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Conferences and Events

Events and Announcements: November 24, 2013

by Jessica Dorsey

Calls for Papers

  • The Galway Student Law Review at the National University of Ireland, Galway is seeking submissions for Volume 5 of the Review. Submissions may be on any legal topic, whether domestic, foreign, international or transnational and may be in English, Irish or French. Submissions are accepted from students and academics alike and should be between 1,500 – 10,000 words (approximately – longer articles may be accepted with prior approval) and follow the OSCALA legal citation style. The deadline for receipt of submissions is 1st January 2014. Please include ‘GSLR Submission’ in the subject section of the email. Submissions should be emailed, in .doc or .docx (Word) format to galwaystudentlawreview [at] outlook [dot] com. Please consult the Review’s website for the full submission criteria before submitting. These criteria can be found here. Please direct all queries to the Editor-in-Chief of the Galway Student Law Review at galwaystudentlawreview [at] outlook [dot] com.
  • The Hague Yearbook of International Law has issued a call for submissions for its 2013 volume, which you can find here. The deadline for submission is 1 January 2014. All submissions should be written in English or French, in MS WORD compatible format and delivered by email to the Editorial Board: hagueyearbook [at] gmail [dot] com. All submissions must be original and unpublished. All submissions should conform to the “Authors’ Instructions”, which is available here.

Events

Announcements

  • 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.

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

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.

Events

  • 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.

Notes from the Asian Society of International Law Biennial Meeting 2013, New Delhi

by Julian Ku

I’ve made the trek this week to New Delhi to attend the 4th Biennial Meeting of the Asian Society of International Law.  I’ll be presenting a paper on my favorite subject these days: The China-Philippines (Non) Arbitration. I’ve tweeted a few not very profounds thoughts on Day One here. AsianSil is quite a different type of meeting than the American Society of International Law meetings I am used to.  It’s a bit more formal, perhaps a little more of the feel of “foreign delegates” gathering for an international conference than an academic/public policy conference.  The hosts are very generous with their time and well-organized.

More substantively, I’ve found the different interests and approaches of Asian scholars to be illuminating.  Many Asian nations, including China and India, see themselves as still part the developing world trying to navigate a world dominated by western industrialized nations.  This theme seems to inform many of the opening speeches, including that by India’s Vice President Hamid Asari.  I will try to write something useful or interesting on Day 2 when I get a chance (or a better wifi connection).

Events and Announcements: November 10, 2013

by Jessica Dorsey

Events

  • The Leitner Center for International Law at Fordham University is hosting Global Rights and Local Challenges: Disability, Inclusive Education and Rural Environments, a panel discussion that will highlight the backdrops of rural poverty and educational underdevelopment as barriers to inclusion and to education for persons with disabilities. A film screening of In the Shadow of the Sun will follow the event on Friday, November 15th at Fordham Law School in New York. More information can be found here (along with a trailer for the film).
  • As a reminder, the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security, and the Lieber Society of the American Society of International Law present: From Gettysburg to Guantanamo: 150 Years of the Lieber Code and the Law of Armed Conflict, a conference on November 21st at Columbia Law School. Drafted by Columbia Professor Francis Lieber and signed by President Lincoln in 1863 as General Order No. 100, the Lieber Code regulated the conduct of U.S. soldiers during wartime. While the Code was limited to Union forces, the rules were based on customary law of the time and strongly influenced subsequent international codification of the law of armed conflict. The Code grappled with issues involving the regulation of armed conflicts between states and non-state groups that remain pressing today. This conference celebrating its 150th anniversary will explore the origins and import of the Lieber Code in its Civil War context, its impact on the development of international humanitarian law, and its continued significance to modern challenges in armed conflict. Confirmed speakers can be found here, the conference schedule here.

