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Announcements: Amsterdam Workshop; Symposium in Oslo; “Boat Refugees” & Migrants at Sea; Procedural Fairness in International Courts

Published on March 1, 2014        Author: 

1. The research project “Architecture of Postnational Rulemaking” at the University of Amsterdam has issued a call for papers for a workshop on “Transnational Standards in the Domestic Legal Order: Authority and Legitimacy”, to be held on 24 October 2014. The deadline for the submission of proposal of max. 500 words is 18 May 2014. The sponsoring organizations will cover the speakers’ travelling and accommodation expenses. More information is available here (pdf).

2. Call for Papers: The Legitimate Role(s) of Human Rights Courts in Environmental Disputes: The Center of Excellence PluriCourts at the University of Oslo, Faculty of Law, is organizing an international symposium on the legitimate role(s) of Human Rights courts and tribunal in adjudicating environmental disputes in Oslo, 8 and 9 September 2014. The list of experts invited to speak at the symposium includes: Dinah Shelton, Professor of Law, George Washington University; Dan Magraw, President emeritus, Center for International Environmental Law, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; Alan Boyle, Professor of Law, University of Edinburgh; Judge Margarette May Macaulay, Inter-American Court of Human Rights; and Judge Hellen Keller, European Court of Human Rights.

PluriCourts invite for papers to be presented and discussed at the symposium. Deadline  for the submission of abstracts (500 words) is 1 May 2014. Read the Call for papers here. For further enquiries about the symposium, please contact Annette.hovdal {at} jus.uio(.)no.

3. Call for Papers: “Boat Refugees” and Migrants at Sea: A Comprehensive Approach – Integrating Maritime Security with Human Rights: Venue: Refugee Law Initiative, School of Advanced Study, London Dates: 23 and 24 June 2014 Organizers:Refugee Law Initiative and the Law Department of Queen Mary (with support from HRC and UACES). This 2-day conference aims to comprehensively address the contemporary phenomenon of ‘boat migration’ with a holistic approach. We will consider its multiple facets, combining knowledge from several disciplines and regions of the world, with a view to making a decisive contribution to our understanding of current trends, against the background of the fragmentary responses adopted and innumerable tragedies occurred thus far. Abstracts, not exceeding 300 words, should be sent by 20 March to both: Dr Violeta Moreno-Lax (v.moreno-lax {at} and Dr Efthymios Papastavridis (papastavridis {at} Academyofathens(.)org). See here for more details.

4. Call for Papers: Procedural Fairness in International Courts and Tribunals The Surrey International Law Centre of the School of Law of the University of Surrey with the support of the Institute of Advanced Studies, the McCoubrey Centre of the University of Hull and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (‘BIICL’) will host a two-day workshop on the identification of core standards of procedural fairness before international courts and tribunals. A topical and timely subject for study, the question of procedural fairness entails the identification of fundamental principles inherent to the judicial and arbitral processes. The aim of this workshop is to bring academics and practitioners together to initiate ground-breaking research into this novel topic. This call is directed to academics at all career stages who wish to bring fresh perspectives to the workshop with established scholars and practitioners. Interested parties should submit an abstract of maximum 500 words by the 1st of April 2014 to the workshop website, where the full call for papers may also be accessed:

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Announcements: Conference on Syria; AHRI in Copenhagen; Frankfurt Investment Law Workshop

Published on February 22, 2014        Author: 

1. The program of the international conference on the Syrian crisis in international law to be held in Qatar 25-26 February is now available here.

2. The Association of Human Rights Institutes will be holding a conference in Copenhagen on 29-30 September 2014. The call for papers is available here.

