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New EJIL: Live! Interview with Dr Veronika Fikfak

Published on February 15, 2019        Author: 
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In this episode of EJIL: Live! the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal, Professor Joseph Weiler, speaks with Dr Veronika Fikfak, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Cambridge, whose article “Changing State Behaviour: Damages before the European Court of Human Rights”, appears in EJIL’s 29:4 issue.

In her pioneering article, Dr Fikfak analyses the ECtHR’s practice of awarding damages. She and a team of researchers spent three years coding 12,000 decisions of the Court, seeking to understand which variables in a case – relating to the victim, the state and the events that occurred – affect the amount of damages awarded and subsequent compliance. In this conversation Dr Fikfak talks about her motivation for undertaking this study, the premises upon which it is based and the surprising results that emerged. The interview was recorded at the IE Law School, Madrid.

EJIL: Live! is the official podcast of the European Journal of International Law (EJIL), one of the world’s leading international law journals. Regular episodes of EJIL: Live! are released following the publication of each quarterly issue of the Journal, and include interviews with the authors of articles appearing in that issue as well as news and reviews when possible. Additional episodes, EJIL: Live! Extras, are also released from time to time to address a range of topical issues. Episodes of EJIL: Live! can be accessed via the EJIL website and this blog. Comments and reactions to EJIL:Live! episodes are welcome, and may be submitted below. 

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Strengthening Compliance with IHL: Back to Square One

Published on February 14, 2019        Author: 
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Between 2012-2015 a series of meetings with states were organised by the ICRC and the Swiss government in the framework of a consultation process aimed at Strengthening Compliance with IHL. This consultation process (discussed here) was based on Resolution 1 of the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IC), which invited the ICRC to undertake research, consultation and discussion with states in order to identify ways and means to ‘enhance and ensure the effectiveness of mechanisms of compliance with IHL’. During the meetings, consensus appeared to emerge on the possibility to create a new IHL compliance mechanism; a voluntary and non-politicized Meeting of States. This mechanism would provide a forum for dialogue and cooperation among states relating to IHL implementation and could serve as the institutional structure for other elements of a future compliance system, e.g. voluntary periodic reporting and thematic discussions. Unfortunately, states failed to agree on this new mechanism during the 32nd IC in 2015. Resolution 2 of the Conference therefore recommended that the intergovernmental process be continued in order to seek agreement on the features and functions of a potential forum of states.

The latest meeting of states in the context of this consultation process took place between the 3rd-5th December 2018, where states failed to reach consensus on the elements of this new IHL mechanism. States agreed that the ICRC and the Swiss Government will produce a ‘factual report’ on the progress of the inter-governmental process and will present it in the final formal meeting of States in March 2019. After that, the consultation process will be concluded bringing us back to square one. Given these developments, this blog post will discuss the existing compliance mechanisms under the 1949 Geneva Conventions (GCs) and Additional Protocol I (API) and assess their ability to monitor compliance with IHL.

First of all, it should be noted that there are no reporting obligations for states parties to the GCs and API, while meetings of the High Contracting Parties are only provided in API. Such meetings, which can be set up once approved by the majority of states parties to the Protocol, have never been convened. This is unfortunate considering that forums of exchange among states have proven pivotal to the adoption of additional supervisory mechanisms, particularly in the case of treaties with weak systems of compliance. This is the case for the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which only provided for a Review Conference designed to take place every five years; its Conferences were successful in establishing meetings of the High Contracting Parties and reporting obligations as additional layers of treaty supervision. Read the rest of this entry…

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New Issue of EJIL (Vol. 29 (2018) No. 4) Published Today

Published on February 13, 2019        Author: 
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The latest issue of the European Journal of International Law (Vol. 29, No. 4) is out today. 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 Veronika Fikfak’s Changing State Behaviour: Damages before the European Court of Human Rights. EJIL 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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The European Dream Team

Published on February 12, 2019        Author: 
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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…

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EJIL Roll of Honour

Published on February 12, 2019        Author: 
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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.

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EJIL Vol. 29 (2018) No. 4: In this Issue

Published on February 11, 2019        Author: 
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On 9 December 1948, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide – the first universal treaty of human rights – was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. This year marks its 70th anniversary and we pay tribute to its ‘founding father’, Raphael Lemkin, in this last issue of EJIL for 2018. Johann Justus Vasel preludes with a biographical vignette. In Roaming Charges we reproduce his recently discovered death certificate, and on the Last Page we feature a previously unpublished poem by Lemkin on the subject that haunted and drove him, ‘Genocide’. (We thank members of Raphael Lemkin’s family – Jane Lemkin, Peter Lemkin and Richard Lemkin – and friend, Nancy Steinson, for their kindness and generosity in sharing information with us.)

