Security Delta and The Hague Utilities for Global Organisations. The city spent more than 13 million euros this year on city marketing, with over 350,000 hotel guests expected.

At national level the Ministry of Foreign Affairs put more than 100 million euros into strengthening international law and respect for human rights, as “a strong international legal order requires well-functioning international institutions with broad public support.” Over the last decade, according to ASP budgets, Dutch contributions to the ICC amounted to nearly 22 million euros. This year’s contribution is almost 3 million - in addition to the rent subsidy.

Part of the new emphasis lies on potential economic benefits for Dutch companies. At The HIGJ, one project involves development of a bio-economic dispute resolution mechanism. “This is about companies in the Netherlands and elsewhere using natural resources,” explains van Genugten. Seed money—300,000 euro—comes from the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Minister Maxime Verhagen, opening the HIGJ last year, noted the ”links between global justice and the economic realm,” saying they are “two sides of the same coin. Ultimately responsible business conduct benefits everyone.”

Even in a long-established tribunal such as the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), the emphasis has shifted from arbitrating between states to solving problems for investors. It’s a “rapidly-expanding area of law” according to new Secretary-General Hugo Siblesz. There is a “growing network of bilateral investment treaties,” he adds—more than 3,000 and the PCA is now being called in when there are disputes.
From a diplomatic perspective the Netherlands expects to profit from championing justice and the ICC. Mayor van Aartsen—who was Foreign Minister when the ICC came into being—likes to tells audiences abroad that international justice is the “vocation of Holland” and that “the Netherlands ha[s] a leading role to play in a supranational legal community.” The new project bringing visitors to the legal institutions also portrays international justice as a “high potential niche for Dutch foreign policy.”

But some Dutch officials worry. Warner ten Kate, former political advisor to the UN at the Juba peace talks, describes Dutch support for international justice as “very extreme”. He says, “It doesn’t allow much space for other considerations to do with conflict resolution. I mean these things do tie your hands diplomatically.” He cites tensions earlier this year around the South Sudan independence referendum. Dutch Development Minister Ben Knapen argued that despite the ICC’s arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al Bashir for genocide, it was important to engage with him. “Al-Bashir going down might destabilise the North. But you need a government that is able to deal with this appropriately. Chaos is in nobody’s interest,” he said in an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

“It was a fragile situation so that’s why he said it,” says Ten Kate. But then there was “noise from pro-international justice circles. And he tried to claw back.” The implications are “that Knapen is not capable of making a potentially better policy towards Sudan that takes questions around stability into account. He is obliged to take the route of simply supporting the ICC and nothing else. It’s a limitation on policy options.”

The Hague as a new brand
“The Hague cannot take its leading position as city of peace and justice for granted. Maintaining that privileged position demands constant care and attention,” says van Genugten. “Diplomatic efforts should not stop, but should be accompanied by a combination of the practical and the PR world. Economics is important—it leads to extra jobs and extra economic attention for The Hague. But also important is the immaterial, strengthening our image as the country of Grotius and peace conferences, and competing as a world city.”

Hugo Siblesz of the PCA is sure the world is starting to recognise what the Dutch have to offer. “When you read the Economist or International Herald Tribune or an African newspaper, you see a new phrase is coined: ‘He will be sent to The Hague,’” says Krieken. “The Hague is an institution in itself. It’s tremendous.” The new brand may well succeed, but are its true long-term benefits a certainty?


Kristyren Jules 20 December 2014 - 8:20am

Your desired cash loans can instantly approve through 500 fast Cash online progression.

Jowell Perrez 19 December 2014 - 12:26pm

Learn more about scott tucker as one of the global racecar legends.

Nick Barton 19 December 2014 - 2:30am / United States

Steps about acquiring OCC is a must to learn nowadays.

Krishia Esalan 18 December 2014 - 8:54am

Do you desire to find out more details on Scott tucker and his achievement? You'll certainly be encouraged on how he worked for success.

Darel Watson 18 December 2014 - 6:11am / United States

I know some reviews about Readymade Business 4 U Waste Distribution that can really help me deciding what business to have.

monicabernards214 14 December 2014 - 2:39am

Many of you probably wanted to be like scott tucker. It is not impossible and you can also walk the same path that he did.

janewatson183 14 December 2014 - 12:51am

Mr. Scott Tucker has been a car racer for most of his lifestyle and it has always been like this. It was possibly the main reason why he is a specialist on the field.

