The first section of this issue includes three articles. The first article, by Paz Andrés Sáenz de Santa María, examines the treaty-making practice of the European Union (EU) from an international law perspective. Contrary to the view that international treaty law is ill-suited to deal with distinct legal actors such as the EU, this article shows that international treaty law has been a useful and flexible mechanism to fulfil the objectives of the EU’s external relations. At the same time, EU treaty-making practice and adjudication have contributed to the development of international treaty law. The article highlights the main features of this mutually constructive relationship, while also pointing to some challenges that need to be addressed.
The second article, by Vera Shikhelman, assesses the implementation of the decisions of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) in individual communications. Drawing on an analysis of original empirical data, the article identifies the main factors that influence state compliance with HRC decisions. Arguably, these findings can also shed light on state cooperation with other international human rights institutions.
In the third article, Máximo Langer and Mackenzie Eason challenge the prevailing perception that universal jurisdiction is in decline. They conduct a worldwide survey to show that universal jurisdiction has actually been invisibly but persistently expanding in terms of quantity, frequency, and geographical spread. They then suggest some explanations for this trend and assess its merits and pitfalls. Read the rest of this entry…
I have most certainly reached the final phase of my academic and professional career and as I look back I want to offer, for what it is worth, some dos and don’ts on different topics to younger scholars in the early phases of theirs. This is the sixth instalment and regards that staple of academic life: PowerPoint.
There is a concept in Jewish law called ‘Fencing’ (Seyag). It is a prophylactic; a new prohibition is decreed, which is not, in and of itself, biblically based but is introduced in the interest of protecting people from inadvertently committing an infraction of a divine commandment or in order to prevent people from entering into a danger zone of temptation. Here is a trivial example: the recitation of one’s nightly prayers can (and should) take place during the night. Night time lasts, surely, until daybreak – just before dawn. One o’clock in the morning is surely still night time. The Rabbis decreed a ‘Fence’ and fixed a deadline of midnight. ‘A man’, they reasoned, ‘will return home, and say to himself: I’ll eat a little bit, and drink a little bit, and sleep a little bit – and then recite my prayers. [After all, I have all night ahead of me]. He ends up sleeping all night and missing his nightly prayers.’
I have imposed on myself a Fence: No PowerPoint at all (for that matter, no FaceBook, Twitter or Instagram). It is an extreme (im)position, which I am not suggesting others should adopt. However, I am advocating a far more prudent and discerning use of PowerPoint.
The technology was originally developed for the American corporate world, driven by an ethos in which time is money – cut it short, get to the point – and in which presentation trumps deliberation, decisiveness trumps doubt, and communication is oftentimes in the command mode. Read the rest of this entry…
EJIL’s Editor-in-Chief Joseph Weiler has written a series of editorials titled ‘On My Way Out’, providing advice to young scholars. I’ve always read these with great interest, considering myself squarely in the target audience. That has not changed now that I have joined him as an Editor-in-Chief of this most inspiring journal. I am very much still on my way in, although into what continues to surprise. ‘Not a single dull day at EJIL’, Joseph had promised me. He has not disappointed.
Continuing in the EJIL tradition of being as transparent as possible about the editorial process, let me share with you a few experiences as a fresh Editor-in-Chief. I hope this newcomer’s view from behind the scenes will complement the official accounts and statistics that EJIL already provides.
Unsurprisingly, the core of the job has been an enormous amount of reading. Every few weeks, the Editors-in-Chief receive a pack of over 1000 pages: new submissions, peer review reports, road maps for revisions, revised submissions, peer review reports of revised manuscripts, final submissions. Reading all of these pages is a great way to learn about emerging research areas, different styles of scholarly writing and wide-ranging approaches to peer reviewing (ranging from the rather unhelpful conclusion-only assessments to truly impressive engagement with an author’s work and detailed suggestions for improving it).
Perhaps the best and most educative part of the job has been discussing all of these articles and reports with the Associate Editors and the other Editor-in-Chief. Meeting virtually, some of us with a double espresso because in their time zone it is 6 am, we analyse each and every piece of writing. What is exciting about this article? What does the article allow us to see or understand that was not known already? Will it still be read in five years’ time? Have we recently published on the same topic? How could the argument be made clearer? Who would be in a good position to peer review in this particular area? Is the reviewer’s issue with the article one of quality or one of not liking the argument or approach? Does the author’s revision road map address the issues raised by the reviewer? Has the second, third, or even fourth version of the submission addressed all previous concerns? Read the rest of this entry…
As in previous years, EJIL’s Review Editor, Christian J. Tams, has invited EJIL board members and (associate) editors to offer short reflections on their favourite books of the year 2019. No strict rules apply — the posts are meant to introduce books that left an impression, irrespective of their genre. Today we have selections from Joseph Weiler. You can read all the posts in this series here.