Jan Klabbers formally opens this issue with his Keynote Address on ‘Epistemic Universalism and the Melancholy of International Law’, delivered at the 2018 annual conference of the European Society of International Law, in which he diagnoses pathologies of international legal scholarship.

In our Afterword rubric, Lorna McGregor and Lorenzo Casini react to the EJIL Foreword ‘Upholding Democracy Amid the Challenges of New Technologies: What Role for the Law of Global Governance?’ by Eyal Benvenisti, published in our first issue of the year, and Benvenisti replies to his critics.

Following, we shift the focus to ‘New Voices’, with a selection of articles from the Sixth Annual Junior Faculty Forum for International Law. Veronika Fikfak, analyses how damages awarded by the European Court of Human Rights impact states’ behaviour. Drawing on (behavioural) economic analysis of law, she suggests new approaches on how to increase compliance. An Hertogen illuminates the conditions for analogical reasoning between domestic and international law. Ntina Tzouvala scrutinizes the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the emergence of statehood in the Balkans, tracing the ambivalent role of international law in constructing and containing ethnic nationalism. Building on Giorgio Agamben’s work, Daria Davitti, challenges the EU’s Agenda on Migration, contesting liquid, biopolitical borders and the evasion of international obligations by claiming an alleged state of exception resulting in mere humanitarian posturing of EU migration policies. Geoff Gordon reflects on the interrelationship between colonial practices, the global standardization of time, and transnational law. Read the rest of this entry…

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New Issue of EJIL (Vol. 29 (2018) No. 4) Out This Week

Published on February 11, 2019        Author: 
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The latest issue of the European Journal of International Law will be published this week. Over the coming days, we will have a series of editorial posts by Joseph Weiler, Editor in Chief of EJIL. These posts will appear in the Editorial of the new issue. 

Here is the Table of Contents for this new issue:

Otto Dix, Stoßtruppen gehen unter Gas vor, 1924

Editorial

Editorial: The European Dream Team; Nine Good Reads and One Viewing; EJIL Roll of Honour; In This Issue

Honouring Raphael Lemkin: The 70th Anniversary of the Genocide Convention

Johann Justus Vasel, ‘In the Beginning, There Was No Word …’

ESIL Keynote Address

Jan Klabbers, On Epistemic Universalism and the Melancholy of International Law Read the rest of this entry…

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Announcements: UN Audiovisual Library of International Law; CfA Correcting Inequality through Law; Leicester Law School Conference – Migrants’ Rights at a Crossroads; ASIL Roundtable on New Perspectives in International Legal Theory

Published on February 10, 2019        Author: 
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1. New Additions to the UN Audiovisual Library of International Law. The Codification Division of the Office of Legal Affairs recently added the following lectures to the Lecture Series of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law (AVL) website: Ms. Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi on “The International Criminal Court twenty years after its establishment: consolidation or decadence?” (in Spanish), and Mr. Eduardo Bertoni on “Human Rights and the Internet: International Standards” (in Spanish). The Audiovisual Library is also available as an audio podcast, which can be accessed through the preinstalled applications in Apple or Google devices, through Soundcloud or through the podcast application of your preference by searching “Audiovisual Library of International Law”. The UN Audiovisual Library of International Law provides high quality international law training and research materials to users around the world free of charge.

2. Call for Applications: ERC funded project on “Correcting Inequality through Law”. The Institute for International and Comparative Public Law of the University of Münster is looking for up to five candidates to fill PhD positions in the context of the research project “Correcting Inequality through Law”. The project, which is led by Professor Dr. Niels Petersen and funded by a Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council, analyses how apex courts conceptualize equality in constitutional and international human rights law. It will be based on a comparative study of the equality jurisprudence of 16 jurisdictions. The deadline for applications is 31 March 2019. More information can be found here.

