Author Archive for
An Hertogen

Holiday Roundup: December 21, 2013 – January 3, 2014

by An Hertogen

If you’ve been away for the holidays, here is a summary of what we got up to at Opinio Juris over the break.

Kevin posted Banksy’s Christmas postcard, linked to his new essay on the legal recharacterization of facts at the ICC, and held another round in the Amnesty-Goodman-Heller debate on universal jurisdiction, and hoped the Muslim Brotherhood’s legal team would explain the basis for the ICC’s jurisdiction in their complaint. His post on NYU’s selective defense of academic freedom in response to the ASA’s boycott of Israeli academic institutions triggered a long debate in the comments.

Fair trial issues came up in Kevin’s post recommending Daphne Evitar’s discussion of the infringements with attorney-client privilege at Guantanamo and in Megan Fairlie’s guest post on the ICTY’s management of Judge Harhoff’s disqualification in the Šešelj case.

Duncan participated in a podcast explaining the importance of US treaty power with John Bellinger, Joseph Ellis and Nick Rosenkranz, and Julian took a break from teaching in Curacao to argue that the ICJ could have a role to play in resolving the diplomatic incident between India and the US over the latter’s arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York.

The end of the year made us reflect on the year that was: Peter listed nine trends from 2013 on citizenship and Chris rounded up the main themes and highlights for Opinio Juris in 2013.

Finally, Jessica listed events and announcements, and we wrapped up the news (1, 2)

Best wishes to all our readers for 2014!

Weekly News Wrap: Monday, December 30, 2013

by An Hertogen

Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:



  • Edward Snowden has declared “mission accomplished” and also issued an alternative Christmas message for the UK’s Channel 4.
  • Legal or not? A federal District Court judge in New York has ruled that the NSA data collection is legal, a week after a District Court judge in DC ruled it illegal.



Middle East

Weekend Roundup: December 14-20, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week Kevin briefly turned the blog into The Onion Juris with his satirical ICTY press release, after the Court, in Kevin’s opinion, nailed the final nail in the coffin of its legitimacy. In a guest post, Eugene Kontorovich framed the question as a design choice in terms of who should bear the risk when a judge becomes unavailable before a trial has ended.

Not satire was Kevin’s post about glitter territorism. Kevin also posted a surreply to Ryan Goodman on whether Amnesty International inflated universal jurisdiction numbers.

We ran a symposium on Kristina Daugirdas’ Congress Underestimated from the latest AJIL issue, with comments by Paul Stephan, Daniel Abebe, and David Gartner. Kristina’s reply is here.

Jessica rounded up the news, and I listed events and announcements.

Have a nice weekend!

AJIL Symposium on “Congress Underestimated” by Kristina Daugirdas

by An Hertogen

Today and tomorrow, we are joining forces again with the American Journal of International Law to bring you a discussion of Kristina Daugirdas‘ article, “Congress Underestimated”:

Using the World Bank as a case study, this article casts doubt on the empirical foundation for the claim that international organizations undermine democracy by undermining legislatures, at least in the United States. The article also argues that the conventional wisdom about the executive branch’s dominance in foreign affairs may be overstated—especially outside the context of wars and crises. Over the past forty years, Congress has undertaken persistent and often successful efforts to shape day-to-day U.S. participation in the World Bank, a key international organization.

Congress has relied on a combination of tools to accomplish this.  It has adopted legislation instructing the U.S. representative at the World Bank to oppose specified categories of loans and pursue specified policies.  It has credibly threatened to cut appropriations.  And it has stepped up its monitoring of both the World Bank and the executive branch’s interactions with it.  The President has objected that Congress’s legislated instructions contravene constitutional limits on its authority.  But these protestations have not held Congress back.  The Treasury Department—the executive branch agency that implements U.S. policy with respect to the Bank—has diligently followed Congress’s instructions to ensure that Congress continues to provide necessary appropriations.