It is the time of year once more when I publish my pick from some of the books that came my way since my last “Good Reads” listing. These are not book reviews in the classical and rigorous sense of the word, for which you should turn to our Book Review section. I do not attempt to analyze or critique, but rather to explain why the books appealed to me and why I think you, too, may find them not only well worth reading but enjoyable, good reads.
Anthony Julius, Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England (OUP, 2010)
The EU – A Community of Fate, at Last
I have great sympathy for the outburst of Donald Tusk on special places in Hell. I believe I was just as harsh or even worse in writing about the Cameron folly. At the time of writing, the final act in the Brexit farce is still unfolding. I am one of those Europeans who genuinely regret the departure of the United Kingdom – and I am not thinking just of the material consequences, as most are prone to do. A Europe without the UK is diminished. But I also respect the sovereign decision of the British people and, equally, I will of course respect a sovereign decision to change course, should that happen. Responsibility for the current shambles rests primarily on the very issue which so taxed Tusk: going into the referendum without any serious governmental assessment of the hows and whats and whens.
Some responsibility also falls on the Union. I thought that the decision to postpone any discussion of future relations before the divorce terms were settled wasted a precious year of joint reflection, negotiations and preparations. I thought then and still think that there was no reason not to run both tracks in parallel so as to avoid the very crunch that we now face. In private, some European leaders have admitted such to me.
And finally, I continue to find it not credible that the combined public authorities of the Union, the UK and the Republic of Ireland cannot come up with a Frontstop solution on the lines proposed here, thus diffusing the most explosive stumbling block for some semblance of an orderly exit. Read the rest of this entry…
Some things never seem to change. It was, I believe, with a keen eye on emerging talent, that we published Martti Koskeniemmi as the lead article in Volume I, Issue 1 of EJIL. We thought it was appropriate when we celebrated our 20th anniversary to invite him to revisit what had by then become a classic. And for our 30th anniversary we had known for some time that we would invite Koskenniemi to be the author of our annual Foreword article. Have we lost our keen eye for emerging talent? I do not think so (see our Vital Statistics below). Koskeniemmi is like a good wine or spirit that loses nothing of its bite and yet offers a particular savour and mellowness as it ages.
We debated how to mark EJIL’s 30th anniversary: after all, we published a special issue at 20 and another celebration at 25. I looked at my Editorial for our EJIL at 20 issue. In some ways, it is a bit like all living creatures. There is something in their defining characteristics that remains constant. There is not much that I would add to that Editorial.
Still, there has been some innovation in the last 10 years: Think EJIL: Talk! (celebrating its 10th Anniversary) EJIL: Live!, The Foreword, Roaming Charges and the Last Page, the Debates, and more.
For the sake of nostalgia we reproduce here the earliest letter we can find from the birth of EJIL. Please be sitting when you take a look and kindly suppress the guffaws. (Yes, what happened to the English/French idea…?) It was all in earnest and good faith. But has your life turned out to be as your parents thought and maybe hoped when you were born? Read the rest of this entry…
This issue opens, as noted in the introductory Editorial, EJIL at 30, with Martti Koskenniemi’s Foreword.
In our Articles section Valentina Vadi focuses on the evolving field of international legal history, exploring the adequate scale and perspective in this realm and stressing the importance of a pluralist, inclusive approach based on micro-histories in contrast to the still prevailing macro-histories. Hannah Woolaver analyses the intricate interplay between the domestic and international levels with regard to states’ treaty consent both in relation to treaty entry and exit. Focusing on three prominent examples – Brexit, the possible US abandonment of the Paris Agreement, and South Africa’s potential departure from the International Criminal Court, she fills a research lacuna regarding international legal recognition for domestic rules of treaty withdrawal and argues for an invalidation of withdrawal in the event of manifest violation of domestic law. Claire Jervis concludes this section with her article, which scrutinizes the questionable substantive-procedural dichotomy in international law. Taking the International Court of Justice’s famous Jurisdictional Immunities case as a starting point, she points towards the fallacies inherent in this binary approach.
