Two Weeks in Review, 27 April – 10 May 2020

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EJIL related posts

Episode 2: WHO let the bats out? of EJIL:The Podcast! was released last week. In this episode, Sarah Nouwen, Marko Milanovic, Philippa Webb and Dapo Akande, were joined by Gian Luca Burci, former Legal Counsel of the WHO, to discuss what international health law provides in relation to preparation for and responses to pandemics. They also discussed a recent English case that raises a difficult tension between the obligation of states to accord diplomatic immunity and to protect human rights. 


You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or TuneIn

COVID related posts

Lorna McGregor wrote about the role of contact-tracing apps used by states as part of their strategies to track the spread of COVID-19 and the human rights implications of these apps. 

 and  discussed the the law and practice of derogations in the Inter-American human rights system and how the institutional organs have sprung into action during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 considered the securitisation of the pandemic and shed light on the socio-economic-ecologic structural violence that pre-exists and will persist beyond the ‘crisis’, arguing that looking at COVID-19 through a ‘war’ narrative conceals the importance of this.

Non-COVID related posts

 and  considered a landmark Inter-American Court of Human Rights judgment (Azul Rojas Marín and Another v. Peru) which significantly enhanced the rights of LGBTI persons, and set new standards with the potential to reduce the levels of violence suffered by this group both within and beyond the Americas. 

 wrote about the the Doha Amendment’s interim obligation, which mean that, although the Agreement has not yet entered into forced, the Amendment is already producing most of its intended legal effects.

  discussed the implications of the recent withdrawal of Benin and Côte d’Ivoire Declarations accepting the competence of the court and asked whether the epitaph of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights should be prepared.

 considered two resolutions of Colombia’s SJP which considered two territories to be victims of the civil war and discussed how a state justice institution is bringing indigenous perspectives, or cosmovisiones, into law. 

 and  commented on the ICC PTC’s findings in the Yekatom and Ngaïssona case related to the legal framework of co-perpetration, as well as the subsequent application of this framework to the case facts to confirm the charges against the accused.

Book Discussion

We hosted our first book discussion of 2020. The reviewers discussed Professor Mary Ellen O’Connell‘s book, The Art of Law in the International Community (CUP, 2019).

Mary Ellen O’Connell introduced her book, considering how nations can ‘recover better’ ‘including the most vulnerable in those plans…in ways that are clean, green, healthy, just, safe and more resilient’ through the art, rather than science, of law. 

 review first dissects the claims related to the nature of positivism, realism and natural law and second, discusses the character and status of the ‘general principles’ of equality, necessity, proportionality, and attribution, proposed by O’Connell.

is highly complimentary, suggesting the book is a beautiful, multi-layered academic page-turner’ that has been passionately written and displaying an ‘admirable knowledge of culture, history, theory and philosophy of law.’

 first compares O’Connell work with Lauterpacht’s The Function of Law in the International Community, before focusing on O’Connell’s proposals related to the transformative capacity of aesthetic philosophy ‘to reorient disputing States away from zero-sum, realist, interest-driven frameworks and conceptions of the international legal process in international adjudication.’

 commends O’Connell for having placed extra-positive approaches to law-making centre stage and for considering how these approaches explain the prohibition on the use of force and jus cogens rules,

Mary Ellen O’Connell then replies to each of these reviews in turn, suggesting that each review ‘modeled constructive collaboration toward improving our art.’


Finally, you can review all recent Announcements and Events here.

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