By focusing on Congress’s ongoing role in influencing the World Bank’s operations, this article addresses a perplexing oversight in the literature concerning the democratic accountability of international organizations in the United States. To the extent that this literature considers Congress at all, it has focused narrowly on two discrete points: Congress’s role in the initial decision to authorize U.S. participation in international organizations and its role in implementing new international legal obligations that these organizations generate. But limiting the inquiry to these discrete points misses much of what is important. First, international organizations are durable institutions with long lives; the World Bank, for example, has been around since 1945. Concerns about democratic accountability do not wane over time. To the contrary, they are likely to grow more acute. Second, many international organizations, including the World Bank, conduct their mandated activities without generating new international norms that bind their member states, with the consequence that their activities do not raise the question of whether implementing legislation is necessary.

Commentators are Paul Stephan (Virginia), Daniel Abebe (Chicago) and David Gartner (Arizona State). As always we welcome readers’ comments!

Events and Announcements: December 15, 2013

by An Hertogen

  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Freie Universität Berlin have announced a new joint 3-year interdisciplinary Doctoral Program entitled “Human Rights under Pressure – Ethics, Law and Politics” (HR-UP), funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Einstein Foundation Berlin. HR-UP offers young researchers a unique opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research on the most pressing contemporary challenges for human rights, including issues arising from crises and emergencies, globalization and diversity. Doctoral researchers admitted to the program will receive competitive fellowships and mobility funds for research terms at the partner university. They will be jointly supervised by senior researchers from Germany and Israel, and participate in both jointly and locally held courses, including a two-week introductory intensive course in Jerusalem, joint interdisciplinary colloquia, research ‘master-classes’, and three annual summer schools in Berlin. The program also includes two post-doctoral positions (one in each university). The deadline for applications is January 27th, 2014. For further information, and to apply, please visit
  • The Third Conference of the Postgraduate and Early Professionals/Academics Network of the Society of International Economic Law (PEPA/SIEL) will take place in São Paulo (Brazil),  on April 24-25, 2014, in cooperation with DIREITO GV – São Paulo Law School. This conference offers postgraduate students (students enrolled in Masters or PhD programmes) and early professionals/academics (generally within five years of graduating) studying or working in the field of International Economic Law an opportunity to present and discuss their research. It also provides a critical platform where participants can test their ideas about broader issues relating to IEL. One or more senior practitioners or academics will comment on each paper after its presentation, followed by a general discussion. Interested students should e-mail a CV and a research abstract (no more than 400 words) no later than January 12, 2014. More information is here.
  • The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of London is organising a workshop on National Security and Public Health as exceptions to Human Rights on May 29, 2014 and is now calling for papers. All the information and the call for papers can be found here:here.
  • If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer for the international law geek in your life, the International Game of Justice developed by Valentin Jeutner, a PhD student at Gonville and Caius College, at the University of Cambridge, may be just what you are looking for. More information is here.

Last week’s events and announcements can be found here. If you would like to post an announcement on Opinio Juris, please contact us.


Weekend Roundup: November 30-December 13, 2013

by An Hertogen

This fortnight on Opinio Juris, Deborah reminisced about her handshake with Nelson Mandela during her time as a junior White House staffer and Roger posted about the day Mandela was free.

Mandela’s example was invoked at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, where trade ministers reached their first trade agreement in years. Julian argued that the WTO however does not need the Bali Package for its dispute settlement system to remain relevant and Duncan discussed whether the Bali Package requires US Congressional approval. In other WTO news, Roger discussed how the WTO Dispute Panel in its recent EU-Seal Products decision recognized the self-judging nature of the public morals exception in article XX:a GATT.

Trade issues have inspired recent political protests in Ukraine, which Chris used to illustrate how geopolitics has become normative, and how all normative geopolitics is local. Chris also asked where international law should go now that life is imitating the art of political science fiction.

