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On the ILC, professional background, gender and positivism: A Rejoinder to Jan Klabbers

In “Codification by Interpretation”: The International Law Commission as an Interpreter of International Law, I argue that the United Nations (‘UN’) International Law Commission (‘ILC’) interprets international law; interpretation falls squarely within the ILC’s mandate; the ILC’s interpretative pronouncements can trigger an interpretative dialogue with States whose reactions can lead to ‘authoritative interpretations’; and ‘codification by interpretation’, especially in relation to the law of treaties, may be explained by the ILC’s vision to reinforce international law by instilling the rules on ‘law-making’ with clarity and certainty over time, thus convincing States to continue to use international law as a means for regulating international affairs. This last point is a significant endeavour at a time when some States seem increasingly keen to depart from multilateralism. Jan Klabbers, in the same issue of EJIL, has commented on my article. I dispel his misunderstanding of my argument in a Letter to the Editors in a forthcoming issue of EJIL. However, Klabbers also asks (I paraphrase bluntly): why should we listen to the ILC? And urges…

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The United Nations and the Third Geneva Convention

This post is part of a joint blog symposium with the Humanitarian Law and Policy Blog and Just Security exploring the new ICRC Commentary on the Third Geneva Convention. See below for other posts in the symposium. This post discusses the role of the United Nations in ensuring…

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The Failure to Pursue the Mandates of International Organizations in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

This blogpost is a reaction to the last episode of EJIL: The Podcast!, in which the brilliant discussion on the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the pandemic ended up with the perennial question of accountability. As contended by Gian Luca Burci, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown once again that international organizations are ideal scapegoats.

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The Myth and Mayhem of ‘Build Back Better’: Human Rights Decision-Making and Human Dignity Imperatives in COVID-19

Human rights were already under siege everywhere around the world before COVID-19.  But there is also a dawning race now against reaching the ‘twilight of human rights law’, due to: 1) authoritarian regimes’ dismissal of the relevance of human rights while using this pandemic to expand and consolidate their power, such as to silence speech,…

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COVID-19, Consent and Coercion: New United Nations Guidance on Less Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement in the context of the coronavirus

Thirty years have elapsed since the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (Basic Principles) were first adopted. Yet, as UN Human Rights Experts express concern about police killings and violence in the context of COVID-19 emergency measures, and law enforcement officials  around the world are reported to…

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