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Most Read Posts in 2019

Published on January 2, 2020        Author: 

Happy New Year to our readers! We wish you a wonderful 2020 and thank you for reading the blog in 2019. Below is a list of the 20 posts that received the most views in 2019. An interesting observation is that most of these posts relate to developments in international tribunals: the International Court of Justice; the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights, and also the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the Human Rights Committee. Some of these post focus on specific cases (eg, Chagos and Gambia v Myanmar at the ICJ, Bashir at the ICC, the Burqa Ban cases at the ECtHR/ HRC, Detention of Three Ukranian Naval Vessels at ITLOS), while others focus on broader institutional issues at these courts. The list highlights the attention that was given to the brilliant series of posts by our Contributing Editor, Douglas Guilfoyle, on the problems faced by the ICC, with no less than three of those posts making the top 20 most read posts. From several conversations with key court watchers and officials, I had the sense that those posts were highly influential in crystallising the sense that something needs to be done about what seemed to be impending crisis of confidence with regard to the Court. Google Analytics confirms that the breadth of influence in terms of numbers of readers. 

We would like to thank all those who contributed posts in 2019! Read the rest of this entry…

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Favourite Readings 2019 – Recommendations for Vacation Reading

Published on December 17, 2019        Author: 

 

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 Sarah Nouwen. You can read all the posts in this series here.

 

The timing of this series of book recommendations reveals the idea behind it: books for the holidays. In a time of year when part of the professional world temporarily slows down, as though taking a deep breath for the year that is to come, the meaning of vacation can correspond with its etymological roots –vacare, ‘being unoccupied’, thus leaving time and headspace to nourish the brain and soul with the words of others. In this period of reflection on what was, and anticipation of what is to come, I crave books about how life is given meaning, in whatever form or way. In practice, however, the ‘vacation’ is often pretty filled: with chopping vegetables, wrapping gifts, seeing friends and family, and unpacking the dishwasher, leaving little time for the pile of books that I have been longing to take up. Under these circumstances, I need a list of recommendations not for what to read myself, but for what to give to others, or, even better, what to share with others. Thus, here follows a rather mixed bag, a bag for friends and family. As always, the first presents are for the younger generations (whether budding lawyers or not).

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Favourite Readings 2019 – Couch Vacation

Published on December 16, 2019        Author: 

 

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 Johann Justus VaselYou can read all the posts in this series here.

 

When reflecting towards the end of the year on the piles of essays and books one has waded through, my limited powers of recollection force me to think that many works are ephemeral or at least fungible. So what was actually a “good read”? It’s hard to spell out the criteria, and maybe the term is also misleading. In my understanding a work qualifies to be a “good read” if I deem it to have a larger and lasting impact, if it changes or enriches my perspective. This year I selected three books from the political science arena, but they all elucidate important legal aspects. I hope that you will find them as meaningful as I do.

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New EJIL: Live! Interview with Hala Khoury-Bisharat and Michael A. Becker

Published on December 15, 2019        Author: 

 

In this episode of EJIL: Live! Sarah Nouwen, Editor-in-Chief of EJIL, speaks with Hala Khoury-Bisharat, Lecturer in law, Ono Academic College School of Law, Haifa, Israel and Michael A. Becker, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Trinity College Dublin, about the Symposium on International Commissions of Inquiry, which appears in EJIL’s 30:3 issue. Michael Becker first speaks about the motivation of the organizers – Doreen Lustig of Tel Aviv University, Sarah Nouwen and himself – to develop a project on Commissions of Inquiry (CoIs) and more specifically why they framed the project in terms of the difference that such commissions make. Hala Khoury-Bisharat then introduces her case study in the Symposium on the Goldstone Inquiry in Israel and the unintended backlash effects it produced for human rights organizations in the country. As the first Palestinian Israeli woman to hold a professorial position in Israel, she then elaborates, on a more personal note, on the obstacles that she, as a member of a minority in Israel, had to face and overcome in her career. The interview concludes with some reflections by Michael Becker on the possible future directions for international commissions of inquiry. The interview was recorded at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. Thanks are given to the Lauterpacht Centre and to Pembroke College, Cambridge, for making the filming possible.

