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Announcements: Symposium on the Sovereignty Dispute over the Falklands (Malvinas); CfS CILJ Volume 6; Arab Legal Forum – Challenging UN Sanctions ‎Before Domestic Courts

Published on September 11, 2016        Author: 

1. Symposium on the Sovereignty Dispute over the Falklands (Malvinas). This Symposium will be held at the Stayokay Hotel, Maastricht, on 7 October 2016. For further information and registration please see here. The Symposium is open to students and public at large.

2. Call for Submissions: CILJ Volume 6. The Editorial Board of the Cambridge International Law Journal (CILJ) is pleased to invite submissions for its sixth volume. The CILJ is a double-blind, peer-reviewed journal run by members of the postgraduate community at the Cambridge University Law Faculty. The CILJ is the successor journal to the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law and is now published by Edward Elgar Publishing. The Board welcomes long articles, short articles, case notes and book reviews that engage with current themes in international law and EU law. All submissions are subject to double-blind peer review by our Editorial Board. In addition, all long articles are sent to our Academic Review Board, which consists of distinguished international law scholars and practitioners. The deadline for submissions is 28 October 2016 at 11.59 p.m. Further details can be found here

3. Arab Legal Forum Event on Challenging UN Sanctions ‎Before Domestic Courts. On Thursday 6 October 2016 at 6.30 pm the Arab Legal Forum is holding a panel discussion titled “Challenging United Nations Economic Sanctions before Domestic Courts” at the offices of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, London. Panelists will include Judge Kimberley Prost (former UN ombudsperson for Al Qaeda Sanctions), Maya Lester QC (Brick Court Chambers) and Antonios Tzanakapoulos (Oxford). The panel will discuss the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Al Dulimi and Montana Inc vs. Switzerland and its implications. Information on the event and registration can be found here.

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European Union 2: A Revolutionary Response to a British Coup d’état

Published on September 8, 2016        Author: 

The antipathy towards the European Union reflected in the British Referendum of 23 June 2016 is shared by many people across the whole of Europe. As Jürgen Habermas has said: “the British vote also reflects some of the general state of crisis in the EU and its member states”. (Die Zeit, July 12, 2016.)

An unexpected moment of further European disintegration offers a unique opportunity to make the unloved EU into what it could be. The citizens of Europe should force the governments of Europe to make possible a European Union 2, an enterprise that a majority of British people might support, even if they were still not able to love it.

We are living through a time of exceptional disorder and danger throughout the world. A very bad time is a good time to plan a better future. In the dark days of the Second World War, governments were already planning new social security systems, new education systems, new public health systems, a new world financial system, and a United Nations to replace the League of Nations.

There are realistic principles underlying a project of European Union. It can be a close partnership of independent nations pursuing their unique and precious destinies, but seeking also the huge gains that come from acting together to serve a common interest. Their national interest contains also the common interest that they share.

Such a partnership is a sharing of the power of 500 million people. We have a common interest in responding effectively to a world that threatens our survival and prosperity, politically and economically and culturally, and even our physical survival.

But we also share a special responsibility to help to make the present chaotic and dangerous world into a better world. It is something that Europe owes to the world, a world that is very much the world that Europe made, for better and for worse. Read the rest of this entry…

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Filed under: EJIL Analysis, European Union
 

Missing the Mark: Reprieve, ‘Kill Lists’ and Human Rights Advocacy

Published on September 6, 2016        Author: 

Deception, lies, murder, conspiracy. This is the stuff of crime novels. It is also the story spun in a report published earlier this year by Reprieve, a human rights charity active in the UK and the US. In its report, entitled ‘Britain’s Kill List’, Reprieve claims to reveal shocking proof that exposes the involvement of the British Government in a global assassination project:

On September 7th, 2015, Prime Minister David Cameron came to Parliament and announced a “new departure” for Britain, a policy of killing individuals the Security Services and the military do not like, people placed on a list of individuals who the UK (acting along with the US and others) have identified and systematically plan to kill. The mere admission that there is a Kill List certainly should, indeed, have been a “departure” for a country that prides itself on decency. Unfortunately, it was not a “new departure” at all, as we had been doing it secretly for more than a decade.

