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Announcements: ANZSIL Call for Papers & Panel Proposals; ESIL Paper Series; Responsibility to Protect Workshop; UCL Journal Call for Submissions; University of Reading Postgraduate Programme; Protection of Human Rights & Environment Training

Published on January 23, 2016        Author: 

1. Call for Papers & Panel Proposals: 24th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law. This ANZSIL conference will take place from 30 June 2016 to Saturday 2 July 2016 at University House, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. The theme of the conference is International Law of the Everyday: Fieldwork, Friction & Fairness, and participants are invited to reflect on what comprises the everyday of international law and how international law shapes the everyday. The Conference Organising Committee invites paper submissions reflecting on these themes in any area of public and private international law. Also invited are proposals for panels comprised of three to four papers in circumstances where the presenters concerned are already in conversation, or would find it useful to be so assembled. Details of the submission process for proposals can be found in this flyer. Submissions must be sent by 26 February 2016.

2. ESIL Paper Series. The latest instalments in the European Society of International Law’s Paper Series have been published, featuring 8 papers from its 2015 Annual Conference and 7 papers from its 2015 Research Forum. The complete collection of papers from the ESIL Series is available here.

3. Lincoln Law School Responsibility to Protect Workshop. On 22 April 2016, Lincoln Law School will host the workshop ‘Evaluating the Impact of the Responsibility to Protect – 10 years on: An idea whose time has come and gone?’. This workshop will focus on the effectiveness and implementation of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP), and brings together eminent scholars in the field and academics currently undertaking research into the implementation of RtoP. Key speakers include, Dr Aiden Hehir, University of Westminster; Professor James Pattison, University of Manchester; and Dr Justin Morris, University of Hull. We will also be joined by Dr Alexandra Bohm, University of Sheffield; Dr Sarah Sargeant, University of Buckingham; and Dr Stuart Wallace, University of Nottingham. Registration is available here and costs £15. The workshop will run between 10am and 6pm, lunch and refreshments will be provided. Contact Dr. Graham Melling (gmelling {at} lincoln.ac(.)uk) or Dr. Christy Shucksmith (cshucksmith {at} lincoln.ac(.)uk) for further information.

4. Call for Submissions: UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence. 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 is available open access. The Editorial Board is pleased to call for submissions for the second issue of 2016. This will be our ‘City Issue’ and the Editorial Board welcomes submissions that engage with this general theme. The topic is broadly conceived and leaves scope for any area of law or jurisprudence (domestic, regional or international) that is deemed to be ‘City’ related, including, for example, banking and finance, regulation, capital markets, trusts, tax, IP, corporate or international economic law. Submissions could be theoretical, doctrinal or aimed at practice. The deadline for submissions is 30th April 2016. Manuscripts must be uploaded via the submissions section on our website. For further information and guidelines for authors please visit our website.

Read the rest of this entry…

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The ‘Compliance Track’ on a Track to Nowhere

Published on January 22, 2016        Author: 

The 32nd International Conference of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IC), held from 8th to 10th December 2015 and bringing together delegations from States Party to the Geneva Conventions (GCs), National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the ICRC and the IFRC, has already attracted some comments (here and here). A little-explored topic to date has been the adoption of Resolution 2 on “Strengthening compliance with international humanitarian law”. This Resolution was linked to the so-called ‘compliance track’: an initiative managed by the ICRC and Switzerland, aimed at identifying options to improve the implementation of IHL.

A draft resolution circulated in October 2015 recommended that States create a new compliance mechanism, the so-called “Meeting of States on IHL” (MoS), and identified the key elements proposed for that mechanism. This draft resolution was also accompanied by a Concluding Report, providing insights into the consultation process and emphasizing the questions still pending. However, delegations at the International Conference were unable to reach a consensus on this new mechanism. Operative paragraph (OP) 2 of Resolution 2 adopted at the International Conference merely recommends “the continuation of an inclusive, State-driven inter-governmental process based on the principle of consensus…to find agreement on features and functions of a potential forum of States…in order to submit the outcome of this intergovernmental process to the 33rd International Conference”. The Resolution reiterates a series of guiding principles intended to inform further discussions. This post will describe the key features of the proposed Meeting of States. It will be noted that the proposals which were put to the International Conference, but not adopted, contained only a minimal option for strengthening compliance with IHL, though it would have had the merit of planting a tiny seed in the IHL system, with an eye to its possible ripening into a fruit.