Announcements

  • The International Court of Justice wishes to appoint 2 Law Clerks each of whom will provide research and other legal assistance to one of the judges of the Court. For administrative purposes, the Law Clerks are attached to the Department of Legal Matters. Under the supervision of the judge to whom he or she will be specifically assigned, the Law Clerk will provide such judge with legal research and related assistance with regard to cases pending before the Court. The Law Clerk may also be required to provide legal assistance and support to a judge ad hoc participating in a particular case. In coordination with his or her judge, the Law Clerk may also from time to time be called upon to perform some specific legal tasks for the Registry. More information can be found here. Deadline for submission of applications is November 15th.
  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) Moot Court Competition will take place from 19 until 23 May 2014 in The Hague, the Netherlands. The ‘City of Peace and Justice’ will welcome over 250 students from 50 universities and over 30 different countries for this large scale moot court, simulating the proceedings of the ICC. The Competition brings together students of diverse backgrounds and cultures from both Member States and Non-Member States alike, and is the perfect instrument for the development and promotion of international criminal justice. The Competition enhances knowledge about the Rome Statute, especially within countries that have yet to ratify it, and it stimulates interaction between future top legal minds originating  both from Member States and Non-Member States. Participating universities from Non-Member States this year include teams from the USA, Iran, India, Russia, Israel, China and Palestine. More information can be found here. If you have any questions, or want to become involved in the Competition, contact the organizers at grotiuscentre [at] cdh [dot] leidenuniv.nl.
  • ALMA (Association for the Promotion of International Humanitarian Law has established an Upcoming IHL events page on ALMA’s website. The web page includes information about current and future events from all over the world (divided by regions).
  • The American Society of International Law’s Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict is calling for submissions for the Francis Lieber Prize. Both monographs and articles (including chapters in books of essays) are eligible for consideration, as the prize is awarded to the best submission in each of these two categories.
    • Criteria: Any work in the English language published during 2013 or whose publication is imminent at the time of submission may be nominated for this prize. The re-submission of works which have already been considered for this prize is not allowed.  Entries may address such topics as the use of force in international law, the conduct of hostilities during international and non‑international armed conflicts, protected persons and objects under the law of armed conflict, the law of weapons, operational law, rules of engagement, occupation law, peace operations, counter‑terrorist operations, and humanitarian assistance.  Other topics bearing on the application of international law during armed conflict or other military operations are also appropriate.
    • Age Limit:       Competitors must be 35 years old or younger on 31 December 2013. They need not be members of the American Society of International Law.  Multi-authored works may be submitted if all the authors are eligible to enter the competition.  Should a multi-authored submission win the competition, the cash component of the prize shall be divided, pro rata, between the authors. Submissions from outside the United States are welcomed.
    • Submission:     Submissions, including a letter or message of nomination, must be received by 20 January 2014.  Three copies of books must be submitted.  The electronic submission of articles is encouraged.  Authors may submit their own work.  All submissions must include contact data (e‑mail, fax, phone, address).  The Prize Committee will acknowledge receipt of the submission by e‑mail. Printed submissions must be sent to:Professor Iain Scobbie, School of Law, Williamson Building, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester  M13 9PL, United Kingdom. Electronic submissions must be sent to: iain [dot] scobbie [at] manchester [dot] ac.uk. Please indicate clearly in the subject line that the email concerns a submission for the Lieber Prize.
    • Prize:   The Selection Committee will select one submission for the award of the Francis Lieber Prize in the book category and one in the article category. The Prizes consist of $500, a certificate of recognition, and a year’s membership of the American Society of International Law.  The winner of the Lieber Prize in both categories will be announced at the American Society of International Law’s Annual Meeting in April 2014.

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

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.