Reprieve alleges that the British Government has been complicit in preparing and executing a ‘kill list’ for years, that such a ‘kill list’ is incompatible with the rule of law and that the Prime Minister has deceived the public about Britain’s involvement in this ‘disturbing’ practice. These are serious allegations, which merit a response, even a belated one. All the more so, since on closer inspection they reveal an astonishing appetite for sensationalism and disregard for accuracy.

Who is deceiving Parliament and the public?

On 7 September 2015, former Prime Minister David Cameron announced to the House of Commons that the Royal Air Force carried out a drone strike on 21 August 2015 inside Syria against Reyaad Khan, a British national and member of ISIL. The strike killed Khan and two other members of ISIL. By declaring that the operation was a ‘new departure’ for Britain, Reprieve claims that the Prime Minister has deceived Parliament and the people (pp. 5 and 7), given that this was not the first occasion the UK has acted upon a ‘kill list’. Indeed, much of Reprieve’s report is preoccupied with demonstrating that the UK has contributed to a ‘kill list’ well before the Prime Minister made his announcement to Parliament. Read the rest of this entry…

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Announcements: Vacancy at University of Southern Denmark; CfS UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence; CfP Manchester International Law Centre; Customary IHL Research Fellow Vacancy

Published on September 4, 2016        Author: 

1. Centre for War Studies at University of Southern Denmark Vacancy for Assistant Professor. The Centre for War Studies (CWS) at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense is currently advertising a post for Assistant Professor with starting date 1 November 2016 or soon thereafter. CWS is an interdisciplinary research centre rooted in the Departments of Political Science, Law and Cultural Studies. The successful applicant will be skilled at organizing policy and public outreach activities, including workshops, partner networks and various communication platforms. The teaching load will include contributions to the interdisciplinary master degree in “International Security and Law”. The successful candidate can be trained either in international law or international relations, but should research issues of relevance to both communities. This position has been created to advance both interdisciplinary research collaboration and outreach, and if after three years the initiative proves successful, the Departments of Political Science and Law will fund a tenured position, budgets allowing. For more information and the application form see the official job advert. The deadline for applications is 15 September 2016.

2. UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence Call for Submissions: Volume 6, Issue 1 (March 2017). The UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence is a law journal run by postgraduate students of the UCL Faculty of Laws. The Journal appears twice a year and will be available open access. All submissions are assessed through double blind peer review. The Editorial Board is pleased to call for submissions for the first issue of 2017. The Board welcomes papers covering all areas of law and jurisprudence. We accept articles of between 8,000-12,000 words, case notes of 6,000-8,000 words and book reviews of 1,000-2,000 words. All submissions must comply with the Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA). Contributions that have already been published or that are under consideration for publication in other journals will not be considered. The deadline for submissions is 4 November 2016. Manuscripts must be uploaded via the submissions section on our website. For further information and guidelines for authors please visit our website. For any queries, please e-mail the academic editors. Read the rest of this entry…

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The ICC’s Al Mahdi case is (also) a political trial, and that’s fine!

Published on August 31, 2016        Author: 

Last week, the International Criminal Court (ICC or Court) in The Hague commenced and concluded a historically short trial against Ahmad Al-Faqi Al-Mahdi. Al Mahdi was prosecuted for the war crime of intentionally destroying cultural, religious and historic monuments, namely the mausoleums in Timbuktu. This is the first time that the ICC has prosecuted crimes relating to the protection of cultural heritage. It is also a first for the Court to prosecute an Islamic extremist, and the first time that a defendant has pleaded guilty, significantly simplifying and shortening the trial.

After all the ICC’s recent problems with lack of evidence, witness intimidations, and protracted procedures, this short and in all likelihood successful case (the decision is expected on 27 September) can easily be called a resounding win. At the same time, even this case has not escaped criticism (see for example here and here). Why was Al Mahdi only prosecuted for destroying cultural heritage, even though he also allegedly committed murder and rape? And why is the Court spending its scarce resources prosecuting this mid-level militiaman rather than on the leaders behind the violence in Mali?

