The latest issue of the European Journal of International Law , the first of 2014, (Vol. 25, No. 1) is out today. As usual, the table of contents of the new issue is available at EJIL’s own website, as well as on EJIL’s Oxford University Press site. Readers can access those articles that are freely available from both places. As it happens, a good deal of the current issue is freely available even those readers without a subscription. Readers, with or without a subscription, can access Daniel Bethlehem’s article, “The End of Geography: The Changing Nature of the International System and the Challenge to International Law” as well as responses to that piece by David Koller and Carl Landauer . Also freely available are the articles in the Joint Symposium with the International Journal of Constitutional Law (I*CON): Revisiting Van Gend en Loos. Subscribers have full access to the journal at EJIL’s Oxford University Press site. Apart from articles published in the last 12 months, EJIL articles are freely available on the EJIL website.
It is my custom to publish in the first issue of the year some of our vital statistics for the year ending. One particular vital statistic concerns the number of downloads of EJIL articles in any given year. To be clear, we measure the number of downloads of all EJIL articles, not just those published in the year in question. The latest stats we have are from 2012, which saw 512,000 downloads. It is up from 400,000 or so in the previous year. It is an astonishing figure provided by OUP and I asked that it be audited. They stand by their figure. The large number is explained by two factors: a sizeable number of EJIL articles are used in classrooms and in course packs and reading lists – resulting in thousands of downloads around the world by students. And of course our ‘near’ open-access policy, whereby all articles more than a year old become part of our free archive, is another critical factor. Be that as it may, if you publish in EJIL you are likely to be read and often used in the classroom; if you read EJIL, you are in good, if crowded, company (unless you have the habit of downloading and not reading – certainly cheaper than photocopying and not reading).
I have already expressed my scepticism of the various ‘bibliometrics’ of journals in an earlier Editorial (23 EJIL (2012) no. 3) I find the much touted ‘impact factor’ most laughable, skewed as it is by the number of articles you publish per annum – the fewer, the better you are likely to do. We get penalized by our large number of shorter pieces – debates, reactions, critical jurisprudence and critical governance rubrics and the like. Much more significant would be the number of citations. This is not laughable but still earns my chagrin since the databases are so skewed in this instance towards the American domestic legal journal market and ignore for the most part citations in non-English language journals. No sour grapes here: we do very well regardless.
Various outfits run these stats. I believe the most serious and intelligent is that put out by Washington and Lee University in the United States, as a service to authors trying to choose publication venues which will give most exposure to their articles. It explains the vagaries of Impact Factor and offers a ‘combined’ score of citations (66%) and ‘impact factor’ (33%). In its class (specialized, refereed) EJIL is number one among non-USA legal journals. In overall ranking (US and Non-USA) it ranks 4th in terms of citation and 10th in its combined score. (Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law – a very worthy journal, used I imagine by a zillion American criminal lawyers, ranks as number 9 – you get the point). Read the rest of this entry…
We wish to thank the following colleagues who generously gave their time and energy to EJIL as external reviewers in 2013. Naturally, this does list does not include the dedicated members of our Editorial Boards and our Associate Editor.
