International Organizations Accountability Symposium: An Introduction

International Organizations Accountability Symposium: An Introduction

In 2017, Seton Hall Law School hosted a symposium on UN Accountability.  Two years ago, the conversation was largely about the Haiti cholera case against the UN , and other mass torts.  A video of the event, including a powerful Keynote Speech by Philip Alston is available here.

After the event, Prof. Fréderic Mégret and I, and a number of other speakers, decided to further the conversation in a written volume.  We were delighted that Niels Blokker and Ramses Wessel of the International Organizations Law Review invited us to publish with them. The introduction to the symposium is freely available here. We are delighted Opinio Juris is hosting a symposium on this fora this week – the authors will be contributing short blog posts on their work.

The goal of the issue is to offer creative new ways to think about the issue of accountability of international organizations. It proposes to treat both the sort of systemic organizational failure evidenced in the mass torts cases and more localised but equally systemic problems of sexual abuse, as symptomatic of broader and deeper dilemmas. It suggests the need to think creatively about what international law does, can and should do.

The volume contains articles by Kristina Daugirdas on reputation of international organizations, a subject she has also explored in a recent AJIL article.  Frédéric Mégret provides an analysis of host state responsibility (discussed in a blog post last year.)  The Jam case decided by the US Supreme Court in 2019 on the IFC’s immunity is discussed by Clemens Treichl and August ReinischCarla Ferstman draws from her recent book to discuss remedies and accountability.  It concludes with a contribution by me, where I assess the interplay between immunities and compensation schemes in UN practices, and then compares this to the US and other countries with militaries who operate abroad.

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Featured, General, Organizations, Public International Law, Symposia, Themes
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