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Announcements: Course in Munich; 3rd Annual Cambridge J. Int & Comp. Law Conference; Symposium at Durham

Published on March 15, 2014        Author: 

1) The Munich Advanced Course in International Law (MACIL) is a summer school held at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich and dedicated to questions of Public International Law. Its next session, entitled A No Man’s Land in International Law? Towards a New Public International Law for the Cybersphere”, will take place from 4 to 15 August 2014. Classes will aim at discussing the challenges posed by the cybersphere to several aspects of ‘classical’ Public International Law doctrine. This will include, amongst others, questions of cyber warfare, cyber regulation, the applicability of the rules on state responsibility and jurisdiction as well as the adaptation of norms of international economic law to conducts in virtual surroundings. The 2014 faculty will include Oren Gross (Minnesota), Jutta Brunnée (Toronto), Thomas Cottier (Bern), Terry Gill (Amsterdam) and others. For further information please visit the MACIL homepage.”

2) Registration for the Third Annual Conference of the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law is now open. The CJICL Conference  will be held on 10–11 May 2014 at the St John’s College Divinity School, University of Cambridge under the theme: “Stepping Away from the State: Universality and Cosmopolitanism in International and Comparative Law”. This Conference will explore approaches that question the traditional state-centric view of international and comparative law.  The idea of universality suggests that international law applies equally and indiscriminately across domestic legal systems, and within sub-systems of international law itself. Cosmopolitanism conceives of the world as a single entity, with resonances between people irrespective of their location, nationality and culture, and asks how legal actors can access legal regimes beyond their state’s domestic framework.

Some of the conference highlights will include: Keynote address by Judge Kenneth Keith of the International Court of Justice; Keynote debate between Judge Angelika Nussberger (European Court of Human Rights) and Lord Kerr (Supreme Court of the United Kingdom); Launch of Dr Kate Miles’ recently published book, The Origins of International Investment Law: Empire, Environment and the Safeguarding of Capital (Cambridge University Press, 2013); Forty presentations over more than ten panels.
3) The relationship between law and negotiation is increasingly at the forefront of the international agenda. International organisations whose role includes the mediation of peace, such as the MediationSupport Unit of the United Nations, and the European Union, are seeking to understand the relationship between mediation, law and justice in conflict and post conflict societies. While such organisations cknowledge that international law places normative constraints on the practice of peace making, they also recognise that key principles ofmediation, such as consent, inclusivity and local ownership, are crucial to the success of negotiated peace processes. These questions have risen to the top of international policy agendas, but there is to date a lack of academic scrutiny of how the relationship between law and negotiation itself it to be negotiated. Research to date has focused on discrete aspects of the relationship between law and negotiation, such as the role of human rights in peace agreements, or in setting transitional justice priorities. It has not addressed the overarching question of the relationship between law and negotiation that underpins these divisive issues.
On Thursday 20th and Friday 21st March a symposium hosted  by Law and Global Justice at Durham will address the ways in which law and negotiation can play a mutually supportive role in the conflict and post conflict environments, speakers and invited guests at the symposium will discuss three key themes; those of violence, of culture and gender. Speakers include Ms Rashida Manjoo, (UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women) Mr Francesc Vendrell, (Former EU High Representative to Afghanistan); Dr Sari Kouvo (University of Gothenburg & Afghanistan Analysts); Dr Christopher Lamont (University of Groningen); Dr Aisling Swaine (George Washington University); Mr Martin Waehlisch (European University Viadrina); Dr Richard Collins (University of Sheffield); Dr Jeroen Gunning (Durham Global Security Institute). For further information or to register to attend please email CatherineTurner (Catherine.turner {at} durham.ac(.)uk)
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Announcements: Society of Legal Scholars’ Annual Conference, Nottingham; ESIL Lecture, Geneva

Published on March 9, 2014        Author: 

1. Planning is now in hand for the 2014 conference of the Society of Legal Scholars.  The SLS is the learned society for those who teach law in a university or similar institution or who are otherwise engaged in legal scholarship in Britain and Ireland.   This year’s conference will be held at the University of Nottingham on 9-12 September 2014. The conference theme is ‘Judging in the 21st Century’.

