Dr. Başak Çalı (pictured above left) is Associate Professor of International Law at Koç University, Turkey. Lorna McGregor (pictured right) is a Reader in Law and Director of the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex School of Law. Ivana Radačić (pictured below left) is a senior research associate at Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb and a visiting lecturer at the University of Zagreb, the University of Osijek, the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (Venice). They are the Founding Co-Chairs of the European Society of International Law’s Interest Group on International Human Rights Law.
The theme of this year’s ESIL annual conference is ‘International Law AND …’ It takes place in a year of conferences seemingly devoted to ‘taking stock’ of the current state of international law and assessing the future opportunities and challenges it will face (see the recent ASIL-ILA conference on the Effectiveness of International Law and last week’s ILA British Branch conference on Foundations and Futures of International Law).
In establishing the ESIL Interest Group on Human Rights, we wanted to ‘take stock’ of International Human Rights Law and in doing so, to ask the big structural, procedural and substantive questions that are necessary to determine its future. We plan to hold conferences like our inaugural roundtable on ‘International Human Rights Law AND…’ at the ESIL annual conference in Vienna in September and to encourage debate and discussion through online symposia, particularly on EJIL Talk! and other academic and practical projects.
Before our discussions even begin, however, we have to be clear on how we understand international human rights law. We regard international human rights law as a field that is simultaneously positioned both within public international law and across other disciplines. International human rights law is substantial but nonetheless a sub-branch of public international law as well as part of a large and growing interdisciplinary ‘field’ of human rights. Characterising international human rights law in this way is often overlooked but gives a much more textured and nuanced picture of its operation and the challenges it faces through resistance to containment as a sub-branch; internal-fragmentation; and interdisciplinary expansion.
Resistance to Containment to a Sub-Field
The presentation of international human rights law as a sub-branch conceals its dominance within public international law making it a much bigger project than a ‘sub-branch’ would suggest. Read the rest of this entry…