Anonymous 6 December 2014 - 11:16pm / Egypt

Aman named Li Qing Yuen іs mentioned іn ѕeveral unsubstantiated
reports to haave lived tο the ripe οld age of 252 yеars, hаving consumed gojji berries daily tɦroughout his lоng life.

Anonymous 6 December 2014 - 11:13pm / Egypt

Ils cherchent un emploi pour vous et votre recherche d'emploi devient beaucoup plus simple.
صب واي
بن تن
العاب حب

Cameron Hughes 2 December 2014 - 11:01am / United States

For more help, Alec Maclaren is the right person you might need sorting such financial issues.

Mica Ferriols 28 November 2014 - 11:30am / United States

I can have more Alec maclaren tips here so just check it out.

لعبة 22 November 2014 - 1:37pm / england

really great post!

لعبة 22 November 2014 - 1:29pm / england

this 's really useful article! much thanks to you!

Marcus Gordon 20 November 2014 - 1:09pm / United States

Know more national wiki investigations updates which you can use for your own personal needs.

Christian Carter 20 November 2014 - 10:02am / United States

Let yourself be aware of Handyman services online for having such assistance at home.

janetaustin281 19 November 2014 - 8:50am / United States

Search for ideal business opportunities existing online that you can take advantage of.

Vincent Boyd 18 November 2014 - 9:32am / United States

Get a lot of ideas towards Health screening tests and see why it is very important to us.

Samantha Griffin 14 November 2014 - 7:30am / United States

Be aware of what Rhinoplasty Sheffield can give you during those situation that you want to improve yourself.

Kristine Laura 12 November 2014 - 4:11pm

Seek the most important updates about Alec in this website and be aware of the stuff he is focusing right now.

Herson Hodgin 12 November 2014 - 10:54am

Learn new things towards maclaren and the way he support people with financial ideas.

Steve Tomphson 5 November 2014 - 6:46am

Determine and read more on scott tuckers site the right news about motorsports today.

Clint Eastwood 27 October 2014 - 10:00pm

To know about Scott Tucker is a good way to be on the right track for every race car events.

Josefina 26 October 2014 - 7:57pm / Italy

Clogged sinks and drains are a common problem that arises in our houses very often. It's not that difficult to crack a pipe, apply a bad seal, etc, and
you don't want to have to pay through the nose to
have the same problem fixed a second time. After all we take bath daily and it builds up
small amount of hair particles in the bathroom pipes.
Some companies might charge by the hour, and some may charge by the service provided.

Feel free to visit my web-site :: αποφραξεις

Mike Dalton 26 October 2014 - 6:07am / texas

Well appreciated. More tips online by for cash and future loans.

raze hacked 23 October 2014 - 9:39pm / Austria

I actually managed to do so, so let's move forward to 13. Make fast work of them both
and bound to place two after you might be done. Upon the whole Raze 2
is a worthy sequel of Raze with plenty of interesting new
features to uncover.

Magdalena 21 October 2014 - 2:00am / France

If you desire to increase your know-how just keep visiting this website and be updated with the latest information posted

Feel free to visit my web site - eurokriese

Natalia 20 October 2014 - 9:25am / Austria

Good day! I simply want to offer you a huge thumbs up for your great information you have got here on this post.
I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.

Feel free to surf to my web page - ex recovery system free pdf (

Vincent 19 October 2014 - 7:38pm / Switzerland

If you Һave suffered fгom flu or cold, replace үour toothbrush.
Aman named Li Qing Yuen іs mentioned іn ѕeveral unsubstantiated
reports to haave lived tο the ripe οld age of 252 yеars, hаving consumed gojji berries daily tɦroughout his lоng life.

Conversely, goji berries аre a good constipation remedy.

Μy web pɑge: formula de goji actives

Lynwood 16 October 2014 - 11:08am / Poland

I was able to find good advice from your content.

my website search engine optimization software (

ผ้าห่ม 14 October 2014 - 4:24pm / Germany

Great delivery. Solid arguments. Keep up the good effort.

Here is my page; ผ้าห่ม

Post new comment

Please be reminded all comments must be in English, short and to the point - guideline 250 words. Abusive and inappropriate comments will be removed.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p> <br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

RNW Player

International Justice

From the former Yugoslavia to Rwanda, Cambodia and Lebanon, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports on international justice. We offer background news and reporting on war crimes, human rights abuses and genocide.