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The Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL) was established in 1998. Since 2008 it is the Center of Excellence for Public International Law of the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam. It is recognized by the Faculty and the University as a Research Priority Area.

The ACIL is an internationally leading center for cutting-edge research on questions of international law, including international criminal law.

Research at ACIL aims at a critical understanding of international law and its progressive development. International law significantly impacts on the everyday life of many people—whether they hope for protection through the laws of war, seek refuge from persecution, or buy products in Amsterdam whose production chain spans across the globe. International law aspires to contribute to a better world and, at the same time, is also part of present structures of injustice. ACIL’s research thus aims at the progressive development of international law and at its effective rule. In order to do that, it typically starts by critically reflecting on the roles that the law plays in its context, in the pursuit of justice and the perpetuation of injustice. 

ACIL plans, facilitates and coordinates internationally acclaimed and acknowledged research. It contributes to international academic debates in general international law and its specific fields, and thereby advances scientific knowledge. It also contributes to societal debates in these areas and aspires to play its part in tackling societal challenges. It exchanges with key stakeholders in practice within and outside the Netherlands, identifies research questions of particular societal relevance, and feeds its research outcomes into policy debates.

ACIL brings together around 50 researchers (around 25 fte research time), including PhD researchers. In addition, around 20 external PhD researchers are hosted at the ACIL.