3. Frankfurt Investment Law Workshop on “International Investment Law and the Global Financial Architecture”

For several years, the Frankfurt Investment Law Workshop has been a forum to discuss conceptual issues of international investment law. This year’s workshop – organised by Rainer Hofmann (Frankfurt), Stephan Schill (Max Planck Institute, Heidelberg) and Christian J Tams (Glasgow) – will take place on 14-15 March 2014, and it will explore “International Investment Law and the Global Financial Architecture”. Papers will address interrelations and interactions between international investment law on the one hand, and financial market and banking regulation, free flow of capital, sovereign debt, and monetary policy on the other. The full program is here. The event is open to the public, but requires prior registration. Anyone interested in participating should email S.Schimpf [at] jur.uni‐

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Announcements: Conference at Tilburg; ESIL Human Rights Interest Group Call for Papers; Summer Academy on Continental Shelf; Venice Academy of Human Rights

Published on February 8, 2014        Author: 

1. Call for Papers: What Form of Government for the European Union and the Eurozone?

Venue: Tilburg Law School, Tilburg, the Netherlands; Dates: 5/6 June 2014; Organizers: Federico Fabbrini, Han Somsen on behalf of Tilburg Law School.

The debate about the institutional reforms of the European Union (EU) generally, and of the Euro-zone specifically, has recently acquired a new impetus. The Euro-crisis and the constitutional responses to it have profoundly modified de facto and de jure the institutional architecture of the EU designed by the Lisbon Treaty, and a number of influential road-maps have been advanced at the highest level of policy-making to trace the way forward for the EU. The purpose of this Conference is to examine from a comparative constitutional perspective the form of government of the EU and to discuss the prospects of integration and institutional reform in the Eurozone and the EU at large. Further details here.

2. ESIL Interest Group on International Human Rights Law has issued a call for papers for the ESIL Vienna conference – details here.

3. The Summer Academy on the Continental Shelf (SACS) will be held from 21 to 28 June 2014 under the auspices of the University of the Faroe Islands. In 2014, SACS will place particular focus on the intricate legal and technical conditions governing the entitlement to and establishment of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, and on the delimitation of overlapping entitlements to such areas. SACS is limited to 25 attendees with particular interest for scientific and legal aspects relating to the outer continental shelf. It welcomes participants from a broad geographical representation with various professional and academic backgrounds. It will be tutored by leading international experts, including members of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, professors of international law and international practitioners in judicial delimitation matters. Proceedings from the Seminar will be published with contributions from the tutors and the best student. For more information on SACS, please visit its website.

4. The Venice Academy of Human Rights will take place from 7-16 July 2014 on the topic “Judicial Legitimacy and the Rule of Law”. The faculty includes Paul Mahoney (distinguished opening lecture), Gráinne de Búrca (general course), Philip Alston, Andreas Føllesdal, Geir Ulfstein, Jeremy Waldron and Michael Zürn.  The Venice Academy of Human Rights 2014, in co-operation with PluriCourts – Centre of Excellence for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order, will discuss questions of judicial legitimacy and challenges to the rule of law from a multi-disciplinary perspective. The course aims at academics, practitioners, PhD/JSD and master students. Applications are accepted until 4 May 2014 with an early-bird discount until 15 March 2014.

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CRC Concluding Observations on the Holy See

Published on February 5, 2014        Author: 

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child released today its concluding observations on the second periodic report of the Holy See. The report is making waves in the media because of the Committee’s very strong condemnation of the inadequacy of the Catholic Church’s response to the sexual abuse of children by its clergy all over the world. The full report is available here, and has many points of interest. The first, and indeed the most crucial from the standpoint of public international law, is how the Committee defines the scope of the Holy See’s obligations under the Convention, in para. 8:

The Committee is aware of the dual nature of the Holy See’s ratification of the Convention as the Government of the Vatican City State, and also as a sovereign subject of international law having an original, non-derived legal personality independent of any territorial authority or jurisdiction. While being fully conscious that bishops and major superiors of religious institutes do not act as representatives or delegates of the Roman Pontiff, the Committee nevertheless notes that subordinates in Catholic religious orders are bound by obedience to the Pope in accordance with Canons 331 and 590. The Committee therefore reminds the Holy See that by ratifying the Convention, it has committed itself to implementing the Convention not only on the territory of the Vatican City State but also as the supreme power of the Catholic Church through individuals and institutions placed under its authority.