Kevin noted the OTP’s remarkable slow-walking of the Afghanistan examination. A series of articles on Judge Harhoff’s resignation also confirmed to Kevin-once he stopped fuming about the persistent misquoting of the Perisic judgment-that the Judge needed to be removed from the Seselj case. Kevin also assessed Ryan Goodman’s argument that Amnesty International has overstated the number of states that have implemented universal jurisdiction in its report on the issue.

Julian covered various topics that we have known him for recently. He noticed how Russia’s non-compliance with the ITLOS Artic Sunrise order went unnoticed in most media, and concluded that states do not take a reputational hit in case of non-compliance. Julian followed up on earlier posts regarding China’s ADIZ, and argued that the US position is not backed up by a coherent international legal framework. You can also see Julian in action in this video from a Cato Institute event on Argentina’s Debt Litigation and Sovereignty Immunity. On a lighter note, Julian also pondered how the US and Canada could legally merge, and pointed out the happy news that Santa has a visa waiver to enter the US.

Following the recent diplomatic success of the P5+1 and Iran, Sondre Torp Helmersen revisited the impact of the Iran hostage crisis for diplomatic law. Kristen focused on the effect of the deal for UN, rather than unilateral US and EU, sanctions on Iran.

In other organizational news, Kristen updated us on recent developments in Bluefin Tuna management.

Finally, Jessica and I listed various events and announcements that came to our attention (1, 2), and Jessica wrapped up the news headlines (1, 2).

Have a nice weekend!

Events and Announcements: November 30, 2013

by An Hertogen

Calls for Papers

  • December 1, 2013, is the deadline for applications for the Third Annual Junior Faculty Forum for International Law, which will be held at the University of Melbourne on July 7, 8 and 9, 2014. Regrettably, no applications can be received after this date, and full details of the application process and requirements are here.
  • The Comparative Constitutional Law and Administrative Law Quarterly, an online journal based at the National Law University, Jodhpur, India, is calling for papers for its fourth issue. More information is here.
  • On June 5-6, 2014, Edge Hill University (Omskirk, UK) is hosting a two-day
    international workshop. The event will focus on the legal phenomenon of cross-fertilization between international criminal law and human rights principles developed by specialized supranational bodies. The goal is to critically assess the manner in which widely-recognized standards of human rights have been used (or misused) by international criminal tribunals. Proposals are welcomed on topics specified in the call for papers. Interested participants should e-mail an abstract of up to 500 words and a CV by February 15, 2014. Speakers will be informed of acceptance by March 1.
  • The College of Law, Qatar University and the Qatari Branch of the International Law Association are co-organizing an international conference focusing on ‘The Syrian Crisis and International Law’. The conference is scheduled to take place on February 25-26, 2014 in Doha (Qatar). Invited speakers will include academics, diplomats, activists and legal practitioners who will discuss different aspects of International Law applicable to the Syrian crisis. The conference aims to not only revisit the tragic events that have occurred but also, most importantly, to think ahead in the quest for peace and justice. The overall objective is to exchange ideas and suggestions on the future of the rule of law in Syria. Interested participants should submit an abstract (800 words maximum) summarizing their argument and ideas that they intend to develop in their presentation. Abstracts should be sent to Dr Yaser Khalaileh or to Dr Adamantia Rachovitsa by December 30, 2013. More information is here.


  • The Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) at Syracuse University and the Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdiscipinary Center, Herzliya, Israel, are jointly offering an Executive Course on “Counterterrorism in the 21st Century” at Syracuse University’s new Fisher Center in New York City.  More information is here.
  • The Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition is a unique trilingual (English, Portuguese, and Spanish) competition established to train law students how to use the Inter-American human rights legal system as a legitimate forum for redressing human rights violations.The 19th Annual Competition will take place from May 18-23, 2014 in Washington, DC and the theme of the Competition is “Human Rights and Persons with Disabilities and International Human Rights Law“. Since its inception in 1995, the yearly Competition has trained over 2500 students and faculty participants from over 252 universities throughout the Americas and beyond. Written on a cutting-edge topic currently debated within the Inter-American system, the hypothetical case operates as the basis of the competition, and students argue the merits of this case by writing legal memoranda and preparing oral arguments for presentation in front of human rights experts acting as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. To learn more about the Competition, please visit the website  Registration is now open for the 2014 competition. Should you have any questions regarding the Competition, please do not hesitate to contact the Coordinator by email at or by phone at +1-202-274-4215.