Events and Announcements: October 27, 2013

by Jessica Dorsey

Events

  • On November 12, the T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague will launch the International Crimes Database (ICD). This platform offers a comprehensive database on international crimes adjudicated by national, international and internationalized courts and will provide access to a range of information not just for lawyers and judges but also for students, academics, families and communities of victims of crimes, among others. The launch will include speeches from the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) – The Hague, ICD team members, the ICD steering committee, a presentation of the website itself, a keynote speech on international crimes by Judge Fausto Pocar (ICTY) and a reception for all those attending. If you would like to attend please send an e-mail to conferencemanager [at] asser [dot] nl before 7 November. The flyer can be found here and the announcement here.
  • The Lieber Society Interest Group of the American Society of International Law is sponsoring a panel discussion from 5:30 – 7:00 pm on November 12th, in Washington, D.C. about the Court-Martial of US Army Sgt Bales for the murder of 16 Afghan civilians entitled “Military Justice, International Criminal Accountability and Cross-Cultural Contexts: US v. Bales.  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, Trial Counsel Assistance Program, US Army, and lead prosecutor in the Bales case; Ms. Morwari Zafar, Afghanistan Subject Matter Expert, Defense Intelligence Agency; Sandra Hodgkinson, Vice President, Chief of Staff of DRS Technologies; former Special Assistant (Chief of Staff) for Deputy Secretary of Defense and William J. Lynn, former Deputy Ambassador for War Crimes Issues, US Dept of State. It will be moderated by Jennifer Daskal, Assistant Professor of Law, Washington College of Law, American University.
  • The Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security, and the Lieber Society of the American Society of International Law present: From Gettysburg to Guantanamo: 150 Years of the Lieber Code and the Law of Armed Conflict, a conference on November 21st at Columbia Law School. Drafted by Columbia Professor Francis Lieber and signed by President Lincoln in 1863 as General Order No. 100, the Lieber Code regulated the conduct of U.S. soldiers during wartime. While the Code was limited to Union forces, the rules were based on customary law of the time and strongly influenced subsequent international codification of the law of armed conflict. The Code grappled with issues involving the regulation of armed conflicts between states and non-state groups that remain pressing today. This conference celebrating its 150th anniversary will explore the origins and import of the Lieber Code in its Civil War context, its impact on the development of international humanitarian law, and its continued significance to modern challenges in armed conflict. Confirmed speakers can be found here, the conference schedule here.
  • On November 28th, the London Review of International Law features a celebratory lecture by Gerry Simpson entitled “The Sentimental Life of International Law” at the London School of Economics. For more information, click here.
  • ALMA and the Radzyner School of Law of the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) have announced the next session of the Joint International Humanitarian Law Forum. The session will be held on October 30, 2013, at 18:30. In this session Adv. Yaniv Roznai, PhD candidate at LSE will present his new paper: ”Cracking the Nuc” in the Legal Field: An Israeli Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities From an International Law Perspective.” More information, including about registration, can be found here.

Calls for Papers

  • JURIST, the online legal news and commentary publication run by students and staff at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, is issuing a call for submissions for its ongoing Feature on ERISA. Deadline for thesis statements: November 1, 2013. Contributors should feel free to examine ERISA from any angle or perspective, so long as the entire piece contains a legal thesis that primarily addresses or incorporates ERISA.  At this time, please send a brief thesis statement of no more than 100 words to academiccommentary [at] jurist [dot] org by the aforementioned deadline of November 1, 2013.  Thesis statements will then be reviewed by JURIST’s commentary staff.  Successful final submissions will be between 1,000 and 1,500 words, will not have been previously published online or in print, and will not include footnotes.  Instead, submissions will include links to primary and secondary sources available online.
  • The North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation is accepting submissions of articles related to International Law and National Security issues. Submissions will be considered for Issue 4 of Volume 39 to be published in Spring 2014. Authors are invited to attend the journal’s symposium on International Law issues in National Security on January 31, 2014. Submissions should be at least around 8,000 words and well-cited. Submissions and questions can be directed to NCILJ [at] unc [dot] edu. The submission deadline is December 31, 2013.

Announcements

  • Transnational Dispute Management has published its new issue entitled: “Art and Heritage Disputes in International and Comparative Law.” In this TDM special on Art and Heritage Disputes in International and Comparative Law guest editors Prof. Hildegard Schneider (Maastricht University) and Dr. Valentina Vadi (Lancaster University) aim to identify, map and critically assess key themes and features of the numerous art and heritage disputes which have arisen in the past decades. In the introduction article the editors map the key features of these disputes and assess the contribution that these cases offer to the development of international law in both its public and private dimensions. A separate volume to be published early 2014 will focus on intangible heritage disputes.