Philip Alston, Antony Anghie, Helmut Aust, Asli Bali, Lorand Bartels, Tim Buthe, Graeme Dinwoodie, Abby Deshman, George Downs, Angelina Fisher, Mónica García-Salmones Rovira, Richard Gardiner, Bryant Garth, Matthias Goldmann, Peter Goodrich, Andrew Guzman, Laurence Helfer, Robert Howse, Ian Johnstone, Jan Klabbers, Jan Komarek, Martti Koskenniemi, David Kretzmer, Dino Kritsiotis, Nico Krisch, Jürgen Kurtz, Brian Lepard, George Letsas, David Luban, Christopher MacLeod, Lauri Mälksoo, David Malone, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Frédéric Mégret, Tzvika Nissel, Angelika Nussberger, Sergio Puig, Donald Regan, Stephen Schill, Gregory Shaffer, Thomas Skouteris, Anna Sodersten, Alan Sykes, Michael Waibel, Steven Wheatley
Wearing my hat of Editor-in-Chief offers occasionally a better vantage point to spot trends compared to the reader of individual issues. One has the pipeline in view as well as the huge number of articles which are submitted and which we are unable to publish. One distinct trend is the increased number of articles submitted making use of quantitative data and analysis. In this issue we publish Dia Anagnostou and Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, ‘Domestic Implementation of European Court of Human Rights Judgments: Legal Infrastructure and Government Effectiveness Matter’, with a Reply by Erik Voeten. In the pipeline are articles by Sergio Puig, ‘Social Capital in the Arbitration Market’ (watch out for this one – it will resonate, I am sure); Cecily Rose and Shashank Kumar, ‘A Study of Lawyers Appearing before the International Court of Justice, 1999-2012’; and Thomas Schultz and Cédric Dupont, ‘Investment Arbitration: Promoting the Rule of Law or Over-Empowering Investors? A Quantitative Empirical Study’. And these are just a few of many more that have been submitted. Time will tell whether this becomes a regular ‘thick’ part of international legal scholarship.
Even aside from the joint EJIL-I•CON Symposium marking the 50th anniversary of the seminal Van Gend en Loos decision, this issue offers a cornucopia of innovative scholarship on international law. We start by introducing a new rubric, EJIL: Keynote!, under which we intend to publish especially noteworthy conference presentations and other public addresses. In the first lecture to be published under this rubric, Sir Daniel Bethlehem argues that the traditional ‘geography of statehood’ is of decreasing importance in the face of new global flows ̶ of information, capital, goods, services, and people. Combining the new rubric with the well-established EJIL: Debate! format, David S. Koller and Carl Landauer offer two Replies that will certainly stimulate further reflections on continuity and change in the relationship between geography and international law.
The two articles that follow demonstrate, once again, EJIL’s commitment to giving equal attention to both theoretical and doctrinal aspects of international law. Maria Aristodemou’s article applies the insights and techniques of Lacanian psychoanalysis to public international law itself, appraising the latter as a thoroughly neurotic discipline; animated, challenging and droll, this piece will be required reading for anyone interested in keeping pace with the cutting edge of international legal theory. Christopher Wadlow’s article, by contrast, addresses a series of relatively specific problems arising under the TRIPS Agreement, of a conceptual and doctrinal nature. We think both are excellent in their respective genres.
Following our symposium revisiting Van Gend en Loos, Roaming Charges returns to Moments of Dignity, with a photograph of a pre-wedding moment in Peking.
In a further entry under our EJIL: Debate! rubric, we have, as mentioned, an article by Dia Anagnostou and Alina Mungiu-Pippidi which examines the domestic implementation of rulings by the European Court of Human Rights in nine states, concluding that the main obstacles to compliance can be found in domestic policy process, legal infrastructure, and institutional capacity. Eric Voeten’s Reply engages with Anagnostou and Mungiu-Pippidi on methodological grounds, showing how the application of more sophisticated statistical methods to a more extensive data-set might produce more nuanced substantive conclusions. Together, these two pieces indeed provide compelling evidence of the growing interest in—and potential insights to be gained from—empirical, numerical and statistical studies in international law.
In our occasional series, Critical Review of International Governance, Rosa Freedman tackles the controversy over the role of the United Nations in causing the recent cholera outbreak in Haiti, exploring whether a human rights-based challenge to the UN’s immunity may be mounted.
The Last Page in this issue presents a poem entitled Bhopal, by Keith Ekiss.
