Sadly, the great polemicist died yesterday from cancer. While he had a strong opinion about everything, including issues of international law, and thus not infrequently came across as a dilettante, he was still an unparalled debater and public speaker with a superb sense of humor. He was also utterly fearless – think only of his Missionary Position book challenging the myth of mother Theresa. His last article in Vanity Fair, written only a few weeks before his passing, is above all a very human look at the imminent prospect of death. And he’s left us with gems like these:
Legality of Veto to NATO Accession: Comment on the ICJ’s Decision in the Dispute between fYR Macedonia and Greece
On Monday, the International Court of Justice delivered its judgment in the curious case between ‘the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ (hereinafter: ‘fYR Macedonia’) and the ‘Hellenic Republic’ (hereinafter: ‘Greece’). In this case, fYR Macedonia (appearing before the ICJ for the first time) complained that Greece, in objecting to fYR Macedonia being invited to join NATO in 2008, had violated its obligation under the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995 ‘not to object’ to fYR Macedonia joining any international organizations, as long as it applied under its ‘provisional designation’ provided for in Security Council Resolution 817 (1993). The judgment brings up many interesting questions. Apart from matters of jurisdiction and admissibility, perhaps the most interesting issues in the Court’s judgment are (i) its approach to treaty conflicts; (ii) the relationship between the grounds for termination of treaties under the law of treaties and defences available under the law of state responsibility; and (iii) its elucidation of the obligation to negotiate in good faith. Some of these points are taken up after a brief introduction to the dispute.
I. Background to the Dispute
The background to the case before the ICJ is a much older, long-running dispute between the two States as to fYR Macedonia’s name. It is a dispute in which national(istic) sentiment runs high on both sides, and this has caused it to be blown out of all proportion and to have lingered for way too long. ‘Macedonia’ is the name of a historical and geographical region that extends mainly between Greece, Bulgaria, and fYR Macedonia (the precise percentages, if there can be such a thing, depend on who you ask—historical Macedonia was never precisely delimited, as one would no doubt expect). It is also the name of an administrative region in northern Greece, and it was the name of a constituent republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which, upon the SFRY’s dissolution, hoped to continue using the name it had as a constituent entity.
Greece took exception to the use of the name of one of its administrative regions and the irredentist claims made in the fYR Macedonian constitution and by the fYR Macedonian authorities in an attempt to galvanize national solidarity in the midst of a civil war. It responded with several forceful (if non-forcible) measures on the international level, blocking the small country’s accession to international organizations and imposing economic sanctions (for more details see here). Attempts were made to normalize the relationship between the two States in the autumn of 1995, with the adoption of an Interim Accord. The 1995 Interim Accord, besides its unique language (it refers to Greece and fYR Macedonia as the ‘party of the first part’ and the ‘party of second part’ respectively, following which the Court refers to the two States as the ‘respondent’ and ‘applicant’ throughout the judgment), established a number of obligations for the two States: fYR Macedonia had to cease using a symbol that Greece considered part of its cultural patrimony, for example, and undertook that nothing in its constitution could be interpreted as an irredentist claim (Arts 7(2) and 6); both parties had to cease any propaganda, etc, and to negotiate in good faith as to fYR Macedonia’s definitive name (Arts 7(1) and 5(1)); and Greece, for its part, agreed not to object to fYR Macedonia’s applications to join international organizations, as long as the latter applied under the provisional designation stated in para 2 of Security Council Resolution 817 (1993), namely as ‘the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ (Art 11(1)). The ‘artist formerly known as Prince’, who also changed his name in 1993, did not bother commenting on this development—as an aside it is worth noting that Prince did resolve the issues with himself about his name in 2000.
It is this last provision that led to fYR Macedonia’s application to the ICJ. fYR Macedonia had been hoping to be invited to accede to NATO during the 2008 Bucharest Summit—under its provisional designation (fYR Macedonia) as envisaged in the Interim Accord, just as it had joined a number of other international organizations previously. Such invitation was not extended, however, and fYR Macedonia accused Greece of objecting to its accession to NATO. It filed an application with the ICJ, alleging that Greece had violated its obligation not to object under Art 11(1) of the Interim Accord, given that fYR Macedonia had sought to accede to NATO under its provisional designation. Read the rest of this entry…
Programme : Centre for Studies and Research in International Law and International Relations
The Centre is designed to bring together young international lawyers of a high standard from all over the world, to undertake original research on a common general theme which is determined each year by the Academy. The research work undertaken at the Centre may be included in a collective work published by the Academy.