The path towards the 32nd International Conference

The ‘compliance track’ was developed following the adoption of Resolution 1 at the 31st IC held in 2011, where the ICRC (later joined by Switzerland) was entrusted with pursuing consultations to enhance the effectiveness of IHL compliance mechanisms. A shared skepticism on the effectiveness of some existing mechanisms (such as Protecting Powers, Enquiry Procedures, Meeting of the High Contracting Parties, or the IHFFC) lay behind this request. In particular, as such mechanisms were designed for international armed conflicts and are dependent on States’ consent for their activation, they have barely functioned as envisaged. States’ discomfort with the increasing proliferation of (sometimes) proactive compliance mechanisms operating outside the realm of IHL, such as human rights bodies, was an additional element in favor of the possible development of new mechanisms for implementing compliance with IHL. Read the rest of this entry…

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Provisional Measures and Joinder of Cases at the International Court of Justice – The Answers

Published on January 18, 2016        Author: 

Earlier this month I asked four trivia questions about the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) practice on provisional measures and joinder of cases. The questions were prompted by the ICJ’s recent Judgment in the joined cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) and Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica). I also stated that the first person to provide the most correct answers would win a year’s free subscription to the European Journal of International Law prize. Within minutes of my piece being posted, Niccolò Ridi (right, who is doctoral candidate at the Dickson Poon School of Law,  King’s College London and Research Assistant at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva) had provided comprehensive answers to all four questions. His quickness off the mark hardly gave anybody else a chance! He later added to his answers with subsequent comments, and is very deserving of the prize!

My first question was “1) In what other case has the Court made a finding in the dispositif of a judgment that a party has breached a provisional measures order made by the Court?” Niccolò is absolutely right to note that the use of the singular – ‘case’ – in my formulation is incorrect. The Court has made such a finding in the dispositif of a judgment in a few cases. The first case in which the Court did so was the La Grand case (Germany v the US) 2001. That was the first case in which the Court held that provisional measures orders were legally binding, and it is only since that judgment that the Court has included declarations of non-compliance with provisional measures in the dispositifs of judgments. Massimo Lando and Niccolò are also right that the Request for Interpretation of the Avena Judgment (Mexico v US); the Armed Activities case (DRC v Uganda); and the Bosnia Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v Serbia and Montenegro) case are other cases where the Court has found non-compliance with provisional measures. Indeed, it seems to be the case that, since LaGrand, in the majority of judgments dealing with cases where the Court has ordered provisional measures, it has subsequently made findings of violations of its interim orders. Two cases where the ICJ has not, in that time period since LaGrand, made such findings are the Land and Maritime Boundary (Cameroon v Nigeria) case (2002) and the Request for Interpretation of the Judgment in the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand) case (2013). By my count that makes it 5 cases of findings of non-compliance with 2 cases of no such finding. These are not encouraging statistics regarding compliance with provisional measures!

Which Cases have been Joined?

Question 2 asked “In which proceedings have cases before the International Court been joined?” Niccolò was correct in referring to the South West Africa cases (Liberia & Ethiopia v South Africa) and the North Sea Continental Shelf cases (Federal Republic of Germany/Denmark; Federal Republic of Germany/Netherlands). Those were indeed the two cases where the ICJ has formally joined proceedings (I later realized that I had made a gaffe in my earlier post in referring to this press release as the answer to the question was made plain there).  Read the rest of this entry…

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Announcements: CfP Adjudicating International Trade and Investment Disputes; CfP Regional Approaches to International Adjudication; CfP DEBACLES – Illusions and Failures in the History of International Adjudication; Conference on Non-State Actors; Judge Rosas Conversation at City University; Research Fellow – International Humanitarian Law; Representations of the (Extra)territorial Conference; 1st Annual Conference on Energy Arbitration and Dispute Resolution in the Middle East and Africa;

Published on January 17, 2016        Author: 

1. Call for Papers – Adjudicating International Trade and Investment Disputes. PluriCourts, Center of Excellence for the Study of the Legitimacy of International Courts and Tribunals at the University of Oslo will host a conference from 25 – 26 August 2016 on “Adjudicating International Trade and Investment Disputes: Between Interaction and Isolation”. A call for papers has been issued for the conference across the disciplines of law, political science, and philosophy relating to three themes: the new mega-regionals, comparisons and practices, and cross-fertilization and learning. Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted by 1 March 2016. Further details can be found here.