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

Events and Announcements: October 20, 2013

by An Hertogen

Calls for Papers

  • The Journal of World Investment and Trade (JWIT) is under new editorial responsibility starting with the first issue of 2014. It operates as a double-blind peer-reviewed journal and focuses on the law relating to foreign investment relations in a broad sense, including the law of investment treaties, investor-State dispute settlement, domestic law relating to foreign investment, and relevant trade law aspects, such as services, public procurement, trade-related investment measures, and intellectual property, both under the WTO and PTAs. JWIT publishes articles, notes, case comments, and book reviews, and welcomes proposals for special issues in its fields of interest. For further information, including the full editorial board and instructions to authors, please visit the journal’s website. Inquiries and submissions may be sent here.
  • The eighth annual International Graduate Legal Research Conference (IGLRC) will be held on April 14-15, 2014 at King’s College London.The committee welcomes abstracts considering all aspects of legal scholarship. Abstracts of maximum 300 words need to be submitted online by December 6, 2013. More information is here.
  • The Journal of Law Teachers of India (JOLT-I) is inviting Articles/Notes and Comments from faculty members on any contemporary legal issue, for its next issue which is expected to be published in April 2014. An abstract of approx. 1000 words should be sent latest by October 31, 2013 with the final paper due by December 31, 2013. More information is available here.
  • Trade, Law and Development (TL&D), a biannual, student-run, academic journal published by National Law University, Jodhpur, India, is calling for papers for a special issue on Trade and Climate Change. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2014. More information is here.
  • The Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law is pleased to invite submissions for its third annual conference, to be held on April 4-5, 2014, at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.  An abstract of no more than 750 words should be e-mailed no later than November 1, 2013. Authors of the submissions selected for the conference will be notified no later than December 20, 2013. A prize will be awarded for the best paper submitted by a graduate student.  To be considered for the award, in addition to submitting an abstract by the above deadline, graduate students whose abstracts are accepted for the conference must also submit their papers in their final form by January 31, 2014, with the following subject line:  “Submission for Graduate Student Prize.”  Papers received after January 31, 2014, will not be considered for the award. Final papers by faculty members—as well as by graduate students who do not wish to be considered for the Graduate Student Prize—will be due by email no later than March 1, 2014. More information is here. Any questions can be directed to Ozan Varol. 

Announcements

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

Events and Announcements: October 13, 2013

by Jessica Dorsey

Events

  • The Cassese Initiative is pleased to inform you about its coming workshop on the topic “Enforced Disappearance: Challenges to Accountability under International Law”, which will be held at the European University Institute in Florence, on Friday 25 October 2013. Register here. From the organization: “Enforced disappearance remains one of the most heinous human rights violations. From the ‘political cleansing’ campaigns of oppressive regimes to the ‘war on terror’, hundreds of thousands of targeted opponents have disappeared without a trace, and their families left to live in uncertainty over their fate. Due to its complex nature as a multiple human rights violation and a very serious international crime, and the fact that it is, by definition, shrouded in secrecy, enforced disappearance poses particular problems with regard to accountability. Today, in spite of a framework which includes the 2007 United Nations Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, several international courts and monitoring bodies with competence over the violation, as well as the International Criminal Court, these problems persist and new challenges emerge in the fight against impunity.” More information can be found on their websiteFacebook and/or Twitter pages.
  • The Nineteenth Annual Herbert Rubin and Justice Rose Luttan Rubin International Law Symposium, entitled:“The Function of Judges and Arbitrators in International Law” Thursday, October 24, 2013 from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. The Symposium will examine the function of judges and arbitrators in international law. As the importance of formal international adjudication increases, more and more focus is placed on the role that its adjudicators play, and the functions they are meant to fulfill. One of the highlights of this year’s Symposium is the participation of PluriCourts, whose directors Andreas Føllesdal and Geir Ulfstein will be speaking. If you would like to register now, please click here.

Call for Papers

  • The Centre for Global Governance Studies at Catholic University Leuven presents: The Rule of Law: A Strategic Priority of the European Union’s External Action (ROLA)–International Workshop on 27-28 February 2014 in Leuven (Belgium)Deadline for submission of abstracts: 30th October 2013. From their announcement: ‘The Rule of Law – A Strategic Priority of the European Union’s External Action’ (ROLA) is an interdisciplinary Jean Monnet project conducted by the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies (GGS) and co-funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. The purpose of this project is to assess the importance of the rule of law as a strategic priority of the European Union (EU)’s external action as mandated by article 21 of the Treaty on European Union. ROLA aims to bring together scholars from various disciplines (inter alia law, economics, international relations and political science), officials from EU institutions and EU partner countries, and representatives from civil society. Generating theoretically and practically relevant findings for both researchers and practitioners, this project focuses on an increasingly important though still under-theorized and underexplored research topic: the EU’s strategic prioritization of the rule of law towards emerging powers.” Contactmatthieu [dot] burnay [at] ggs [dot] kuleuven.be A full call for papers in PDF format can be found here. For more information on the project: www.rola-ggs.eu

Announcements

  • The annual Human Rights Essay Award Competition sponsored by the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law seeks to stimulate the production of scholarly work in international human rights law. The 2014 topic is Persons with Disabilities and International Human Rights Law. Participants have the flexibility to choose any subject related to the assigned topic. The best articles may be published in the American University International Law Review. The Academy will grant two Awards, one for the best article in English and one for the best article in Spanish. For detailed guidelines about the award please click 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.