Last week’s events and announcements can be found here. If you would like to post an announcement on Opinio Juris, please contact us.

Weekend Roundup: November 23-29, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Kevin asked why the agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is not void given that it goes against earlier UNSC resolutions prohibiting uranium enrichment by Iran. Duncan also looked at the deal, decided that it is not actually legally binding, and asked whether that mattered.

Kevin found the timing of the Bemba arrests curious and raised a word of caution about the arrests. In other ICC developments, he contrasted two Rome Statute articles with the new rule 134ter of the ICC’s Rules and Procedure and Evidence, and argued that the new rules are unlikely to survive judicial review. He also welcomed the DOJ’s reported, although not yet formalised, decision not to prosecute Julian Assange.

Craig Allen contributed a guest post about ITLOS’ order for the release of the Arctic Sunrise and the remaining Greenpeace protestors held by Russia. Julian followed up on this with a post discussing the likelihood of Russian non-compliance. Julian also updated us on the latest developments in the East China Sea.

Finally, Jessica listed events and announcements and wrapped up the weekly news.

Thank you to all our readers for the very lively comments this week. Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: November 9-22, 2013

by An Hertogen

This fortnight on Opinio Juris, Julian shared his impressions of the Asian Society of International Law Biennial Meeting in New Delhi, and summarized his unofficial notes on Judge Xue Hanqin’s personal comments regarding China’s non-participation in the UNCLOS arbitration started by the Philippines. Peter, meanwhile, was at the 2013 Emma Lazarus Lecture and found much to agree with in Jagdish Baghwati’s proposals for state, as opposed to federal, powers in immigration reform.

Peter later alerted us to Somalia’s ratification of the Children’s Rights Convention. This of course leaves the US in a peculiar position, and a rather more peculiar one than regarding the Minamata Convention on Mercury for which it became the first nation to deposit its instrument of acceptance, as Duncan pointed out in a post raising three questions about the acceptance process and the exclusion of the Senate.

Kristen discussed Saudi Arabia’s unprecedented decision to reject the UN Security Council seat within 24 hours of its election. In other news from the Middle East, Kevin outlined why it is not surprising that Syria is destroying its chemical weapons.

Kevin also analysed whether the ASP can change the ICC’s RPE to allow Kenyatta to attend his trial via video-conference, but argued that the relevant Rome Statute provision is too clear to be circumvented by amending the RPE. He also got his hands on two proposed amendments to examine in more detail.

We teamed up with the Leiden Journal of International Law this week to bring you a symposium on their two most recent issues, introduced here by Dov Jacobs. On the first day, Gabriella Blum and Christopher Kutz discussed Janina Dill’s essay “Should International Law Ensure the Moral Acceptability of War?”. Janina’s reply is here. The second article, on Diplomatic Asylum and the Assange Case, by Maarten Den Heijer, was discussed by Gregor Noll and Roger O’Keefe, with a reply by Maarten. On Wednesday, Piet Eeckhout and Erika de Wet discussed Devika Hovell’s proposals in A Dialogue Model: The Role of the Domestic Judge in Security Council Decision-MakingYou can find Devika’s response here. Finally, Brad Roth defended his concept of self-determination against Zoran Oklopcic’s challenge in “Beyond Empty, Conservative, and Ethereal:  Pluralist Self-Determination and a Peripheral Political Imaginary”. The debate continued in Zoran’s reply.

In other guest posts, Paul Williams and Roushani Mansoor argued that the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal is not just about justice, but also about transforming Bangladeshi national identity, and James Stewart wrote on his research on corporate war crimes.