2. Call for Papers – Regional Approaches to International Adjudication. A call for papers for the second joint meeting of ASIL Interest Group on International Courts and Tribunals (ASIL ICTIG) and ESIL Interest Group on International Courts (ESIL ICTIG) has been announced. The joint meeting will take place in Washington, D.C. during ASIL’s annual meeting (30 March-3 April 2016) (exact time and date to be confirmed). Abstracts are requested describing unpublished works (original and ongoing research) on the theme of  “Regional Approaches to International Adjudication”. Current (2016) members of either ASIL ICTIG and ESIL ICTIG, at any level of their careers, are invited to submit abstracts. Abstracts must not exceed 500 words, and must be submitted to geir.ulfstein {at} jus.uio(.)no and ngrossman {at} ubalt(.)edu. Deadline for submissions is 1 February 2016. Along with the abstract, please include the author’s name and affiliation, a short author’s CV and whether the author is an ESIL ICTIG member or an ASIL ICTIG member, or both

3.  Call for papers – “DEBACLES – Illusions and Failures in the History of International Adjudication”. The Department of International Law and Dispute Resolution of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law launches a call for papers for the Research Workshop “DEBACLES – Illusions and Failures in the History of International Adjudication/ Illusions et échecs dans l’histoire de la juridiction internationale”. The purpose of the DEBACLES project is to share cutting-edge research on specific failed attempts to create and operate international judicial forums as well as on broader historical/theoretical issues related to such failures. For more information, please read the call for papers. Read the rest of this entry…

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Targeting Child Soldiers

Published on January 12, 2016        Author: 

Despite the numerous volume on child soldiers in legal literature over the last few decades, very little has been said on targeting child soldiers. It seems to be something international lawyers would rather not talk about. The fact that legal literature doesn’t say much about targeting child soldiers doesn’t mean that no such practice exists, or that soldiers haven’t discuss the matter. In 2002, the US Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory organised a ‘Cultural Intelligence Seminar’ on the implication of child soldiering for US forces. One trigger for that discussion was the fact that the very first US soldier killed in Afghanistan reportedly was a Special Forces Sergeant shot by a 14-year-old boy. The year before, in Sierra Leone, a squad from the Royal Irish Regiment was taken prisoner by a group consisting mostly of armed children called the West Side Boys, as the British soldiers were hesitant to open fire. After they had been held hostage for two weeks, an assault was launched by an SAS unit supported by suppression fire from helicopters, leading to between 25 to 150 dead among the West Side Boys. Finally, during the civil war in Sri Lanka, a Government aircraft bombed what was deemed an LTTE training camp, killing a reported 61 minors, mostly girls. Although the LTTE was widely known to use child soldiers, and the specific facts were contested, the Sri Lanka Government was adamant that if a child took up arms, then he or she could be targeted and killed.

The phenomenon of child soldiers remains widespread, and their activities does include direct participation in hostilities. It is imperative that international humanitarian law provide guidance as to what opposing forces can do if they are confronted with that reality. In this piece, I suggest that there are elements in international humanitarian law that support adapting a child-specific approach to targeting. Under this approach, the fact that a potential target is a child should prima facie raise a doubt as to whether he or she is targetable. Although the doubt may be dissipated in light of available facts, overcoming the presumption of civilian status might require more than would be the case for an adult. In addition, even if a child is deemed targetable, the allowable means and methods must nevertheless reflect the protected status of children in international law. Read the rest of this entry…

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Immunity of Heads of State on the Retreat

Published on January 11, 2016        Author: 

On December 31st, the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library tweeted that its most popular item of 2015 was my book entitled “Immunity of Heads of State and State Officials for International Crimes”.

The tweet immediately led to an intense controversy on Twitter and to a number of articles (here or here). Many commentators suggested that the book has been popular because diplomats were looking for ways to protect themselves or their bosses. Some also claimed that it was a poor sign for the United Nations. The news website Vox wrote: “The UN is full of delegates representing awful dictatorships, and the book that got checked out the most from the UN library was about … how to be immune from war crimes prosecution. That does not seem like a good thing!”