This post, adapted from our introduction to the symposium on the International Law Commission’s Guide to Practice on Reservations to Treaties in the current issue of the EJIL, looks at one specific topic addressed by the ILC – the rules governing the validity of reservations and the consequences of invalidity. This is not only the most controversial and vexing of all of the issues addressed in the Guide, but also the one where the Guide makes it perhaps most important contribution. Here we not only have a meticulous analysis of a technical topic, but nothing short of an existential story of international law as a unified system as opposed to a set of fragmented sub-regimes. How so? When one reads Articles 19-22 VCLT, particularly in light of the ICJ’s Reservations to the Genocide Convention opinion, one cannot avoid the impression that the process of determining whether a reservation was invalid as being contrary to the object and purpose of a treaty was meant to be more or less inter-subjective: each state should determine for itself whether a given reservation was compatible with the treaty’s object and purpose, and if it was not it should make an objection to that effect.
But such an inter-subjective approach looks remarkably unappealing from the perspective of major multilateral normative treaties, particularly in the human rights context. The rights of individuals, so the reasoning among many human rights lawyers went (as exemplified most notably in Human Rights Committee’s General Comment No. 24), should not depend on the existence of objections, vel non, by third states, especially when reciprocity of state obligations has little place in the human rights context and when for a variety of reasons states routinely fail to object to reservations even when there manifestly are perfectly good reasons to do so. While objections to reservations would be probative, they could not be dispositive. It would indeed primarily be upon courts or treaty bodies to determine whether a reservation is compatible with the object and purpose of the human rights treaty, while the consequence of invalidity would normally not only be the nullity of the reservation, but also its severability, so that the reserving state would remain bound by the human rights treaty without the benefit of its reservation. Human rights protection would thus always be maximized.
Many governments were less than pleased with what they saw as a power-grab by human rights bodies and a usurpation of their sovereign prerogatives. The ILC, being the bastion of international law orthodoxy, was no more pleased, nor was Alain Pellet as its Special Rapporteur. How could international law survive as a coherent, unified system if more of its branches followed the human rights example and asserted that because they were special they needed special rules, rather than the outdated Vienna framework. If that was true for human rights, why would it not be true for trade, the environment, or whatever other topic people became strongly devoted to. Fragmentation beckoned, and it needed to be resisted.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish our readers a Happy New Year! We are grateful to you for your support over the past year, and indeed over the past five years, since the launch of the blog in December 2008. The figures regarding the readership of the blog continue to climb steadily. We also have so many of you (in four figures) who subscribe to receive emails of our postings. The numbers submitting posts for blog are also increasing.
Over the past year we have made a number of additions to the editorial team. Sadie Blanchard joined us associate editor in the summer and her contributions to our work have been impressive. We are very grateful to her for all her hard work behind the scenes. Over the past few months, we have also added a team of Contributing Editors, drawn in part from the boards of EJIL. Thank you to Anne Peters, Diane Desierto, Christian Tams, Matthew Happold and Antonios Tzanakopoulos. We look forward to their contributions over 2014.
When EJIL:Talk! was launched in December 2008, it was a bold move by a leading journal to establish a blog. The European Journal of International Law has a tradition of boldness and innovation which has served it well over the past quarter of a century. Although there are many excellent journals and blogs in the world of international law, I think the blog/journal combination of EJIL and EJIL:Talk! remains unique – at least in international law. The editors of the blog remain grateful to the boards of EJIL for their support. We are particularly grateful to the EJIL Editor in Chief, Joseph Weiler. He was instrumental, from the very beginning, in the establishment of the blog and has been generous in his support and encouragement.