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Favourite Readings 2019 – What IS the Real Price of Development?

Published on December 13, 2019        Author: 

 

 

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 Diane Desierto. You can read all the posts in this series here.

 

Do communities and populations have any means of knowing what the real price is of the development decisions made on their behalf by their respective States? Are they always just doomed to reckon with seeking redress after-the-fact for any negative externalities that result from these development decisions (e.g. environmental, health, climate change, labor, alongside a whole host of human rights impacts from these development decisions), resorting to a variably asymmetric (and quite imperfect) spectrum of local, regional, or international dispute settlement processes?  These questions were foremost in my mind throughout 2019, especially given the responsibility of working with fellow Experts for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Development with respect to the consultation process and drafting of the legally binding instrument on the Right to Development. Likewise, in a year when the Nobel Prize (technically the Bank of Sweden Prize) for Economics was awarded to development economists Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee, and Michael Kremer (who pioneered the export of Randomized Control Trials (RCT) methods in medical research into experiments on human subjects (mostly the poor) to determine the efficacy of development-funded interventions, but generally without such RCTs being conducted using any universal or global code of ethics), what has been argued by Duflo et al. as the relative end of poverty visibly exemplified by the Chinese model of development (an amalgam of ‘authoritarian capitalism’,“market authoritarianism”, or “capitalism with Chinese characteristics”) certainly provokes much rethinking into what development is under international law, and what costs States can legally and legitimately incur to realize that development. 

Most importantly, at a time when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued various reports pointing to the rapid escalation of environmental risks for the entire planet (see 2019 reports on increased risks given climate change impacts on the oceans and cryosphere, land, and global warming of 1.5 degree Celsius) alongside magnified (and often more open) violations (if not dismissals) of human rights around the world (see human rights global reports here, here, and here), can States’ decision-makers still afford to craft development plans without putting the question of negative externalities from development projects at the forefront of policymaking?

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New Issue of EJIL (Vol. 30 (2019) No. 3) – Now Published

Published on December 12, 2019        Author: 

 

The latest issue of the European Journal of International Law (Vol. 30 (2019) No. 3) is now out. As usual, the table of contents of the new issue is available at EJIL’s own website, where readers can access those articles that are freely available without subscription. The free access article in this issue is Paz Andrés Sáenz de Santa María’s The European Union and the Law of Treaties: A Fruitful RelationshipEJIL subscribers have full access to the latest issue of the journal at EJIL’s Oxford University Press site. Apart from articles published in the last 12 months, EJIL articles are freely available on the EJIL website.

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Favourite Readings 2019 – Industry? What Industry?

Published on December 12, 2019        Author: 

 

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 Jan Klabbers. You can read all the posts in this series here.

 

Looking back, I notice I have read a surprisingly large number of really good books this year, and from a variety of disciplines too. Still, it is a rather damning indictment of the current state of the academic industry that the most memorable works I have read this year have had no relationship whatsoever to formal notions of research projects”, funding schemes”, grant applications”, principal investigators”, or any other manifestation of the competitive bureaucratization of academic work in recent decades.

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EJIL Vol. 30 (2019) No. 3: In this Issue

Published on December 11, 2019        Author: 

 

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…

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Favourite Readings 2019 – Closing an Uneasy Decade with Rhythm and Blues

Published on December 11, 2019        Author: 

 

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 Michal Saliternik. You can read all the posts in this series here.

 

We are closing the second decade of the twenty-first century without seeing much progress in addressing this century’s most daunting problems, including violent conflicts, social inequality, environmental degradation, and the decline of democracy. My good reads for the past year deal with these problems from different perspectives and methodological approaches within several genres. Together, they take the reader to a journey between the small details and the big picture; between the past and the future; between the heart and the mind; between despair and hope.

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On My Way Out – Advice to Young Scholars VI: WeakPoint, On the Uses and Abuses of PowerPoint

Published on December 10, 2019        Author: 

 

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…

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