The International Law section will be meeting in the first half of the conference, on Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 September 2014, and proposals for papers to be presented at the four sessions that have been allocated to the group are now invited.  Discussions of any aspects of public international law are welcome and proposals need not relate to the conference theme.  The deadline for the submission of proposals is 11 April 2014, and proposals should include a provisional title, a short abstract (a paragraph detailing what the paper is about) and an indication of the author’s willingness to participate in the conference.  If you do wish to offer a paper, please contact Prof. Matthew Happold, co-convenor of the International Law section.

2. The European Society of International Law (ESIL), together with the American Society of International Law (ASIL) and the MIDS – Geneva LL.M. in International Dispute Settlement will co-organize a lecture entitled From the ICJ to the US Supreme Court : The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, International Law, and the US Constitution. This lecture will be delivered by Mr. Donald Donovan, Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP, and President of the American Society of International Law, on Tuesday, 25 March 2014, 18h15 at the Auditorium Ivan Pictet, Maison de la Paix, Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2, in 1202 Geneva. The lecture will be followed by a cocktail reception. Please register by sending an email to : info {at} mids(.)ch

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Harold Koh’s Legal Opinions on the US Position on the Extraterritorial Application of Human Rights Treaties

Published on March 7, 2014        Author: 

Cross-posted on Just Security.

Earlier today Charlie Savage of The New York Times broke the story that while serving as the Legal Adviser at the US State Department Harold Koh wrote two major opinions on the extraterritorial application of human rights treaties, urging the Obama Administration to abandon the previous categorical position that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights can never apply outside a state party’s territory. The first opinion is on the geographical scope of application of the ICCPR, is dated 19 October 2010, and is available here. The second, on the geographic scope of application of the Convention against Torture and its application in situations of armed conflict, is dated 21 January 2013, and is available here. The two opinions, probably obtained by Savage in yet another leak from within the Administration, are a fascinating read. Koh essentially adopts almost all of the critiques levied against the existing US position, which he sees as increasingly untenable, and provides his own (relatively moderate) model of how the two treaties should apply outside a state’s own territory.

Savage also reports that despite Koh’s opinions the Administration has decided not to abandon the previous US position, simply because it fears (or at least a sufficient number of its component parts do) that accepting that human rights treaties apply extraterritorially would make its collective life more difficult, as everything from extraterritorial drone strikes to NSA surveillance could fall within the purview of the ICCPR. We shall soon see if Savage’s reporting is correct – the US is up for periodic review before the Human Rights Committee next week, and this is bound to be one of the first questions asked. As I’ve explained before, the US Fourth Periodic Report and a follow-up communication to the Committee merely registered the US position and the criticism thereof, without reiterating it, thus leaving the door open for change. If Savage’s reporting does prove to be correct and the US now clearly reiterates before the Committee that the ICCPR cannot apply extraterritorially because its Article 2(1) is supposedly crystal clear and unambiguous when it says that ‘[e]ach State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant,’ an important opportunity will have been missed.

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ICJ Opens Hearings in Croatia v. Serbia

Published on March 3, 2014        Author: 
http://pescanik.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/01.03.14-Danas.jpg

Cartoon by Corax, in the Danas newspaper.

Today the International Court of Justice opens a month of hearings in the pending case between Croatia and Serbia for state responsibility for genocide allegedly committed during the 1990s conflict. In the afternoon the Court will also be delivering its provisional measures order in Timor Leste v. Australia. The latter will at least to my mind be vastly more interesting than the former. Why? Because the outcome of the Croatia/Serbia case is a foregone conclusion, bearing in mind that the Court’s jurisdiction is limited solely to breaches of the Genocide Convention, and that it cannot rule on either party’s responsibility for any other wrongful acts, be it war crimes, crimes against humanity, or aggression.

In its 2007 Bosnian Genocide judgment the Court, relying on the findings of the ICTY, found that the ‘only’ instance of genocide in the otherwise far more brutal Bosnian conflict was Srebrenica, for which Serbia was not responsible, and did so by 13 votes to 2. It seems extremely unlikely that the Court will adopt a different methodological approach in the Croatian case, especially because nobody was even charged, let alone convicted, for genocide in Croatia by the ICTY. The (many) acts of ethnic cleansing committed by both sides in the Croatian conflict simply lack the requisite specific intent to physically or biologically destroy a protected group, and thus cannot reasonably be qualified as genocide. And without genocide, the Court is without jurisdiction.

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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} qmul.ac(.)uk) 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: http://ocs.som.surrey.ac.uk/index.php/SILC/SILC2014.

 
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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‐frankfurt.de.

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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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