Home Articles posted by Marko Milanovic (Page 4)

Human Rights Committee’s Concluding Observations on the United States

Published on March 27, 2014        Author: 

Our friends at Just Security have just published an advance unedited version of the Human Rights Committee’s concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of the United States, as adopted yesterday by the Committee. The observations address many issues, but some of the highlights involve the extraterritorial application of the ICCPR, the use of drones, and NSA surveillance. For example, in para. 4:

The Committee regrets that the State party continues to maintain its position that the Covenant does not apply with respect to individuals under its jurisdiction but outside its territory, despite the contrary interpretation of article 2(1) supported by the Committee’s established jurisprudence, the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice and state practice. [the Committee thus recommends to the US to:]  Interpret the Covenant in good faith, in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to its terms in their context, including subsequent practice, and in the light of its object and purpose and review its legal position so as to acknowledge the extraterritorial application of the Covenant under certain circumstances, as outlined inter alia in the Committee’s general comment No. 31 (2004) on the nature of the general legal obligation imposed on States parties to the Covenant;

With regard to the CIA ‘enhanced interrogation’ program under the previous US administration, the Committee was especially concerned about the impunity of the perpetrators of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and recommended the investigation and prosecution especially of ‘persons in command positions,’  and that the ‘responsibility of those who provided legal pretexts for manifestly illegal behavior should also be established.’ (para. 5)

Read the rest of this entry…


Announcements: Summer Schools at Nottingham, EUI and Parnu; Investment Law and Trade in Services Workshop, Lausanne; Essay Prize SIEL

Published on March 22, 2014        Author: 

1. The University of Nottingham Human Rights Law Centre Summer School on the Rights of the Child will run from 23 to 27 June 2014. The objective of this exciting programme is to consider issues concerning the rights of the child that are a matter of current legal, political and societal attention, both internationally and comparatively. These include violence against children, child participation, child poverty, and child rights monitoring and advocacy. There will be sessions devoted to international and regional child rights law, including the work of the international courts and treaty monitoring bodies mandated to consider violations of the rights of the child. The Summer School faculty are all highly experienced international experts on child rights, with backgrounds in advocacy, research and practice. The programme is available here. For further information please visit   or contact Miss Kobie Neita – +44 (0)115 84 66309 – hrlcsummerschool {at}

2. The 3rd Martens Summer School on International Law, organised by the University of Tartu Centre for EU-Russia Studies or CEURUS in the Estonian coastal resort town Pärnu, will deal with the comparative aspects of international law and human rights, particularly focusing on the issues related to Russia and Eastern Europe. One of the underlying ideas is to bring together Western, Russian and naturally also Estonian international law scholars, practitioners and students. Each year we invite 4 distinguished lecturers from different countries and each lecturer will present 5 lectures over 5 days of the week. More information here.

3. Call for Papers – International Investment Law and Trade in Services, 18-19 September 2014, University of Lausanne (Switzerland)  – This workshop [organized by Andreas R. Ziegler (University of Lausanne), Eric de Brabandere (Grotius Centre, Leiden University) and Tarcisio Gazzini (VU Amsterdam)] will explore the specific problems related to foreign direct investment in the services sector. Proposals for papers are particularly welcome in the following thematic areas: Investment law and public services;  Interaction between investment and services chapters in RTAs; Investment law and competition issues in services; Investment law and network industries; Problems of investment liberalization and protection in specific services sectors like telecommunications, financial services, utilities distribution, infrastructure projects, and security or professional services. Proposals should be submitted to Ms. Jorun Baumgartner (jorunkatharina.baumgartner {at} unil(.)ch) before 30 April 2014. The selected participants will be notified by 31 May 2014.

