Wednesday 20 November 2019

The Hague global justice institute closes due to lack of funding

Queen Maxima (right) and Sheikha Moza bint Nasser from Qatar arrive at the institute in 2017. Photo: Wiebe Kiestra/HH

The Institute for Global Justice in The Hague, set up in 2010 and partly funded by the Dutch taxpayer, has closed down because of a lack of cash.

The institute was set up to strengthen the role of organisations working in the fields of peace, justice, development and public safety, as part of The Hague’s efforts to profile itself as a centre of peace and justice. The city is also host to the International Criminal Court and Europol.

Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, The Hague city council and the city’s then mayor Jozias van Aartsen were also closely involved in the institution’s early days.

The economic affairs ministry pumped €17.5m into the project in start-up costs on the condition the institute was self-financing within five years.

According to the Volkskrant’s reconstruction, little was done to raise funds since the appointment of American national Abi Williams to the position of dean in 2013. Staff were also critical of William’s ‘luxurious’ lifestyle and high salary of €223,000, the paper said. Williams left in 2016.


Supervisory board member Dick Benschop, said in a statement on the institute’s website: ‘The institute has met its public task – research, reports and conferences – in recent years. The goal, however, was to be more than a research group only. Unfortunately, there is no solid financial foundation to achieve this in the future.’

Williams, who now works at Tufts University in the US, declined to comment, the Volkskrant said.

‘Whether the institute’s failure is due to Williams or a sleeping supervisory board, or a combination of both, there is at least one cause,’ the Volkskrant concludes.

‘The ambitions were not realistic. The IGJ wanted to surpass noted think-tanks such as Chatham House in London and Brookings in Washington in just five years. Van Aartsen and Benschop, with all their international experience and contacts, should have known that this was too ambitious.’ has been free for 13 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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