Melbourne Journal of International Law, Vol. 11-1: Opinio Juris Online Symposium
We are delighted to introduce the second online symposium issue of the Melbourne Journal of International Law hosted by Opinio Juris. This week will feature three pieces published in our most recent issue — issue 11(1). The issue was generalist in its focus and saw articles on topics as diverse as the law of space tourism, the right to cross-examine prosecution witnesses in international criminal courts and the nature of legal inquiry in the Mekong River basin. Three of the authors published in 11(1) will be contributing to this online symposium.
Our first contributor is Ramesh Thakur, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo, Canada. Professor Thakur’s article, ‘Law, Legitimacy and United Nations’, identifies a gap between law and legitimacy in the practice of the United Nations and posits that this is a serious challenge to the authority of the organisation. Thakur detects this ‘legitimacy deficit’ with respect to a number of areas. He points to the difficulties with international sanctions regimes, the concerns regarding the structure of the Security Council and questions relating to the motivations underpinning humanitarian intervention, all of which challenge the claims to universality and legitimate authority made by the United Nations. The respondent will be Dr Jean-Marc Coicaud, Director of the United Nations University Office at the United Nations in New York.
Our second contributor is Steven Freeland, Associate Head of School and Professor of International Law at the University of Western Australia School of Law. Professor Freeland’s article, entitled ‘Fly Me to the Moon: How Will International Law Cope with Space Tourism?’, examines whether the current international legal regimes covering the use of air and space are capable of dealing with the advent of a commercial space industry. He argues that the existing international law was primarily drafted with other concerns in mind, and as a result is unsuited to large-scale commercial space activities. Freeland also provides some suggestions about particular areas in which principles need to be developed, particularly around ethical issues such as the pollution of the space environment and the protection of heritage sites. The respondent will be Frans von der Dunk, Harvey & Susan Perlman Alumni and Othmer Chair of Space Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law.
Our third contributor is Dr Douglas Guilfoyle, Lecturer in Law at the Faculty of Laws, University College London. Dr Guilfoyle’s article, entitled ‘The Laws of War and the Fight against Somali Piracy: Combatants or Criminals?‘ argues that the laws of armed conflict are prima facie inapplicable to the current counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia, and further, that the application of these principles would be counter-productive or question begging given that there is already a clearly established framework for law-enforcement operations at sea. Guilfoyle also examines some issues relating to the applicability of the laws of armed conflict to civil war insurgents who take to the seas to overthrow their government. The respondent will be Beth Van Schaack, Associate Professor at Santa Clara University School of Law and contributor to IntLawGrrls.
We hope that you enjoy participating in the upcoming discussion around these three areas of international law.
Information on our submissions process, publication policy and past issues can be accessed here. If you would like any further information about the Journal, please contact the Editors at law-mjil [at] unimelb [dot] edu [dot] au.
Tim Farhall, Christopher Hibbard and Mary Quinn
2010 Assistant Editor