We introduce a new occasional Series – The Theatre of International Law – with a piece by Lorenzo Gradoni and Luca Pasquet, ‘Dialogue concerning Legal Un-certainty and other Prodigies’. Further submissions in this vein are welcome. Read the rest of this entry…
There will be a major ‘Changing of the Guards’ next year with the departures of Juncker, Tusk and Draghi – each of them remarkable in their own way – from the leadership team of the European Union. The incoming team will be facing a Europe that poses unprecedented challenges. Commissioner Oettinger went as far as characterizing Europe as facing ‘mortal danger’ from both within and without. I don’t exactly share the doomsday predictions as regards the Union, but the international and internal challenges are truly immense and require leadership commensurate with such.
Here is my Dream Team to lead the Union in the face of these challenges:
President of the Commission: Frans Timmermans
President of the Council: Angela Merkel
President of the European Central Bank: Christine Lagarde
At this point many readers might be chortling. Not because they necessarily disagree that this would be a formidable team to face off the likes of Trump and Putin, Salvini and Orbán. Or to face the truly daunting socio-economic challenges of the Union. But rather because it seems to defy any realistic vision of the European politics of appointments. Does it really? Suspend your disbelief for just a while. Read the rest of this entry…
EJIL relies on the good will of colleagues in the international law community who generously devote their time and energy to act as peer reviewers for the large number of submissions we receive. Without their efforts our Journal would not be able to maintain the excellent standards to which we strive. A lion’s share of the burden is borne by members of our Boards, but we also turn to many colleagues in the broader community. We thank the following colleagues for their contribution to EJIL’s peer review process in 2018:
Dapo Akande, Karen Alter, Tilmann Altwicker, José Alvarez, Alberto Alvarez-Jiminez, Maria Aristodemou, Loïc Azoulai, Björnstjern Baade, Lorand Bartels, Eyal Benvenisti, Eric Brabandere, Eva Brems, Carl Bruch, Michelle Burgis-Kasthala, Laurence Burgorgue-Larsen, Julian Chaisse, Damian Chalmers, Hilary Charlesworth, Vincent Chetail, Sungjoon Cho, Carlos Closa, Lawrence Collins, Marise Cremona, Philipp Dann, Kevin Davis, Alex De Waal, Erika De Wet, Bruno De Witte, Rosalind Dixon, Megan Donaldson, Rochelle Dreyfuss, Christoph Engel, Eleanor Fox, Francesco Francioni, Ronald Francis, Geoff Gilbert, Kirsty Gover, Gerhard Haffner, Michaela Hailbronner, Jeffrey Handmaker, James Hathaway, Laurence Helfer, Ellen Hey, Bernard Hoekman, Stefan Inama, Aline Jaeckel, Henry Jones, Daniel Joyner, Victor Kattan, Thomas Kleinlein, Michele Krech, Claus Kress, Andreas Kulick, Jürgen Kurtz, Tobias Lenz, Randall Lesaffer, Itamar Mann, Nora Markard, Petros Mavroidis, Franz Mayer, John McCrudden, Frédéric Mégret, Paul Mertenskötter, Timothy Meyer, Angelika Nussberger, Christiana Ochoa, Alexander Orakhelashvili, Stefano Osella, Diane Otto, Sundhya Pahuja, Jacqueline Peel, Steven Peers, Oren Perez, Niels Petersen, Marcela Prieto Rudolphy, Alexander Proelss, Sergio Puig, Kate Purcell, Surabhi Ranganathan, Kal Raustiala, Anthea Roberts, Nicole Roughan, Ruth Rubio-Marín, Tom Ruys, Marco Sassòli, Cheryl Saunders, Abdulhay Sayed, Stephan Schill, Edward Schramm, Joanne Scott, Ayelet Shachar, Kirsten Schmalenbach, Yuval Shany, Dinah Shelton, Vera Shikhelman, Philip Steinberg, Paul Stephan, Thomas Streinz, Péter Szigeti, Paulos Tesfagiorgis, Christian Tomuschat, Michael Trebilcock, Charles Tripp, David M. Trubek, Gus Van Harten, Jorge Viñuales, Andreas von Arnauld, Jochen von Bernstorff, Tania Voon, Michael Waibel, Rüdiger Wolfram, Margaret Young, Eyal Zamir, David Zaring, Andreas Zimmermann.