Questions like these are justified, because the ICC fails to explain why it makes the choices it does. This is a missed opportunity. In recent years, the Court has increasingly been the subject of sharp critique. Scholars, activists, and politicians have accused the ICC of being anti-African, of failing to meet the needs of victims, and of being a “political” court. It is true that the complaint that the Court is “political” cannot always be separated from the self-interest of leaders attempting to evade the Court’s docket. But we should not dismiss this critique, as the Court tends to do. Instead, we should recognize that the ICC is indeed (also) a political court. Read the rest of this entry…

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The ICC and Extrajudicial Executions in the Philippines

Published on August 30, 2016        Author: 

Below are two possible exam questions for the students and cognoscenti of international criminal law with regard to the possible involvement of the International Criminal Court in the ongoing campaign of state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, a manifest violation of the right to life under customary international law and Article 6 ICCPR that has so far claimed almost 2,000 lives with no sign of abating (see, e.g, here and here). I would just note, by way of preface, that we have devoted a lot of attention on the blog to the recent arbitral award on the South China Sea dispute, but are yet to comment on the sheer irony of a state claiming the protection of international law while simultaneously proceeding to violate that law so thoroughly and so tragically – I imagine because the irony is so obvious, so depressing, and so familiar. We shall see whether a significant cost will be exacted internationally from the Duterte regime for its violation of the most fundamental of human rights, but I’m not holding my breath.

In the meantime, note that the Philippines have been a party of the Rome Statute since 2011 and consider – if you were the ICC Prosecutor, what would you do now? Should you intervene, how, to what benefit and at what cost? Then ponder these two little exam questions:

  1. “Despite plausible evidence that 2,000 individuals have been killed in the Philippines with the support of the government, these killings do not satisfy the ‘widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population’ chapeau requirement for crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute. In the absence of an armed conflict they equally cannot constitute war crimes, even if the government rhetorically claims to be fighting a ‘war against drugs.’ Accordingly, the ICC is without jurisdiction with respect to this situation, no matter how tragic.” Discuss.
  2. “Even if the substantive elements of crimes against humanity or war crimes were met, President Duterte could not be qualified as their ‘indirect co-perpetrator.’ Shame – because we totally could have nabbed him under the ICTY/R doctrine of joint criminal enterprise!” Discuss.
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Announcements: CfP Cognitive Sociology, Culture and International Law; IGLP Asian Regional Workshop; CfP Regional Human Rights Systems in Crisis

Published on August 28, 2016        Author: 

1. Call for Papers: Cognitive Sociology, Culture, and International Law. The third workshop on the sociology of international law aims to break open the study of interactions between various cognitive processes and the formation, interpretation and implementation of international law. The workshop is hosted by iCourts, Centre of Excellence for International Courts, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen and will take place on 28-29 April 2017. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to Sungjoon Cho at scho1 {at} kentlaw.iit(.)edu, by 1 November 2016, and must include the author’s name, affiliation, and full contact information. Decisions will be sent by 15 December 2016. Those presenting will be expected to provide short discussion papers (3,000-4,000 words) by 15 March 2017. See here for full details.

2. IGLP Asian Regional Workshop. Applications are now being accepted for the IGLP Asian Regional Workshop, organized by the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School and hosted and sponsored by the Thailand Institute of Justice in Bangkok from 6-11 January 2017. Inaugurated in 2015, the IGLP Regional Workshop is an intensive, regionally-focused residential program that brings together an international cohort of young doctoral scholars, post-doctoral scholars and junior faculty for intensive collaboration, mentoring, and cross-training. The 2017 IGLP Regional Workshop will focus on how issues of global law, economic policy, social justice and governance relate to ongoing legal and policy debates throughout Asia and across the world, while offering opportunities to strengthen participants’ writing and research. The week features a  series of plenaries, lectures, roundtables, writing workshops, and networking opportunities, in addition to a variety of innovative mini-courses related to law and policy. We encourage applications from young scholars across Asia and worldwide who would benefit from intensive collaboration with their global peers and IGLP’s junior and senior faculty. Applications are due by 30 September 2016. See here for more information and to apply.