For those of you who want to read more, Kevin announced the publication, including in open access format, of his edited volume with Gerry Simpson on The Hidden Histories of War Crimes Trials.

Finally, Jessica and I listed events and announcements (1, 2) and Jessica wrapped up the news (1, 2).

Have a nice weekend!

Events and Announcements: November 17, 2013

by An Hertogen

Calls for Papers

  • The International Organizations Interest Group of the American Society of International Law will hold a works-in-progress workshop on Friday, February 7th and Saturday, February 8th, 2014, at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.  Authors interested in presenting a paper at the workshop can submit an abstract to David Gartner, Justin Jacinto, and Julian Arato by the end of the day on December 2. Abstracts should be a couple of paragraphs long but not more than one page. Papers should relate to the topic of international institutions and governance.  Papers should not yet be in print so that authors will have time to make revisions based on the comments from the workshop. More information is here.
  • The Transitional Justice Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Minerva Center for Human Rights and Faculty of Law is organizing an international conference on Transitional Justice and Civil Society: Learning from International Experience. The conference seeks to explore the role of civil society in developing and implementing transitional justice processes, particularly in the context of ongoing conflicts. The conference, the third in the series of Annual Minerva Jerusalem Conferences on Transitional Justice, is scheduled for May 25-26, 2014, in Jerusalem. The deadline for the submission of proposals is December 31, 2013. Applicants should receive notification of the committee’s decision by the end of January 2014. Short drafts of 7,000-10,000 words based on the selected proposals will be expected by 1 May 2014. More information is here.


  • On December 2, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in BG Group v. Argentina, the first ever investment arbitration case to come before the Court. Prof. George Bermann, Jean Monnet Professor of European Union Law, Walter Gellhorn Professor of Law; Director, Center for International Commercial and Investment Arbitration, Columbia Law School, and Chief Reporter for the forthcoming American Law Institute, Restatement (Third) of the United States Law of International Commercial Arbitration and Ignacio Suarez Anzorena, Partner, Clifford Chance and formerly Abogado, Procuración del Tesoro de la Nación, Solicitor General’s Office, Republic of Argentina, will discuss the case and oral argument the very same day, mere moments after the argument has ended from 12:30 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the offices of Arnold & Porter LLP, 555 12th Street, NW, 10th Floor, Washington, D.C. (Metro Center Metro Station). Janis Brennan, Partner at Foley Hoag LLP and Vice-Chair, D.C. Bar International Dispute Resolution Committee, will moderate the program. This luncheon program is sponsored by the International Dispute Resolution Committee of the International Law Section, in co-sponsorship with The American Society of International Law Howard M. Holzmann Research Center for the Study of International Arbitration and Conciliation and the Washington Foreign Law Society, and in cooperation with the International Arbitration Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law and the International Committee of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution. More information and registration is here.
  • Online registration for the joint American Society of International Law (ASIL) Annual Meeting and International Law Association (ILA) Biennial Conference, to be held April 7-12, 2014, in Washington, DC, is now available here. Through January 31, 2014, registration fees are significantly discounted. For the first time, ASIL and the American Branch of the International Law Association are partnering to host the ILA Biennial Conference together with the ASIL Annual Meeting, forming a single, joint gathering, representing a unique and historic convening of the international law community. The week’s events, organized around a theme of “The Effectiveness of International Law,” will include keynotes by leading figures in the field; meetings of ILA Committees and Working Groups; more than 40 program sessions featuring panels, debates, and roundtable discussions on current issues in the field; ASIL Interest Group meetings, ASIL’s annual Women in International Law Interest Group Luncheon and Hudson Medal Luncheon; and a Gala dinner, receptions and networking opportunities.
  • The Antonio Cassese Initiative is pleased to invite you to a conference on A New Approach on Human Rights in Mexican Criminal Proceedings, in Mexico City on November 28-29, 2013. More information is here.

Last week’s events and announcements can be found here. If you would like to post an announcement on Opinio Juris, please contact us.

