Milanovic Book Symposium

by Kevin Jon Heller and Dapo Akande

Opinio Juris and EJIL: Talk! are happy to announce that over the next few days we will both be hosting a discussion of Marko Milanovic’s recently published book: Extraterritorial Application of Human Rights Treaties: Law, Principles and Policy (Oxford Univ Press).  Marko’s book examines the question when a State owes human rights obligations under a treaty to persons located outside its territory. This is a question on which there has been conflicting case law and much confusion.

This [book] attempts to clear up some of this confusion, and expose its real roots. It examines the notion of state jurisdiction in human rights treaties, and places it within the framework of international law. It is not limited to an inquiry into the semantic, ordinary meaning of the jurisdiction clauses in human rights treaties, nor even to their construction into workable legal concepts and rules. Rather, the interpretation of these treaties cannot be complete without examining their object and purpose, and the various policy considerations which influence states in their behaviour, and courts in their decision-making. The book thus exposes the tension between universality and effectiveness, which is itself the cause of methodological and conceptual inconsistency in the case law. Finally, the work elaborates on the several possible models of the treaties’ extraterritorial application. It offers not only a critical analysis of the existing case law, but explains the various options that are before courts and states in addressing these issues, as well as their policy implications.

A very distinguished group of scholars, from both sides of the Atlantic, will offer their views on Marko’s book and on this vexed question of extraterritorial application of human rights obligations.  On EJIL: Talk!, Yuval Shany (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Vaughan Lowe (Oxford) and Irini Papanicolopulu (Milan-Bicoca and Oxford) will offer their views. On Opinio Juris, it will be Sarah Cleveland (Columbia), Kal Raustiala (UCLA) and OJ’s own Peggy McGuinness (St John’s). We are grateful to them for agreeing to participate in what I am sure will be a fascinating discussion.

The discussion will start with an introduction by Marko (on both blogs) of his book. Our commentators will weigh in with comments through the rest of this week.  Marko will respond to their comments early next week. Readers are invited to join in the discussion.

http://opiniojuris.org/2011/12/01/milanovic-book-symposium/

2 Responses

  1. There are only two possibilities:

    (1)    Either states are obligated to respect the human rights extraterritorially
    (2)    Or individuals are free to commit terrorist attacks against those states.

    Otherwise their argument would be inconsistent; they would tell individuals something like: “guys, we are free to do to you whatever we want, but you are not free to do to us the same, nor are you free to defend yourself against our killing and torturing machines, while we rob you of your natural resources and transform you in slaves.”  I don’t think individuals buy this kind of argument even if international jurists are brainwashed to be blind about the ridiculousness of this statist claim.
    It is even ridiculous that Marko has to write a book about it.

  2. Marko and all our distinguished guest commentators, welcome!

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