Interpretation isn’t just Meaning! The Existential Function of Interpretation in International Law

by Duncan Hollis

Looking back at all the debates over whether the United States could have legal authority to use force in Syria, I was struck by the presence of two very different types of arguments about the Responsibility to Protect (R2P).  For some, the R2P questions were interpretative in nature — what did R2P mean (i.e., does it require Security Council authorization) and how does its meaning apply in the Syrian context?  Obviously, different interpretative methods and techniques could generate different answers to what R2P meant, and, with them, different outcomes for the Syrian intervention question. Many others, however, never made it to this interpretative stage.  For them, the R2P questions were existential — did it even exist within the corpus of international law in the first place?

Looking at R2P in Syria provides a paradigmatic example of how international legal interpretation can do more than simply explain what a legal concept “means”.  It shows that the interpretative project is not just an expository process but an existential one. The very act of interpreting validates the legal existence of that which is being interpreted. Interpretations of R2P with respect to the legality of a Syrian intervention necessarily accepted the existence of R2P within international law.  At the same time, deciding whether or not R2P exists itself constitutes a particular form of interpretative process, or what I call an existential interpretation.  I’ve written a paper about these existential aspects of international legal interpretation that’s now available on SSRN (I also presented it at this fabulous conference on interpretation in Cambridge).  Here’s the abstract:

For most international lawyers, interpretation involves acts giving meaning to a particular legal rule. Interpretative studies center largely on questions of method and technique – by what process should (or must) meaning be given to an international legal rule and how does a given meaning accord with the interpretative method employed. In recent years, increasing methodological awareness of interpretative theory has broadened – or, in the case of critical scholarship, challenged – the capacity of interpretation to give meaning to international law.

Notwithstanding the value in focusing on interpretative methods and techniques, the concept of interpretation they produce remains incomplete. International law’s interpretative processes are like an iceberg – the meaning arrived at by an interpreter is not simply a function of the method and technique employed (the visible tip) but rests on an array of earlier choices about what “exists” to be interpreted in the first place (the iceberg’s hidden, critical mass). A familiar example involves the question of what evidence counts as “State practice” for purposes of identifying customary international law. Interpreters who only count what States “do” may generate different content for a claimed rule than those who also consider what States “say” about the rule, even holding constant the method and technique employed. Similar existential questions arise throughout the international legal order. Before a treaty can be interpreted according to the 1969 Vienna Convention, for example, the interpreter must conclude the treaty actually exists. Indeed, interpretative choices lie at the core of international law’s sources doctrine, since what qualifies as international law (or not) can privilege or foreclose specific interpretative methods and outcomes.

This paper seeks to uncover the “existential function” of interpretation in international law. It explains how all interpretations have existential effects as they create, confirm, or deny the existence of the subject of interpretation. At the same time, I identify a particular structure of interpretative argument – what I call “existential interpretation” – by which interpreters ascertain the existence of their subjects. I review examples of this phenomenon in questions about the existence of interpretative authority, evidence, international law, and its sources.

Existential interpretations and the functions they serve have significant implications for international legal (a) discourse, (b) doctrine, and (c) theories of international law. Existential interpretations delineate the boundaries for interpretative discourse, narrowing it in cases of consensus on the existence of the interpreted subject, and broadening it in cases of dispute. Where interpretative resolutions of existential questions are possible, they may impact the content of international law doctrine, either directly or indirectly. And, where resolution is not possible, existential interpretations may operate as proxies for theoretical disagreement about the nature or purpose of international law (e.g., positivists may insist interpreters exclude from their toolbox the same soft law sources that naturalists insist require effectiveness as a matter of right). The paper concludes with a call for further study of existential interpretation given its importance to practice as well as its potential to provide a new lens for mapping the unity and fragmentation of the international legal order itself.

I’d welcome feedback if any of you find the paper is worth a read.

Events and Announcements: October 6, 2013

by An Hertogen

Events

  • The Centre for Asian Legal Studies at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore, will be hosting the conference — Trials for International Crimes in Asia — on October 17-18, 2013. This will examine the legal issues arising from the tribunals convened in Asia to deal with crimes of international import – namely, aggression, war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. It will consider both tribunals that have been established on the initiative of Asian governments and tribunals mounted in Asia at the behest of non-Asian governments or international organisations. In keeping with the legal theme, it will lay particular stress on the different modes of liability developed within these courts’ respective jurisdictions – among them, joint criminal enterprise, command responsibility, complicity, and defences against them. For the programme and registration details, please visit the conference webpage.

