Istituto Superiore Internazionale di Scienze Criminali

ISISC (acronym for the Italian - Istituto Superiore Internazionale di Scienze Criminali) (“International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences”) is a not-for-profit organisation located in Syracuse, Italy. The organisation specializes in the design and implementation of human rights, rule of law, justice and capacity building projects throughout the world. The organisation pays particular attention to such issues that arise from situations in Arab and Muslim countries.


The Institute was founded in 1972 by various experts, including Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni. It was founded initially by the AIDP and the City and Province of Syracuse in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce. Subsequently the Institute has set up accords with the City of Noto and the Region of Sicily. Professor Bassiouni is currently the President of ISISC.


ISISC is a not-for-profit organisation in consultative status with the United Nations and co-operates regularly with other regional, international, and educational organisations. It is devoted to researching, educating, and advancing the criminal sciences in their widest possible sense.

In this pursuit, ISISC actively engages in many diverse activities. For one, the Institute works to provide training for legal professionals in the Arab and European world. In the same light, the Institute engages in the specialised education of young academics and lawyers from around the world in the areas of International and European Criminal Law.

Involved in both scholarly and policy-oriented research, the Institute produces publications on human rights, international criminal law, international humanitarian law, and post-conflict justice. ISISC has worked in the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The Institute works extensively under the Italian Foreign Ministry in Afghanistan and Iraq.


United Nations and the Council of Europe

The Institute has undertaken a number of international initiatives, which have included committees of experts of the United Nations and the Council of Europe, convened with the purpose of elaborating international instruments, including a number of activities related to the elaboration of the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court, the Rome Statute, and its Rules of Evidence and Procedure.

A number of international instruments have been elaborated at the Institute. Those which the United Nations have adopted include:

  • Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession
  • Guiding Principles on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in the Context of Development
  • Model Treaty on the Transfer of Prisoners
  • Model Treaty on the Transfer of Criminal Proceedings
  • Model Treaty on Extradition
  • Model Treaty on Enforcement of Sentences

The Institute also hosts expert meetings in cooperation with the Council of Europe and under the auspices of its Secretary-General. These activities with the Council of Europe include:

Technical Cooperation and Training Seminars

ISISC has conducted over 40 technical cooperation and training seminars for judges and public officials from developing countries on the topics of organized crime, international cooperation in penal matters, extradition, and the protection of human rights in the adminsitration of justice. These programs are conducted in collaboration with the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the League of Arab States, the Organisation of American States, and other international organisations.

Several thousand judges, prosecutors, government officials, researchers, lawyers, and scholars have attended these programs, including those for Egyptian Prosecutors, Judges, Police and Army Officers co-sponsored by the Italian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice, Prosecutors, and several programs for Albanian and Macedonian Judges, Prosecutors, and Police Officers co-sponsored by the Italian Presidency of Council and Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the Council of Europe and Europol. A similar program for African jurists involving more than 200 judges, prosecutors, academics, and lawyers was held.

Conferences and Seminars

The Institute regularly hosts international conferences of experts on subjects of contemporary interest to the international scholarly community, gathering the world’s leading authorities and experts in criminal sciences.


ISISC is presently engaged in a number of programmes and research projects, which aim to significantly improve the rule of law in human rights and criminal law issues in conflict resolution and post conflict situations.

The Afghanistan Program

The Afghanistan Program which ISISC has been involved in since 2003 is directed towards the judicial sector and the drugs sector in Afghanistan. The Program has seen the involvement of ISISC in the training of over 1700 operators within the Afghan justice system and has been engaged in a similar way with operators in the counter-narcotics system. Further initiatives in this project are set to continue in the future.


ISISC is also involved with a number of projects aimed to improve the education and training available to law students and government operators in Iraq within the fields of criminal law and human rights law. ISISC carries out these programmes in conjunction with IHRLI.

Egypt and the League of Arab States

ISISC has been actively engaged in programmes directed towards Egypt and the League of Arab States since 2005. To strengthen ISISC’s active engagement in projects dealing with the Arab world, ISISC have opened a field office in Cairo and together with the Syracuse offices, ISISC organise conferences and seminars for students, academics and practitioners in the legal field with the goal of fostering international co-operation in matters of criminal and humanitarian law.


In 2006, ISISC provided technical support to a program co-ordinated by the Italian Ministry of Justice, the Public Prosecution of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the European Agency for Reconstruction. This project will continue until 2008 and will serve to further develop and enhance the capacity of the Public Prosecution office in helping with the establishment of a legal framework in line with EU standards, fostering the implementation of the rule of law, improving court procedures, tackling corruption and strengthening the independence, effectiveness and efficiency of the judiciary.

International Monetary Fund

ISISC and the International Monetary Fund have co-ordinated an annual workshop in Syracuse on money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. The workshop focuses on the exchange of experience, information and ideas between the numerous government officials from Central Asia and Eastern Europe that attend.

Post Conflict Justice

ISISC is currently engaged in a research project on the theme of post conflict justice, titled ‘Fighting Impunity and Promoting International Justice’. The aim of the project is to create model guidelines for the implementation of post-conflict justice mechanisms which most appropriately and adequately address the issues arising out of each post-conflict situation. The project comprises a number of regional and themed studies, carried out by a Steering Committee of Experts, the results of which will be disseminated in 6 regional conferences. This project is carried out in co-operation with the International Human Rights Law Institute, the Association Internationale de Droit Penal and the Irish Centre for Human Rights.

Post-Graduate Fellows

ISISC offers one or two Post-Graduate Resident Fellowships per year. While in residence at the Institute, the fellows involve themselves in activities of the Institute, participate in the various conferences and seminars which are held, and pursue an individual course of reaserch. Some of the Fellows have joined academia and are now professors, and others have pursued professional careers.


The Institute has published over 130 books related to the proceedings and studies that ISISC is and has been involved in over the years. Many of the publications are the result of meetings or conferences that have been hosted at ISISC and feature contributions from some of the worlds leading experts in criminal law and human rights issues.

A full list of all ISISC publications is available online.



  • Assia Buonocore - Office Manager
  • Sebastiano Ferla - Accountant
  • Ali Hekmat - Clerk
  • Stefania Lentinello - Administrative Assistant
  • Filippo Michael Musca - Fellow
  • Giovanni Pasqua- Scientific and Administrative Director
  • Stefano Russo - Assistant Accountant
  • Margaret Zimmerman - Program Coordinator


  • Reham Ali - Administrative Assistant
  • Abdul Basset - National Programme Officer
  • Nehad el Gamal - Deputy Resident Representative

TWINNING PROGRAM IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA |Ferdinando Buatier de Mongeot - Resident Twinning Advisor


See also

External links

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