Introduction to the Virginia Journal of International Law/Opinio Juris Online Symposium for Issue 52:3

Introduction to the Virginia Journal of International Law/Opinio Juris Online Symposium for Issue 52:3

The Virginia Journal of International Law (VJIL) is delighted to be partnering with Opinio Juris this week to host a series of discussions on recent scholarship published by VJIL. This week will feature articles from the third Issue of Volume 52 of the Journal. The complete Issue 52:3 can be downloaded here.

On Tuesday, we begin our discussion an Article by Andrew K. Woods (Harvard Law School) – “Moral Judgments & International Crimes: The Disutility of Desert.” In this excellent Article, Professor Woods comprehensively examines the “utility of desert” theory and argues that there is reason to be skeptical about the theory’s application in the international context. Excellent commentary will be provided by Jens David Ohlin (Cornell Law School), Adil Ahmad Haque (Rutgers School of Law-Newark), and Jonathan Baron (University of Pennsylvania).

On Wednesday, we continue with Alvaro Santos’s (Georgetown University Law Center) Article, “Carving Out Policy Autonomy for Developing Countries in the World Trade Organization: The Experience of Mexico & Brazil.” Santos contends that developing countries in the WTO can use strategies of lawyering and litigation to influence rule interpretation to advance their own interests. He uses the experience of Mexico and Brazil to illustrate the different strategies that have been employed and discusses the different results. Robert Howse (New York University School of Law) and Andrew Lang (London School of Economics and Political Science) will respond.

Finally, on Thursday, Jason Webb Yackee (University of Wisconsin School of Law) will discuss his thought-provoking Essay, “Investment Treaties & Investor Corruption: An Emerging Defense for Host States?” Yackee brings attention to the recent trend by host nations of using investor corruption as a defense to liability in ICSID arbitration. In his Essay, Professor Yackee suggests a model framework for dealing with this new trend. Responding to his piece will be Jarrod Wong (Pacific-McGeorge School of Law). Andrea K. Bjorklund (UC-Davis School of Law) and Daniel Litwin (McGill University) will also offer a joint response.

Although this online symposium focuses on the pieces mentioned above, VJIL would like to bring attention to two additional Articles published in our third Issue. First, in her excellent Article, “Unwilling or Unable: Toward a Normative Framework for Extraterritorial Self-Defense,” Ashley Deeks (Columbia Law School, incoming Associate Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law) offers the first sustained descriptive and normative analysis of the “unwilling or unable” test in international law. Descriptively, it explains how the “unwilling or unable” test arises in international law as part of a state’s inquiry into whether it is necessary to use force in response to an armed attack. It identifies the test’s deep roots in neutrality law while simultaneously illustrating the lack of guidance about what inquiries a victim state must undertake when assessing whether another state is “unwilling or unable” to address a particular threat. Normatively, the Article plumbs two centuries of state practice to propose a core set of substantive and procedural factors that should inform the “unwilling or unable” inquiry.

Second, David Zaring (University of Pennsylvania Wharton School) proposes six principles that organize the current practice of global financial regulation: 1) a national treatment principle, 2) a most favored nation principle, 3) a preference for rulemaking over adjudication, 4) a subsidiarity principle of enforcement, 5) a peer review model of enforcement, and 6) a network model of institutionalization. In his Article, “Finding Legal Principle in Global Financial Regulation,” offers a legal approach to international financial regulation and explores the positive implications of analyzing this developing area of regulation as a law-like institution.

We hope that you enjoy participating in the upcoming discussion. VJIL would like to extend our gratitude to the entire team at Opinio Juris for hosting us over the coming week. For further information about the Journal, the editors may be contacted at Please visit our website for additional Issues and the most recent publications on VJIL Digest, our online companion.

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