This paragraph is the necessary starting point for practically all of the analysis that follows, and indeed the representatives of the Holy See have already put it into question (see the second para.). The Committee is essentially saying that the Holy See doesn’t merely have obligations under the Conventions towards children within the Vatican City limits – if there even are any – but also towards the millions of children whose lives are affected by individuals or institutions under Church authority, be it local priests or Church-run schools. This is, in other words, a massive claim on the Convention’s extraterritorial application, and if I’m not mistaken this is the first time it has been made so explicitly by a treaty body with respect to the Holy See. Note in this regard that the Committee does not employ the language of the jurisdiction clause in Article 2(1) CRC, nor makes it clear under what theory exactly the Convention applies extraterritorially on such a scale.

The bottom line of the Committee’s approach is that if, for instance, there are reports of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy in Ireland, both Ireland and the Holy See have a positive obligation to protect and ensure the human rights of these children (see paras. 37-38, 43-44). In that sense the Committee’s report complements rather well the European Court’s judgment of last week in O’Keeffe v. Ireland (application no. 35810/09), in which the Court found that Ireland failed to protect a schoolgirl from sexual abuse by a lay teaching in a Catholic school. On the whole, the Committee’s findings with respect to the sexual abuse of children are quite damning – see, e.g., para. 29: ‘The Committee is particularly concerned that in dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse, the Holy See has consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the Church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests, as observed by several national commissions of inquiry.’

Outside the question of sexual abuse, the report’s many findings and recommendations frequently demonstrate a clash of worldviews between the obviously very progressive, human-rightsy Committee and some of the socially conservative beliefs of the Catholic Church. The Committee thus recommends the Holy See to review its position on abortion, contraception, sexual orientation, family diversity, etc. (Good luck with that.) In that regard, the bit I found positively entertaining (and oh-so-very-Jesuit) is the Committee’s recommendation to the Holy See to (paras. 22 & 24):

strengthen its efforts to make all the provisions of the Convention widely known, particularly to children and their families, through, inter alia, developing and implementing specific long-term awareness-raising programmes, and including the provisions of the Convention into school curricula at all levels of the Catholic education system using appropriate material created specifically for children. … The Committee urges the Holy See to provide systematic training on the provisions of the Convention to all members of the clergy as well as Catholic orders and institutions working with and/or for children, and to include mandatory modules on children’s rights in the teachers’ training programmes as well as in seminaries.


Maximilian Schell RIP

Published on February 1, 2014        Author: 


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Announcements: Chair in PIL at UCL, Workshop at IALS, ILA/ASIL Joint Meeting

Published on February 1, 2014        Author: 

1. The Faculty of Laws at University College London has advertised a chair in public international law. The current appointment is being made to replace Professor Catherine Redgwell, who has taken up the Chichele Chair at Oxford. Closing date is 20 February. Details here.

2. The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of London is organising a workshop on National Security and Public Health as exceptions to Human Rights’ on 29th May 2014 and is now calling for papers. The Institute is honoured to announce that the keynote speaker will be Professor Malcolm Dando who will speak on “Threats of dual use biomedical research – when nation security and public health collide”.  Please note the deadline for submissions is 14th February 2014. All the information and the call for papers can be found here.

3. Register by February 7, 2014 to snap up the advantageous “Early-Bird Rate”– saving $165 over the walk-up rate– for the historic joint meeting between the 150-year-old global International Law Association and the American Society of International Law, running April 7-12, 2014.  The festivities will take place at the International Trade Center, next to  the Washington Mall, during the height of Washington’s lovely Cherry Blossom Season.   Family members will enjoy the trip too, since the Trade Center is  close to all the best tourist stops in the nation’s capital, including the National Gallery, the Air and Space Museum, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Spy Museum, the Kennedy Center and the list goes on.  Incredible program of public and private international law debates is described at the ILA website or the ASIL website .  Adjacent J.W. Marriott Hotel at 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue has conference room rates that are well below market for Cherry Blossom Time.  Notables including judges of the International Court of Justice, the International War Crimes Tribunals, and Supreme Courts around the world will be at the ILA-ASIL Joint Meeting to engage in our robust debates.

