Martens Summer School on International Law

Russia and International Human Rights Law

organized by the Centre for EU-Russia Studies (CEURUS), University of Tartu

Place: University of Tartu premises in Pärnu, Estonia
: 29 July – 3 August 2012


There are a number of prominent summer courses on Public International Law, from the Hague Academy of International Law to the Helsinki Summer Seminar on International Law in the Baltic region. The new Martens Summer School on International Law, organized by the Centre for EU-Russia Studies (CEURUS) at the University of Tartu in the Estonian coastal town of Pärnu, does not intend to imitate these already established and successful formats. Rather, we will focus on specific Eastern European and Eurasian concepts of and developments in International Law, including Human Rights Law. In particular, we will devote our main attention to significant international legal developments in the Russian Federation and the CIS countries.

The new summer school has been named after Friedrich aka Fyodor Fyodorovich Martens (1845-1909), the foremost Tsarist Russian international lawyer and Professor of International Law at St Petersburg Imperial University. Professor Martens was born and spent the first years of his life in Pärnu. His high-profile professional career has inspired an internationally acclaimed novel, “Professor Martens’ Departure“ by the Estonian writer Jaan Kross (1984).

Martens personified the links between Russia and the West and particularly emphasized the importance of human rights in his doctrine of international law. Controversially, he argued that international law only applied to ’civilized nations’ yet defined ’who was civilized’ through the country’s respect for the rights of the individual. Thus, it is not a coincidence that the first Martens Summer School will deal with the topic of “Russia and International Human Rights Law“. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991 and the adoption of the new democratic constitution in 1993, the Russian Federation has embraced various regimes and instruments of International and European Human Rights Law. Perhaps most significantly, Russia ratified the European Convention on Human Rights in 1998 and thus became subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. However, Russia’s participation in the Strasbourg system of human rights protection has not always been an easy or smooth one. Russian NGO-s and international human rights organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, often criticize the Russian government for deficiencies in the field of human rights. What then is today’s Russia’s stance on Human Rights Law? In light of the Russian Federation’s participation in the European Convention on Human Rights, what are the main problem areas? With the help of prominent Human Rights Law specialists from the Russian Federation and elsewhere, the 1st Martens Summer School on International Law will look for answers to the above mentioned questions.


The 1st Martens Summer School on International Law consists of 30 academic hours (i.e. 30 x 45 minutes) of study, combining different study formats (lectures and seminars). The opening of the Summer School will take place in the evening of July 29, 2012 and the topics and lecturers (Monday 30.07. through Friday 03.08.) will be the following:

  • “Human Rights in Russian Courts – an NGO Perspective“ (Dr Anton Burkov, Yekaterinburg; NGO „Sutyazhnik“)
  • “ European Convention on Human Rights and Russia (Case-law of the European Court of Human Rights: A Judge’s View) (Judge Anatoly Kovler, European Court of Human Rights)
  • “The History of International Law and Human Rights in Russia – a Key to Understanding Today’s Debates“ (Professor Lauri Mälksoo, University of Tartu)
  • “The Place of International Law in Russia’s Legal System: Doctrine and Practice“ (Professor Sergei Marochkin, Tyumen State University)

Eligibility and requirements

The summer school is open to MA students, advanced undergraduate students and professionals. The programme awards 4 ECTS/2 ECTS. In order to receive 4 ECTS for the programme, the participants are required to:

  • attend all lectures, seminars and study trips;
  • read all required texts prior to arrival in Pärnu;
  • participate actively in discussions;
  • submit a research paper by 30 August 2012. The length of the paper must be between 4000 and 4500 words, including footnotes and bibliography.

Students who do not submit the research paper will earn 2 ECTS.

Upon successful completion of the programme participants will receive the University of Tartu Certificate of Completion and an Academic Transcript.

Application procedure

Deadline for applications is  04 June 2012. A letter of motivation and CV needs to be submitted together with the application.

To submit your application, please visit the How to Apply section of the UT International Summer University website.

Study fees

Tuition fees, the cultural and social programme as well as other services in the framework of the Summer School are fully covered by CEURUS and the University of Tartu. We do, however, charge 300 EUR to cover accomodation costs during your stay in Pärnu (5 nights for the period of 29 July to 03 August 2012). A third of this (100 EUR) need to be paid upon application (i.e. together with the submission of you application) by 4 June 2012. It will be fully refunded in case your application is rejected. In case your application is confirmed, however, the remaining amount  (200 EUR) for accommodation costs needs to be paid by 01 July 2012.

We do not cover the cost of transportation to and from Pärnu.

Please view the 2012 Martens Summer School schedule (doc)

For more information, please contact Professor Lauri Mälksoo (lauri.malksoo[at]

For more information on CEURUS see here