3. Leicester Law School Conference: Migrants’ Rights at a Crossroads. Leicester Law School is holding a conference on 22 March entitled “Migrants’ Rights at a Crossroads: Seizing the Moment(um) of the UN Global Compact on Migration and the SDGs 2030 to forge a new path for the protection of migrants’ rights”. Generously supported by the Modern Law Review, the conference brings together experts from international institutions and academia to discuss the prospects for migrants’ rights protection in light of the UN Global Compact on Migration and the SDGs 2030. To register for the conference, please see here

4. ASIL Roundtable on New Perspectives in International Legal Theory. The ASIL International Legal Theory Interest Group will use its business meeting at the ASIL Annual Meeting (27 30 March 2019) to hold a roundtable on “New Perspectives in International Legal Theory.” The roundtable will provide an opportunity for three scholars to present and receive feedback on unpublished papers addressing topics related to international legal theory. Other Interest Group members will be invited to read the selected papers in advance of the roundtable to facilitate a vibrant discussion. Scholars wishing to participate should submit a one-page abstract to the Interest Group’s chair, Evan Criddle (ejcriddle {at} wm(.)edu), by 25 February 2019. With the abstract submission, applicants should include their contact information, professional title, institutional affiliation, and number of years teaching in the academy. Preference will be given to scholars who have been teaching at an academic institution in the United States for seven years or fewer, but all submissions are welcome. Successful applicants must commit to deliver their draft paper for circulation to the Interest Group no later than 10 March 2019.

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‘Open for Business’: The Special Criminal Court Launches Investigations in the Central African Republic

Published on February 8, 2019        Author: 
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On 22 October 2018, the Special Criminal Court (SCC) held its inaugural session in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). Several weeks later, the Special Prosecutor, Col. Toussaint Muntazini, announced his long-awaited prosecutorial strategy. Coming three years after Parliament initially requested a specialist ‘war crimes’ tribunal for CAR, these two acts mark a watershed in the country’s fight against impunity. After providing some background on the SCC, this post examines the prosecutorial strategy and the prospects of accountability in CAR.

The Legal Framework

Established by domestic legislation in June 2015, the SCC is a hybrid tribunal fully integrated into the Central African justice system. It is staffed by national and international prosecutors and judges, and relies on logistical and technical support from the UN peacekeeping mission in CAR. Funded by voluntary contributions, the SCC is functionally independent from both the United Nations and CAR government. Its five-year mandate, which officially began on 22 October 2018, is renewable.

Prosecutorial Strategy

Why did the SCC publicize its prosecutorial strategy? Other tribunals, for instance the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, never made their strategies public (to the extent such strategies existed). The SCC’s decision to ‘go public’ is more in line with the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s practice of adopting formal policies on a variety of matters. Read the rest of this entry…

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A Positive Take on the Legacy of the 1978 Judgment in Ireland v. United Kingdom

Published on February 7, 2019        Author: 
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In September 2018, a request by the Irish Government to refer the Ireland v. United Kingdom revision case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) was refused, closing a door that had been reopened after forty years. The fact that the ECtHR arrived at a finding of inhuman and degrading treatment ‘only’ has been maligned. In this post, I’d like to highlight an alternative perspective and suggest that this judgment elevated the gravity of the ‘other’ forms of treatment and set in motion a pioneering approach to the interpretation of Article 3 ECHR.

Subsequent to the Chamber judgment in March 2018, there was much debate (including in this blog) about whether the ECtHR should have revised its 1978 finding of inhuman and degrading treatment in light of the additional evidence. Some have supported the ECtHR’s exercise of restraint in the use of its exceptional revision powers under Rule 80 of the Rules of Court, pointing out the need for legal certainty. Others have critiqued the Court’s approach to the new evidence or have lamented the Court’s failure to follow the European Commission on Human Rights’ finding of torture, opening the door to manipulation of the torture-versus-ill-treatment distinction. All have opined that the facts of the case would give rise to a finding of torture today.

A further commonality across the commentary is that all refer to the finding of inhuman and degrading treatment ‘only’. The 2018 judgment itself describes the applicant Government’s request for the Court to find that the ‘five techniques’ ‘amounted to a practice not merely of inhuman and degrading treatment but of torture within the meaning of Article 3 of the Convention’ (para. 8). In the context of these debates, and the revision request itself, the distinction between torture and inhuman and degrading treatment ‘only’ has been amplified. That is, there is a pervasive and implicit sense that inhuman and degrading treatment is in some way not as bad as torture. In 2018, as was observed in 1978, the Court’s failure to arrive at a finding of torture overshadowed the finding of inhuman and degrading treatment. Read the rest of this entry…

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