Numerous commentators jumped to the conclusion that the book was some sort of recipe to escape prosecution for international crimes. But in fact, rather than for criminal dictators, the book is for committed prosecutors and judges. In particular, it contains a detailed analysis of the relevant customary international law. Read the rest of this entry…

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Curriculum Vitae: A Prequel | The Video

Published on January 10, 2016        Author: 

Earlier this week, we reproduced in two posts on EJIL:Talk! Roger O’Keefe’s insighful and hilarious Inaugural Lecture, delivered at UCL at the end of 2015. It is now available as an online video.

In his inaugural lecture, Professor O’Keefe teases out some recurrent international legal problems through the story of the life and opinions of D. H. G. H.-G. Salamander, lesser highly qualified publicist and minor poet.

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Announcements: UGa Endowed Professorship

Published on January 9, 2016        Author: 
1. The University of Georgia School of Law invites applications for a full endowed professorship in international law beginning August of 2016. Applicants should be able to join the faculty at the rank of full professor. They should have a J.D. from an accredited university or its foreign equivalent, superior academic credentials and demonstrated excellence in scholarship and teaching. Applications received by February 1, 2016 are assured of consideration. All interested persons should submit a curriculum vitae, including scholarly publications, with a letter of interest to the Law School.
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Trivia Competition: Provisional Measures and Joinder of Cases at the International Court of Justice

Published on January 8, 2016        Author: 

A few years ago I began the practice of asking on this blog – every now and again – trivia question relating to international law, with the questions focusing mainly on the practice of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and other international tribunals. Unfortunately, I have not done this in quite a while. You can find previous questions (and answers) here or by viewing the EJIL:Trivia category in the list of categories on the right hand column of the blog. Last month, the International Court of Justice delivered its Judgment in the joined cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) and Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica). This judgment and the cases provide me with an opportunity to ask a set of trivia questions relating to the ICJ.

On this occasion, we will offer a prize to one respondent. The person who provides the most correct answers will win a free subscription to the European Journal of International Law for 2016. In the case of a tie, the first person to provide their answers will be the winner.

In the Costa Rica v. Nicaragua case, the Court found that “Nicaragua has breached the obligations incumbent upon it under the Order indicating provisional measures issued by the Court on 8 March 2011”. This is a relatively rare finding by the Court that a party has breached a provisional measures Order indicated by the Court earlier in that case. This finding was not merely made in passing but was recorded in the dispositif of the judgment. My first question is a perhaps an easy one:

1) In what other case has the Court made a finding in the dispositif of a judgment that a party has breached a provisional measures order made by the Court?

The rest of my questions relate to joinder of cases at the ICJ. The Costa Rica v Nicaragua and Nicaragua v Costa Rica cases began as separate proceedings which were joined together by the Court in 2013 (see this press release). Under Article 47 of the Rules of the ICJ,

The Court may at any time direct that the proceedings in two or more cases be joined. It may also direct that the written or oral proceedings, including the calling of witnesses, be in common;  or the Court may, without effecting any formal joinder, direct common action in any of these respects.”

There are not too many cases that have been joined by the Court and my second question is this:

2) In which proceedings have cases before the International Court been joined?

Read the rest of this entry…

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The Establishment of a Special Court against Terrorism

Published on January 7, 2016        Author: 

The possibility of establishing an International Court against Terrorism is not entirely new, and has been addressed by scholars. However, the idea has recently regained momentum as a result of a joint Romanian-Spanish initiative (summarised here). In a recent event held at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut organised by the authors of this post, this possibility was thoroughly discussed. While indubitably commendable on the political level, such effort will face some very challenging legal issues. The aim of this post is to give a succinct account of these issues.

To begin with, a Special Court against Terrorism (SCT) will be confronted with a major question concerning its jurisdiction ratione materiae. What are the acts that would fall under its jurisdiction? What are the constitutive elements of a terrorist act subject to the SCT’s jurisdiction? Indeed, this issue is connected with a vexed question of international law, namely the definition of terrorism. As is well known, there is no generally accepted definition of terrorism under general international law. The perpetration of terrorist acts during wartime is (at least in part) covered by the law of armed conflict. Those acts may amount to war crimes in case of serious violations of international humanitarian law. The rules applicable to terrorist acts perpetrated in times of peace are more uncertain. The numerous UN conventions on terrorism only apply if the conduct in question falls under the relevant sector covered (e.g. nuclear terrorism).

The most famous attempt to define terrorism in times of peace in a general manner has been made by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Read the rest of this entry…

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