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Announcements: David Held at Sciences Po; iCourts Conference & Summer School; Cagliari Conference Accountability of International Organizations; ASIL Event on Careers in International Organizations

Published on January 25, 2014        Author: 

1) Prof. Olivier de Frouville, University Panthéon-Assas, member of the French University Institute organizes a conference and a master class with David HELDProfessor of Politics and International Relations at Durham University, Master of University College Durham. The event will take place on 21 March 2014, from 9 h 30 to 17 h 30, in the CERI-Sciences Po Paris Conference Room, 56, rue Jacob, Paris 6ème. Applications for the master class can be sent until 14 February 2014 at {at} u-paris2(.)fr . The applications will include: (1)  a curriculum vitae, clearly indicating the topic of the research and the works already published (if any) or in the course of being published. (2)  A one page letter of motivation. The list of successful applicants will be communicated at the latest on the 28th of February 2014. Further information available here.

2) The Center of Excellence for International Courts, (iCourts) Faculty of Law, Unviversity of Copenhagen is pleased to announce its conference on International Courts and Domestic Politics. The conference will be held a Copenhagen University on September 11th-12th. For this conference, we invite both political science, sociology and law papers. Please submit your paper proposal to: Zuzanna.Godzimirska {at} jur.ku(.)dk or Kristoffer.shaldemose {at} gmail(.)com by first of March 2014 at the latest.

The Centre of Excellence for International Courts (iCourts) and PluriCourts – Centre for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order is also hosting a high-level summer school for PhD students and junior scholars working on international law and with a special interest in interdisciplinary studies of international law and its social and political context. For more information, see here

3) Conference on “Conceptualizing Accountability in International Economic Law” – The University of Cagliari, Department of Law welcomes submissions that describe cutting-edge research in the following focus areas: Accountability and Law of International Banks; Accountability and WTO Law; Accountability and International Environmental and Energy Law; Accountability and Investment Law; Accountability and Law-makers. Interested participants should provide an abstract of up to 500 words by the 31th of March, 2014 to federico.esu {at} gmail(.)com. Outstanding papers will be selected for publication. More information is available here .

4) ASIL New Professionals Interest Group event on Careers in International Organizations: Wednesday, January 29, 5:30pm-7:30pm; Washington, DC and *livestreamed*

“Working at an international organization offers unique insight into how international law is made through the convergence of national interests, personal dynamics, global realities, and constantly evolving norms.  But how does a lawyer enter these labyrinths?  What is it like to work in them?  How do you get the assignments that advance your career once inside?  And where do you go from there?   Panelists at this event sponsored by ASIL’s New Professionals Interest Group will share the perspectives they have gained from the United Nations, the World Bank, the Organization of American States, and other international organizations, answering these questions and ones posed by the audience. Panelists include: Simone Schwartz-Delgado (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees); Grace Menck (Inter-American Development Bank); Heidi Jimenez (Pan-American Health Organization); Steve Koh, ASIL (former attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and International Criminal Court) Please register/get more info here 

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The Self-Fragmentation of the ICTY Appeals Chamber

Published on January 23, 2014        Author: 

Today the ICTY Appeals Chamber (thankfully) affirmed the convictions of high-ranking Serbian leaders for crimes in Kosovo in Sainovic et al, even though it somewhat reduced the sentences. The judg(e)ment is gigantic, especially for an appeals decision, at 800 pages+, and obviously I haven’t read it. But buried in all that is one very important development in the whole ‘specific direction’ saga – by 4 votes to 1, the Chamber decided that the Appeals Chamber in Perisic was wrong in holding that specific direction was an essential element of the actus reus of aiding and abetting liability. The Chamber discussed the issue extensively at more than 20 pages, starting at p. 643, and here are the choice concluding paragraphs:

1649. Based on the foregoing, the Appeals Chamber, Judge Tuzmukhamedov dissenting, comes to the compelling conclusion that “specific direction” is not an element of aiding and abetting liability under customary international law. Rather, as correctly stated in the Furundzija Trial Judgement and confirmed by the Blaskic Appeal Judgement, under customary international law, the actus reus of aiding and abetting “consists of practical assistance, encouragement, or moral support which has a substantial effect on the perpetration of the crime.” The required mens rea is “the knowledge that these acts assist the commission of the offense”. The Appeals Chamber reaffirms the position taken by the Blaskic Appeal Judgement in this regard.

1650. Accordingly, the Appeals Chamber confirms that the Mrksic and Sljivancanin and Lukic and Lukic Appeal Judgements stated the prevailing law in holding that “‘specific direction’ is not an essential ingredient of the actus reus of aiding and abetting”, accurately reflecting customary international law and the legal standard that has been constantly and consistently applied in determining aiding and abetting liability. Consequently, the Appeals Chamber, Judge Tuzmukhamedov dissenting, unequivocally rejects the approach adopted in the Perisic Appeal Judgement as it is in direct and material conflict with the prevailing jurisprudence on the actus reus of aiding and abetting liability and with customary international law in this regard.

In so holding, the Chamber did not rely just on the ICTY’s prior case law, but also on the recent Taylor judgment of the SCSL, which had also rejected specific direction. Note also how the Chamber did not mince words – it came to a ‘compelling conclusion’ to ‘unequivocally reject’ Perisic as wrongly decided. In his dissent, Judge Tuzmukhamedov is of the view that it is unnecessary on the facts of the case to get into the specific direction issue, and that Chamber should not have done so, especially in order to avoid a conflict with a prior decision of the Appeals Chamber. He however takes no position on the specific direction issue itself.

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Announcements: E.MA, Jobs at HRLC, SLS Nottingham

Published on January 18, 2014        Author: 

1. The European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) is accepting applications for the 18th edition of the European Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation (E.MA). E.MA provides students with the opportunity to share knowledge and skills with leading scholars from 41 prestigious European Universities and renowned Human Rights experts, in the classroom and during a week-long field trip. Applications for the academic year 2014/2015 are processed on an on-going basis. The next deadline is 15 March 2014. Apply now.

2. The Human Rights Law Centre, University of Nottingham is looking for a:

Research Assistant

The successful candidate will join a small team of academics, consultants and support staff and assist in the planning and implementation of human rights projects, which include training courses, workshops, conferences and research projects (both in the UK and overseas), as well as the publication of several human rights journals and books. Full details:

Research Associate/Fellow

The successful candidate will join a small team involved in an international research and capacity building project that will develop national participation in the Rome System of Justice, by empowering national criminal justice actors and supporting them to overcome legal constraints in realising their obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Full details:

3. The Society of Legal Scholars is pleased to announce its second PhD Student Conference, to run alongside the Society’s Annual Conference (9th-12th September 2014). The PhD Conference will be held at the University of Nottingham on 8th-9th September 2014. Complementing the Society’s Annual Conference, the theme for this year’s PhD Conference is ‘Judging in the 21st Century’. We are inviting PhD students, from all disciplines of law (and justice) to submit papers that reflect a fresh engagement with the enterprise of judging. Details and call for papers here.

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Reminder: ESIL Vienna Conference Call for Papers

Published on January 10, 2014        Author: 

Just a reminder to our readers that 15 January is the deadline for the submission of abstracts for the call for papers for the 10th anniversary conference of the European Society of International Law to be held in Vienna, 4-6 September 2014. Details regarding the call and the procedure can be found here.

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