This time last year, I wrote a post setting out our most popular posts of 2012. Below are our 10 most popular posts of 2013
- The Legality of Military Action in Syria: Humanitarian Intervention and Responsibility to Protect (Dapo Akande)
- So, you want to do a PhD in international law? (Douglas Guilfoyle)
- Danish Judge Blasts ICTY President (Marko Milanovic)
- Catalonia’s Independence: A Reply to Joseph Weiler (Nico Krisch)
- Kadi Showdown: Substantive Review of (UN) Sanctions by the ECJ (Antonios Tzanakopoulos) Read the rest of this entry…
The latest issue of the European Journal of International Law (Vol. 24, No. 4) is out today. As usual, the table of contents of the new issue is available at EJIL’s own website, where readers can also access those articles that are freely available without subscription. The free access articles in this issue are Andrew Williams’s The European Convention on Human Rights, the EU and the UK: Confronting a Heresy and a reply to that article by Stelios Andreadakis. In January, we will hold a discussion of those two articles. In the coming weeks, we will also have a series of posts on reservations to treaties, following this issue’s Symposium: The International Law Commission’s Guide to Practice on Reservations to Treaties. Subscribers have full access to the latest issue of the journal at EJIL’s Oxford University Press site. Apart from articles published in the last 12 months, EJIL articles are freely available on the EJIL website.
When I studied international law as a student close to 40 years ago at Cambridge (East), Naulilaa was still a central case in the study of jus ad bellum. It would be found in many a ‘casebook’ or course pack. I am pretty sure that at least some of the younger readers of this Editorial will be googling at this very moment ̶ Naulilaa, what’s that? This is significant, for it has largely vanished from casebooks and course packs, only appearing, if at all, in a footnote. What accounts for that demise? Was it superseded by other cases? Not exactly. For the truth is that it should really have been expunged from those early books, or appeared at best as a relic of the pre-Charter era – a relic with an unpleasant colonial odour. Already then it was very difficult to square Naulilaa with the Charter regime concerning the legitimate use of force. Where is the armed attack? Could that punitive raid plausibly be called self defence? One would have to engage in some serious lexical violence towards either the case or the Charter or both in order to square one with the other. Why was it there then? Inertia is one, not implausible, possibility. It takes the demise of a generation, as we learnt from Thomas Kuhn, for a paradigm truly to shift. Another intriguing possibility is that the Charter notwithstanding, it reflected an occasional but persistent state practice. What does one do in the face of an illegal use of force falling short of an armed attack? We all remember the tortured reasoning of the ICJ in Nicaragua, trying to address what might count as a legitimate response to such. To talk of punishment or reprisal, which is what Naulilaa really was about, was of course taboo. So it was squeezed into the ill-fitting jacket of self-defence, though as a bastard son with, for example, no recourse to collective self-defence in this instance. It was not only the ICJ that was discomfited: the late Sir Derek Bowett, one of my teachers at the time, spoke (and wrote) illuminatingly about the seemingly contradictory Security Council responses to Israeli reprisal raids in the 1960s. There have been other similar uses over the years in other arenas. The surface language of the justification offered over the decades for that type of use of force was the same rubbery rendition of self-defence. Naulilaa represents their real deep structure.
There are many ways to explain the seeming impossibility to definitively rid the system of the Naulilaa ethos. On the one hand Naulilaa represents, as I have suggested, a clear challenge to the Charter’s focus on self-defence as the principal, perhaps only, moral justification for the legitimate use of force by individual states. At the same time, it also reflects a deep human repugnance in the face of crimes going unpunished. The unresolvable debate concerning the very appropriateness and the place of retribution (not explained away as deterrent) in theories of punishment is the domestic equivalent of this tension in international law. Read the rest of this entry…
Both EJIL and and EJIL: Talk! are venues for scholarly exchange where the norm is that scholars take responsibility for their submissions, use their real credentials and do not hide behind a pseudonym. In the case of EJIL: Talk! this is part of our policy of maintaining a sober, respectful and courteous tone, even in cases of critical comment. It has been our experience that anonymous comments have at times violated our ‘sobriety’ policy and have had to be removed.
On rare occasions anonymity may be justified ̶ such as a submission from a jurisdiction which does not respect freedom of expression. An author who seeks to publish, post or comment anonymously should contact the Editor-in-Chief of EJIL or one of the Editors of EJIL: Talk! before submitting a manuscript to the Journal or a post or comment to the blog. The Editors will give due consideration to any request for anonymity.