3. Call for Papers: Regional Human Rights Systems in Crisis. Wisconsin International Law Journal (WILJ) invites submission of abstracts of not more than 500 words from legal scholars and practitioners in the fields of regional human rights and international law for its Annual Symposium on Regional Human Rights Systems in Crisis. Authors of articles selected at the final review stage will be invited to present at the 2017 WILJ Annual Symposium on 31 March 2017, at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and their articles will be published in our 2017 Symposium issue. Travel (economy class) and accommodation will be covered for accepted applicants. Submission is restricted to papers that have not yet been published. Please see here for more information.
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Unpacking the Complexities of Backlash and Identifying its Unintended Consequences

Published on August 25, 2016        Author: 

References to “backlash” are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in international law scholarship (see for example this recent EJIL article and accompanying EJIL:Talk! Discussion). Few have, however, sought to define or unpack the complexities of backlash. In this post, we draw upon our chapter in a forthcoming book titled The Judicialization of International Law – A Mixed Blessing? (Oxford University Press, 2017). We seek to develop a notion of “backlash”, identify what underlies it, and illuminate its potential unintended consequences. While we focus upon investment treaty arbitration as a case study, we endeavor to illuminate the complexities of evaluating opposition to international regimes. These issues hold particular relevance to investor-State arbitration given current State negotiations of major bi‑ and multi‑ lateral treaties with investor-State protections. They are also likely to gain in relevance with many investment treaties shortly coming up for renewal or termination.

Defining Backlash

The notion of backlash has seldom been defined, instead being used as an umbrella term to capture a range of forms of critique and contestation. These include State decisions to review, not renew, terminate, or withdraw from existing treaties; refusals to negotiate or sign investment treaties; and changes in the approaches of States to the negotiation of new treaties. There are also forms of “backlash” arising from civil society, non-governmental organizations, and academia in the form of protests, comments in public consultation processes, increased reporting, and academic discussion. Such acts, along with others, are increasingly cited as evidence of “a rising backlash” against the regime of investor-State arbitration generally.

The term “backlash” indicates the presence of something more than scrutiny, critique or even crisis. Read the rest of this entry…

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Horrible Metrics

Published on August 24, 2016        Author: 

I was visiting the site of the American Journal of International Law this morning, and this particular advertising blurb caught my eye:

The Journal ranks as the most-cited international law journal on Google Scholar. It is also considered by the nonprofit, scholarly periodical resource JSTOR to be “the premier English-language scholarly journal in its field.”

Wow, I thought – it’s no longer sufficient to say that the international law academic profession as a whole regards the AJIL and EJIL as the two most prestigious journals in the field, but even when we are self-promoting to our own readership we have to refer to some kind of metric or league table. Second wow, I had no idea that Google Scholar ranked international law journals, I should really check that out. Here’s the table:

Read the rest of this entry…

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The European Convention on Human Rights in Non-International Armed Conflict – Revisiting Serdar Mohammed

Published on August 22, 2016        Author: 

The UK Government’s re-commitment in May to replacing the Human Rights Act (HRA) immediately followed the Supreme Court’s further hearings on one of the more controversial cases under the Act – the Serdar Mohammed claim against the Ministry of Defence (on which additional hearings are expected later this year). The claimant, who on the assumed facts was a Taliban commander detained by the UK military in Afghanistan for 110 days in 2010, alleges a breach of his right to liberty under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

As readers will recall, the lower courts upheld this claim, prompting controversy in the press and in academia. Preventative detention (or “internment”) of the enemy is widely regarded as an essential incident of armed conflict. The suggestion that the ECHR prohibited the UK from detaining a Taliban commander to prevent his engagement in hostilities against British forces raised obvious concerns about the application of the ECHR in armed conflict, also fuelling further criticism of the HRA.

Since international humanitarian law (IHL) norms designed for the context of hostilities do not prohibit internment in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) like the Afghan conflict in 2010, much of the legal debate focused on the content of these norms and their relationship with the ECHR. The High Court decision, declining to use IHL to override the ECHR, was criticised as “an outright rejection of the applicability of IHL to the question of who may be detained for what reasons and following which procedure” in NIACs.

Rather than rehearsing the extensive debates (see a small sample here and here) over whether IHL norms authorise detention in NIACs, this post challenges an assumption about the interpretation of the ECHR which underlies the arguments raised by both parties to the claim. Its focus is on a specific provision of the ECHR and its application to situations like that in which the claimant was detained – state participation in NIACs outside their own territory (extra-territorial NIACs).

The result is an alternative approach, based on a context-sensitive interpretation of the ECHR complemented by IHL, which helps address the concern that the ECHR and HRA are inherently unsuited to conditions of armed conflict. Read the rest of this entry…

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