Executive Training on Civil Aspects of International Child Protection (ICPT)

The Civil Aspects of International Child Protection cover a wide range of legal issues, from the promotion and preservation of children’s fundamental rights and their participation as individual rights holders to the desired collaborative justice through the determination of the competent court and applicable law and the implication of alternative dispute resolution methods; passing through vulnerable families, asylum children and separated children all seeking justice. The subject at stake is transversal, other than topical, and universal in that many international law instruments govern and aim to coordinate protective mechanisms and measures supporting children’s transnational movements across the globe and affecting children’s personal/family statuses as well as their personal and property rights.

This programme attempts to offer advanced training and improve and transfer knowledge through a series of short sessions on actually selected topics. It is advised for anyone interested in international child protection, particularly but not only equipped with legal background. Interdisciplinary dialogue is targeted by this training, the topic being certainly multidisciplinary. It is organized into four half-day online modules.


  • Learn about the latest studies, policies, and practices in critical areas of child protection
  • Foster constructive and transversal discourse among academics, practitioners and stakeholders in the field of international child protection
  • Encourage scientific research, educational programmes and career development on civil aspects of child protection


Professionals of child protection and related areas, Legislators on child protection and related areas (i.e. Ville de Genève, Canton of Geneva, Swiss Confederation), Office de l’Ombudsman des droits de l’enfant Suisse, Researchers on child protection and related areas, PhD candidates // MAS and CAS Students on child protection and related areas, Embassies, Consulates, UN Missions, International Organisations of any kind, Governmental authorities, Courts, Notaries, Child Protection Services.


The programme includes 4 half-day online modules.

Module 1

Children’s Individual Rights in Transnational Parental Relationships

28 November 2024, 14:15 - 18:15

Online learning

This module pertains to the intersection of international child protection and children’s rights. Children in need of protection hold individual rights that are impacted by parental relationships, behaviours and conduct. Such rights are enshrined in universal, regional and national legal instruments, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the European Convention on Human Rights and national Constitutions at first. Inherently, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the European Court of Human Rights, respectively as quasi-judicial and judicial bodies, have in many occasions pinpointed the undeniable legal consequences, arising from parental relationships and litigation in national and transnational contexts, on the protection of children and their fundamental rights. Particularly, but not exhaustively, civil abduction, custody, adoption, surrogacy, family reunification, migration status, children’s properties have been crucial in the courts view for the determination of children as individual rights holders and subject to international protection. Lecturers will present selected topics of current research and practice, focusing on the above intersection. Discussions will follow after each intervention.

Module 2

International and Comparative Family Law

19 December 2024, 14:15 - 18:15

Online learning

This module concerns the implementation of private international law rules governing international child protection, known as ‘International Family Law’. The latter includes international conventions and regional instruments typically determining jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition, cooperation among governmental and other bodies. As a comparative assessment, national laws, known as domestic rules, and national case law are part of this module. Parental relationships and litigation are the subject of multiple legal instruments, of national, regional and international nature, whose knowledge and interplay are fundamental for the timely transnational enforcement of child protection policies and measures. Also, alternative dispute resolution methods (i.e. Arbitration, Mediation) are referred to in this module as a way of preventing parental litigation in court. Lecturers will present selected topics of current research and practice, raising awareness about the above implementation and related issues, with the support of actual case law and law clinic. Discussions will follow after each intervention.

Module 3

Vulnerable Migration

27 February 2025, 14:15 - 18:15

Online learning

This module deals with the protection of unaccompanied minors, as well as with separated and displaced children seeking asylum. The context is the one of transnational movements whereby various vulnerable scenarios would be encountered, such as guardianship, legal representation, family reunification, civil abduction, child custody, recognition of child and family statuses. These are some of the legal situations that are envisaged by parallel family law and migration law procedures involving interconnected issues of vulnerable migration and child protection for civil purposes. Lecturers will present selected topics of current research and practice, handling this specific context in which transversal knowledge of international family law and migration law is required. Discussions will follow after each intervention.

Module 4

Practice of Child Protection Stakeholders: Inter-agency Co-operation in Context

10 April 2025,
14:15 - 18:15

Online learning

This module accentuates both the legislative and practical course of transnational governance of child protection policies and civil measures, addressing the question of “who does what”? What are the potential fora in which international child protection policies are discussed, approved and enforced? Practically, when a child is a victim of international civil abduction, what actors may be involved and how do they cooperate? This module aims to clarify and assess the role of all actors possibly involved in legislating and implementing child protection civil procedures, also with respect to vulnerable migration and asylum contexts, notably civil abduction, parental responsibility, maintenance, and alternative care. Lecturers will present selected topics of current research and practice from the perspective of the stakeholders involved in international child protection policies and practices. Discussions will follow after each intervention.

Pedagogical methods

Dynamic methods combining lectures, group discussions and workshops allow the interaction between theory and practice.


  • Dr. Roberta Ruggiero, CIDE, CRA, UNIGE
  • Prof. Olga Khazova, UNCRC (former member)
  • Prof. Karl Hanson, CIDE, UNIGE
  • Prof. Gian Paolo Romano, Law Faculty, INPRI, UNIGE,
  • Mr Philippe Lortie, Family Law Division, Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • Mr Michael Wilderspin, DG Just, European Commission
  • Dr. Ilaria Pretelli, Swiss Institute of Comparative Law
  • Prof. Vincent Chetail, International Law Department, Global Migration Centre, IHEID
  • Irina Todorova, Noelle Darbellay, Emily Thuo, Core Protection Unit, International Organization for Migration
  • Dr. Mayela Celis Aguilar, University of Maastricht
  • Prof. Jason Harts, Professor of Humanitarianism & Development at the University of Bath
  • Dr. Nicolas Nord, International Commission on Civil Status (ICCS/CIEC)
  • Joëlle Schickel, Federal Office of Justice, Swiss Central Authority
  • Jean Ayoub, International Social Service General Secretariat

Admission criteria

Persons who wish to participate to one or more modules are required to hold a university degree (or judged equivalent) and are expected to have at least two years of relevant professional experience. They must also have a very good working knowledge of English.

If you wish to register to the full programme please register at least two weeks before the start of the first module. If you wish to register to a single module, please register at least two weeks before the date of the module.


Participants receive a certificate of attendance to the specified programme(s).


Full programme 4 modules registration fee: 900 CHF regular registration

Per module registration fee: 300 CHF - this is possible only after the expiration of the general deadline.


Dr Roberta Ruggiero, Director of the Children’s Rights Academy at the Center for Children’s Rights Studies of the University of Geneva.

Prof. Karl Hanson, Center for Children’s Rights Studies

Prof. Gian Paolo Romano, Private International Law Department


Vito Bumbaca, University of Geneva



Full programme registration deadline: 1 November 2024

Module registration deadline: After 1 November 2024, one month before the date of the module

For those wishing to attend this programme contact us on the following email address:

Period of Studies:
28 November 2024 - 
10 April 2025

Location: Online

Language: English

Administrative information:

CoordinationVito Bumbaca

Pedagogical information