Weekend Roundup: November 2-8, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we brought you a healthy diet of treaties, chemical weapons, drones, and a sprinkle of terrorism.

Duncan rounded up various treaty related news items this week, and argued that US treaty practice does not have to be a zero-sum game. Peter posted about the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearings on a possible Understanding that would limit anxieties about the domestic impact of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The main event this week however happened across the street from the US Congress: the SCOTUS hearing in Bond v United States. Peter kicked off the conversation with the question whether Missouri v Holland has ever been used by the federal government. Julian was first out of the blocks to post his impressions of the oral argument, followed by seven observations by Marty Lederman, while Duncan was too stumped to comment on the merits due to the apparent lack of appreciation on all sides for the difference between treaty signature and ratification. Bill Dodge pointed out how the difference between a self-executing and non-self-executing treaty was also misunderstood.

Should an international treaty ban “killer robots”? Ken, in a WSJ op-ed with Matthew Waxman, argued that it should not.

From killer robots to drones: Deborah was worried about reports that the migration of targeting operations from the CIA to the Pentagon has stalled. The recent drone reports by HRW and AI were criticized by Jens Iverson who examined whether members of armed groups can be targeted and by Michael W. Lewis who argued that significant flaws undermine the reports’ objectivity and overall credibility.

Finally, Kevin mourned the premature death of the concept of terrorism, victim of overly broad definitions by Scotland Yard and the UK Terrorism Act 2000.

As every week, we listed upcoming events. You may also be interested in the Berkeley Journal of International Law’s latest issue with its symposium on Taming Globalization co-authored by John Yoo and our own Julian Ku.

Many thanks to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!

Events and Announcements: November 3, 2013

by An Hertogen

  • The Association of Defence Counsel at the ICTY is organising a Conference on November 29 at the Bel-Air hotel in The Hague on the Legacy of the ICTY from the perspective of the Defence function. More information is here.
  • The ASIL’s International Legal Theory Interest Group and Cornell Law School are organizing an event on the Theoretical Boundaries of Armed Conflict and Human Rights, this Friday November 8, at ASIL’s Tillar House (2223 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C.). The programme is here.
  • ASIL’s Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict is sponsoring a panel discussion about the Court-Martial of U.S. Army Sgt. Bales for the murder of 16 Afghan civilians.  The event, entitled “Military Justice, International Criminal Accountability and Cross-Cultural Contexts: U.S. v. Bales,” will be held at Tillar House (2223 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C.) on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 5:30 p.m.  The case presents a unique opportunity to explore the challenges in both investigating and prosecuting a case involving crimes in a remote area of a war zone, differing cultural perceptions of accountability and justice, and the relationship between military justice and international criminal justice.  Speakers include Lt. Col Jay Morse (Chief of the U.S. Army’s Counsel Assistance Program and lead Prosecutor in the Bales case), Morwari Zafar (Afghanistan Subject Matter Expert at the Defense Intelligence Agency), and Sandra Hodgkinson (Vice President and Chief of Staff of DRS Technologies).  This event is free for ASIL members. Further information is here.
  • The 13th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (ECCWS) is an opportunity for academics, practitioners and consultants from Europe and elsewhere involved in the study, management, development and implementation of systems and concepts to combat cyber warfare or to improve IS security to come together and exchange ideas. There are several strong strands of research and interest that are developing in the area including the understanding of threats and risks to information systems, the development of a strong security culture, as well as incident detection and post incident investigation. This conference is continuing to establish itself as an important event for individuals working in the field from around the world. Key themes of the conference in 2014 include critical infrastructure protection, cyber intelligence-cyber counterintelligence, PsyOPS, data mining and data fusion applications and malware and antimalware technologies and digital forensics. The conference is hosted by the University of Pireaus, Greece on July 3-4, 2014. See here for further information.

Last week’s events and announcements can be found here. If you would like to post an announcement on Opinio Juris, please contact us.