25 Sep Opinio Juris 2.0
In 2004, three friends and legal scholars – Peggy McGuiness, Chris Borgen, and Julian Ku – started Opinio Juris, the first blog dedicated to the informed discussion of international law. In 2006, the blog took on its first two non-founding members, Roger Alford and Kevin Jon Heller. Over the past 14 years new voices came and (to a much lesser extent) went, but by and large Opinio Juris remained the same.
It is with both great sadness and great excitement that we announce the most fundamental restructuring of Opino Juris in its history. Great sadness, because all of the blog’s current members, save for Kevin and Julian, are stepping aside from regular blogging. And great excitement, because we are relaunching Opinio Juris with a new website, two new permanent members – Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg and Priya Pillai – and a wonderful new institutional partner, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), led by its Secretary-General, Sam Zarifi.
As you will see in a few days, the Opinio Juris website has undergone radical surgery, not simply a nip and tuck. We have tried to stay true to the blog’s longstanding aesthetic while at the same time giving the website a more modern look and much greater functionality. Users should find Opinio Juris considerably easier to navigate, and our improved platform will allow us to branch out into podcasts, webcasts, live Q&As, and much more.
As for the roster of permanent bloggers, Peggy, Chris, Peter, Duncan, Kristen, Deborah, and Jens are assuming what we are calling “Emeritus” status. Although they will no longer be active members of Opinio Juris, they will be free to post whenever they have something to say – which Julian, Sam, and I hope will be often. The invaluable Jessica Dorsey is remaining with the blog, for which we are deeply grateful. And we are adding two new members, both of whom many of our regular readers will recognize from their writing and blogging elsewhere. We are pleased to welcome Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg, who is Professor of International Law at Universidad del Pacífico Law School in Lima, Peru, where he specializes in international humanitarian law and human rights law. We are equally delighted to welcome Priya Pillai, a Manila-based international lawyer who specialises in international justice, transitional justice, and human rights. And we intend to add more new voices in the months (and years) to come, especially those from parts of the world that are underrepresented in the international-law blogosphere.
We are also joined by the truly global collective voice of the ICJ, an august NGO founded in 1952 that brings together senior judges, lawyers, and academics from every continent to develop and implement international and regional human rights law, to protect the independence of judges and lawyers, and to provide accountability for human-rights violations. Regular readers will have noticed a trickle of posts over the past few months from ICJ staff, and we hope that the trickle will become a river as the blog moves into its next phase. Opinio Juris will, however, steadfastly maintain its editorial independence – something the ICJ has insisted upon since we first began to discuss joining forces.
Opinio Juris’s greatest strength, however, is you – our loyal readers. On an average day, the blog is read by judges, diplomats, government lawyers, academics, students, and interested laypeople in more than 70 countries. Some are from the Global North, others from the Global South. Some are conservative and others are liberal. Some care about the ICC and others the WTO. But all share a committment to thinking, writing, and (yes) arguing about international law, whatever their differences. The blog has always tried to maintain a diversity of voices across racial, national, and ideological perspectives, and that will not change. So please keep reading, keep commenting, and keep sending us guest-posts.
On a more practical note, Opinio Juris will go quiet for a few days as we switch over to the new website. Bear with us. We will officially launch on October 1 with a two-week symposium on Harold Koh’s new book, The Trump Administration and International Law – a much more ambitious version of the mini-symposium we held for his article by the same name a while back. The line-up of commentators reads like a Who’s Who of international law. We think it’s the perfect platform for re-launching Opinio Juris. (And you can get a 20% discount on the book by clicking OUP’s ad!)
We hope you will like our new look, our new members, and our new association. It has been a fantastic 14 years for Opinio Juris, and with your help we can ensure that the next 14 are even better.