There are between 20 and 24 participants, half in the English-speaking section and half in the French-speaking section.
Organisation : The Hague Academy of International Law
Topic: Criminal Acts at Sea
Period: 20 August – 7 September, 2012
Venue : Peace Palace, The Hague Netherlands
Directors of Studies:
French-speaking section: Dr. Kimberley N. TRAPP, Lecturer at Newnham College, University of Cambridge
English-speaking section: Dr. Douglas GUILFOYLE, Lecturer at University College London
Fee : free of charge, each participant receives a daily allowance of 35 euros according to the length of the stay and the reimbursement of half of the travel expenses, up to a maximum of 910 euros.
Application : online registration form, deadline to register : April 1st 2012
The BBC is reporting that the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of the Cote d’Ivoire, and indeed that he is already on his way to the Hague. Gbagbo will be the first former head of state to sit in the ICC’s dock.
Christian Tams writes that the University of Glasgow School of Law is advertizing a lectureship in international law – readers can find the details here. Glasgow is not only an excellent school, but is particularly strong in international law; potential candidates are encouraged to apply.
The Hague Court of Appeal on Dutchbat at Srebrenica Part 1: A Narrow Finding on the Responsibilities of Peacekeepers
Tom Dannenbaum is a Graduate Associate in the Law and Public Affairs Program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is author of Translating the Standard of Effective Control into a System of Effective Accountability: How Liability Should be Apportioned for Violations of Human Rights by Member State Troop Contingents Serving as United Nations Peacekeepers, 51 Harv. Int’l L.J. 113 (2010)
This summer, the Dutch Court of Appeal in The Hague issued simultaneous and almost identical rulings in two crucial lawsuits regarding the actions of U.N. peacekeepers during the Srebrenica genocide – Nuhanović v. The Netherlands and Mustafić-Mujić et al v. The Netherlands. The cases involve civil claims with respect to the deaths of four Bosnian civilians in the Srebrenica genocide. The victims were killed by Bosnian Serb forces after being evicted by the Dutch battalion (Dutchbat) of UNPROFOR from the U.N. compound at Potočari on the 13th of July 1995. The Court of Appeal decided that Dutchbat acted unlawfully in evicting two of the male victims, that this triggered legal responsibility for the deaths of all three male victims (but not the sole female victim), and that the wrongs could be attributed to the Netherlands.
In this post, I provide a brief description of the procedural and factual background to the case and address the legal issue of Dutchbat’s wrongdoing. Later this week, I will address the potentially more consequential issue of the attribution of that wrongdoing to the Dutch state.
The Court’s analysis of Dutchbat’s wrongdoing has two key features. First, the Court applied human rights obligations abroad. However, it did not do so by finding the relevant treaties to have extraterritorial effect. Instead, it found (i) that the ICCPR had been incorporated into the domestic law of the host state (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and (ii) that the relevant provisions of the ICCPR and ECHR were rules of customary international law that were binding extraterritorially (whether or not the treaty obligations themselves would extend abroad). Second, the ruling characterized Dutchbat’s wrongdoing narrowly: (i) relying on the eviction of the victims from the U.N. compound, not on any responsibility to protect those already outside the compound, and (ii) noting that since the victims were the last persons to be evicted, the judgment provided no indication of whether earlier evictions would have been unlawful (the probable consequences of eviction having become more apparent to Dutchbat over time). Read the rest of this entry…
We are sad to report the passing of Antonio Cassese, one of the greatest international lawyers of his generation and one of the EJIL’s founders. Nino worked tirelessly despite his illness almost until the end, having resigned as president of the STL just a few weeks ago. Few scholars have had as much impact, or were so gracious towards others. He will be missed.
The European Society of International Law has announced a call for papers for the Valencia conference in September 2012 (note that there has been a slight change of dates with regard to what was previously advertised). The PDF of the call for papers with all off the relevant deadlines and information is here: CfP English.