4. The Academy of European Law at the European University Institute (EUI) holds two summer courses each year, on Human Rights Law and the Law of the European Union.  The Academy’s Summer Courses are renowned for their innovative and cutting-edge topics, combined with the highest standards of academic content presented by leading scholars and thinkers. Each year the courses attract highly qualified participants from all around the world and the mix of participants from different backgrounds makes the experience of attending the summer courses a very rewarding one. The 2014 Human Rights Law course (16 June – 27 June) comprises a General Course on ‘21st Century Human Rights’ by Harold Hongju Koh (Sterling Professor of International Law, Yale Law School) and a series of specialized courses on the topic of ‘Freedom of Religion, Secularism and Human Rights’. We are also pleased to have two distinguished lectures by Bruno Simma (Judge at the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal; former Judge at the International Court of Justice) and Joseph H.H. Weiler (President of the European University Institute). The 2014 Law of the European Union course  (30 June – 11 July) comprises a General Course on ‘The Internal Market as a Legal Concept’ by Stephen Weatherill (Jacques Delors Professor of European Law, Oxford University) and a series of specialized courses on the topic of ‘EU Legal Acts: Challenges and Transformations’. The Summer School will also include a distinguished lecture by Marta Cartabia, an EUI alumna now Judge at the Italian Constitutional Court and Professor of Constitutional Law, Bicocca University in Milan.  The deadline for applications  is Thursday 10 April 2014. For further information, visit the Academy’s website at

5. The Society of International Economic Law welcomes submissions to its 2014 Essay Prize Competition. Submissions may be on any area of international economic law, except for international commercial arbitration and EU law, and the deadline is 30 September 2014. The Prize consists of £200, plus £300 worth of books from Cambridge University Press and a 3 year print subscription to the World Trade Review, and an invitation to present at the next SIEL Biennial Conference. The winning essay will be considered for publication by the World Trade Review. The Essay Prize Competition is open to students, practitioners and academics whose last degree was after before 30 September 2009. Further details are available here.

Filed under: Announcements and Events
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Comments Off

Crimea, Kosovo, Hobgoblins and Hypocrisy

Published on March 20, 2014        Author: 

One of the more remarkable aspects of the whole unfortunate Ukraine episode is the rampant hypocrisy on part of all of the major players involved in the dispute. Those same Western states that unlawfully invaded Iraq, and supported Kosovo’s secession from Serbia while endlessly repeating that Kosovo was somehow a really super-special sui generis case, are now pontificating about the sanctity of the UN Charter and territorial integrity.  On the other hand, that same Russia that fought two bloody wars in the 1990s to keep Chechnya within its fold, that same Russia that to this day refuses to accept the independence of Kosovo, has now rediscovered a principle of self-determination that apparently allows for the casual dismemberment of existing states.

I am not saying that no distinctions can be drawn between the various situations I just mentioned. In particular, I agree with many of the arguments in the recent posts by Christian Marxsen and Jure Vidmar about the differences between Crimea and Kosovo, the critical one being that Crimea’s secession is the direct result of Russia’s unlawful military intervention against Ukraine, whereas Kosovo’s secession was not tainted to the same extent by NATO’s 1999 intervention due to the subsequent adoption of Resolution 1244, which authorized the presence of international forces in Kosovo while disabling Serbia from taking military action to suppress Kosovo’s secession. I would also note that it is more difficult to levy charges of hypocrisy against international lawyers, rather than states or politicians – and I hope that speaks well of our profession. Most international lawyers after all considered the 1999 intervention against Serbia or the 2003 invasion of Iraq to have been unlawful, and most justifiably feel the same way with regard to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

But even if Kosovo and Crimea are legally distinguishable, they are still close enough. The West’s position on Crimea is undeniably undermined by their previous stance regarding Kosovo, and they can only blame themselves for that. Just consider President Putin’s speech justifying the annexation of Crimea by reference to Kosovo and the ICJ’s advisory opinion:

Read the rest of this entry…


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}
Filed under: Announcements and Events
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Comments Off

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

Filed under: Announcements and Events

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.

Read the rest of this entry…


ICJ Opens Hearings in Croatia v. Serbia

Published on March 3, 2014        Author:

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.

Read the rest of this entry…


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:

Filed under: Announcements and Events
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Comments Off

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‐

Filed under: Announcements and Events
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Comments Off

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.

Filed under: Announcements and Events
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Comments Off