Calls for Papers

  • The Indonesian Journal of International and Comparative Law is looking for manuscripts for their inaugural volume which will be published in 2014. More information is here.
  • A group of students at Brandeis University, with support from the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life are launching a new journal to explore questions of international peace and justice from an interdisciplinary perspective. For our inaugural issue, they are asking for abstracts that address the question: What is global justice, how does it work, and why is it important? They are looking for abstracts from fields as varied as psychology, anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, and history, as well as other disciplines. They are primarily seeking abstracts (300-500 words) from undergraduates and early-career graduate  students, but will accept a submission from anyone. Please email your submissions or any questions to Anastasia Austin and David Benger by Friday, November 8th.

Announcements

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

It’s Autumn in New York, Which Means International Law Weekend 2013

by Julian Ku

[I am passing along a message from Professor Ruth Wedgwood about the upcoming International Law Association meeting in New York. Hope to see many of you there!]

International Law Weekend 2013 – the world-famous autumn festival of the migratory flock of international lawyers, brought to you by the American Branch of the International Law Association and the International Law Students Association – begins on Thursday night, October 24, 2013, at the Great Hall of the Association of the  Bar of the City of New York, 42 West 44th Street, NYC, and continues at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday, October 25-26, at the Lincoln Center facilities of Fordham Law School, at 140 West 62nd Street, NYC.   Advance Registration is available at http://ila-americanbranch.org/ or http://www.ilsa.org/conferences/16-conferences/16-ilw-new-york.

As always, admission is free for all students, faculty, lawyers, and staff from co-sponsoring institutions, as well as all members of the American Branch of the International Law Association, the International Law Students Association, and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.  Staff members of the United Nations and Permanent Missions to the United Nations can also attend for free.  The registration fee remains a modest $175 for the two days combined for all other practicing lawyers and members of the public.  And for the first time, there will be 14 hours of Continuing Legal Education credit available to all lawyers in attendance, accepted by New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  The CLE credits are also provided free.

Events and Announcements: September 29, 2013

by Jessica Dorsey

Events

  • On October 2nd, the University of Richmond School of Law will host an ASIL Speed Mentoring Panel event, described as: “a unique forum that will expose law students and new legal professionals to experienced international practitioners. The event will begin with a brief introduction of the panelists and several questions presented by D. Wes Rist, ASIL’s Director of Education and Research, designed to provide insight into professional development opportunities, as well as to illustrate the various avenues the panelists took into international legal practice. Following the group discussion, each panelist will “host” a table at which a small group of students can spend 10-12 minutes asking more personal, directed questions of the participants. Students will then be able to rotate among tables, thus having the chance to speak directly with multiple panelists.The 90-minute speed mentoring event will be followed by a networking reception from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Practitioners in the area and others who do not plan to attend the speed-mentoring event are welcome to attend the reception.  No registration is required for those attending the reception only.”
  • On October 15th, the T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague,  as a special book launch evening in its Hague Initiative for Law and Armed Conflict (HILAC) Lecture Series, will host a book launch for Armed Conflict and International Law: Searching for the Human Face, a liber amicorum in memory of Dr. Avril McDonald. The event is free, but registration is necessary.
  • The Government Law College, Mumbai, India, in association with the D. M. Harish Foundation is pleased to announce the 15th edition of the D.M. Harish Memorial Government Law College International Moot Court Competition (DMH), scheduled to be held from 6th-9th February, 2014. Comprehensive information about the moot along with the case study, Written Submissions, Rules and other details of the previous years can be accessed from the competition website. The contact person is Mr. Raghav Dev Garg. 
  • International Law Weekend 2013 – the world-famous autumn festival of the migratory flock of international lawyers, brought to you by the American Branch of the International Law Association – begins on Thursday night, October 24, 2013, at the Great Hall of the Association of the  Bar of the City of New York, 42 West 44th Street, NYC, and continues at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday, October 25-26, at the Lincoln Center facilities of Fordham Law School, at 140 West 62nd Street, NYC.   Advance Registration is available at http://ila-americanbranch.org/ or http://www.ilsa.org/conferences/16-conferences/16-ilw-new-york.

Announcements

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