Events and Announcements: 30 January 2021

Events and Announcements: 30 January 2021

Call for Papers

Second call for inputs: report on the role of PMSCs in humanitarian action: Twice a year, the United Nations (UN) Office of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Working Group (WG) on the use of mercenaries issues calls for inputs to inform its thematic studies to be presented at the Human Rights Council in its September session and at the General Assembly in October. The decades since the end of the Cold War have witnessed a significant expansion in the number, type and size of humanitarian organisations, including a proliferation of actors operating in complex humanitarian emergencies. In its efforts to keep pace with the growing demands of protracted conflicts, the ever more frequent man-made and natural disasters, pandemics and displacement, the ‘humanitarian landscape’ as traditionally understood is undergoing significant change. The rise of ‘new’ or ‘different’ actors, including private military and security companies (PMSCs) and the emergence of new forms and modalities of humanitarian assistance are illustrations of such shifts.

While considerable attention has been paid in the last decade on the relationship between humanitarian actors and State security forces, little consideration has been accorded to the proliferation of private sector providers in complex humanitarian emergencies. Such involvement raises concern about the legitimacy, accountability, and control of PMSCs. Most importantly, the role of PMSC in humanitarian action, and militarization of humanitarian aid has raised concerns over their impacts on the legal and ethical foundations of the humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality and operational independence. Reliable information on the nature, scale and oversight of PMSCs services in humanitarian settings is sorely lacking.

Building on its previous work on PMSCs (see A/HRC/45/9A/HRC/39/49), the Working Group on the use of mercenaries decided to tackle the issue and identify the key human rights challenges posed by the use of private security services in humanitarian contexts.

This thematic study on the role of PMSCs in humanitarian action will focus on the current trends, practices and human rights impacts of contracting private security services, as well as related regulations, monitoring and oversight mechanisms. On this basis, the Working Group hopes to formulate concrete, time-bound and actionable recommendations aiming to ensure that the human rights and IHL protection of all civilian populations in humanitarian contexts are guaranteed when PMSCs provide some form of support or assistance.

For more information, go here. The deadline for submissions is 9 March 2021. There is no word limit. Submissions should be emailed to mercenaries[at]ohchr[dot]org with the subject headline “Input for the report on cyber mercenaries of the WG on the use of mercenaries”.


ANU’s ‘The Politics of International Law’ Virtual Seminar Series: The Centre for International and Public Law (CIPL), the Australian National University (ANU) College of Law is pleased to announce a new seminar series, entitled ‘The Politics of International Law’ led by Dr Ntina Tzouvala. The international legal order is currently facing unprecedented challenges. At the same time, international law, understood both as academic discipline and professional practice, is undergoing profound transformations that throw into question certainties that have been taken for granted at least since the end of the Cold War. This series will explore these fundamental questions, to historicise and theorise their origins, and imagine possible answers to our current problems. The seminars are designed to bring internationally-leading voices in the discipline in conversation with scholars from ANU. The seminars are as follows (all times local):

  • Covert Resistance in Pursuit of Symmetry in International Investment Law: Friday, 5 March 2021, 12-1 pm. Guest Speaker: Jean Ho, National University of Singapore, Faculty of Law. Chair: Esmé Shirlow, ANU College of Law. Zoom registration. The presentation will be followed by a live discussion and chat.
  • Legalised Identities: Cultural Heritage Law and the Shaping of Transitional Justice: Friday, 19 March 2021, 12-1 pm. Guest Speaker: Lucas Lixinski, Faculty of Law, UNSW Sydney. Chair: Laurajane Smith, ANU Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies. Zoom registration. The presentation will be followed by a live discussion and chat.
  • Not Equal: Toward and International Law of Finance: Friday, 16 April 2021, 12-1 pm. Guest Speaker: Kangle Zhang, Law School of Peking University/ Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki. Chair: Will Bateman, ANU College of Law. Zoom registration. The presentation will be followed by a live discussion and chat.
  • A Case Against Crippling Compensation in International Law of State Responsibility: Thursday, 29 April 2021, 5-6 pm. Guest Speaker: Martins Paparinskis, University College London, Faculty of Laws. Chair: Anthea Roberts, ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance. Zoom registration. The presentation will be followed by a live discussion and chat.
  • International Law and the Ecologically Embedded Relational Individual: Friday, 14 May 2021, 12-1 pm. Guest Speaker: Sara Seck, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University. Chair: Cassandra Steer, ANU College of Law. Zoom registration. The presentation will be followed by a live discussion and chat.

Virtual Seminar on Space Law and Extraterrestrial Mining: Volterra Fietta, the public international law firm, is pleased to invite you to the virtual seminar ‘The Future of Extraterrestrial Mining’ on 4 February 2021 at 14:00 GMT (15:00 CET, 09:00 EDT). This is the second in a three-part virtual seminar series on the future of mining. The third seminar will focus on the extraction of natural resources in the arctic region. Please RSVP for the virtual seminar by noon on 3 February 2021. Click here for further information. For any queries regarding the content of the seminar, please email florentine[dot]vos[at]volterrafietta[dot]com.

Space technology and the space economy are rapidly developing, and therewith the potential to extract resources from space. Space law has an important and immediate role to play in developing this industry, think only of the recent Artemis Accords. This timely seminar will examine the latest technical, commercial and legal developments in the field of extraterrestrial mining, including asteroid and moon mining. It will offer a multi-stakeholder perspective on the many opportunities and issues extraterrestrial mining raises for States, Space Agencies and private companies alike.

The expert speakers on our panel will be: Mr Mathias Link, Director of European Space Resources Innovation Centre and Director for International Affairs & at the Luxembourg Space Agency, Mr Mitch Hunter-Scullion, CEO at Asteroid Mining Corporation, Mr Michael Neman, Legal Officer at the United Nations Office for Outer Space affairs, Dr. Henry R. Hertzfeld, Director of the Space Policy Institute and Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs at the Elliot School of International Affairs, George Washington University and Ms Florentine Vos, Associate at Volterra Fietta. This seminar will be chaired by Mr Peter Flint, Consultant at Volterra Fietta.

February 3 Panel event: The Folly of US Sanctions against the ICC: Since the inception of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998, the United States has had both hostile and cooperative relations with the ICC. The outgoing U.S. administration took hostility to a new level, imposing legal sanctions on the Court’s high-level officials in the same way the government imposes civil and criminal sanctions against those who provide material support to terrorists. This panel will explore the state of litigation challenging these sanctions, and how and why the incoming administration’s approach to the ICC might differ from that of its predecessor.

This panel is co-sponsored by the Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights (CLIHHR) and the International Humanitarian Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA). CLE credit will be available pending approval. This panel will be held over Zoom and a link will be sent out the morning of the event. Please use this link to register. Panelists include: Betsy Apple, Advocacy Director and Head of the Democracy and Rule of Law Division of the Open Society Justice Initiative, one of the plaintiffs challenging the Trump Administration’s sanctions against the ICC; Andrew Loewenstein, Partner, Foley Hoag, LLP, lead plaintiffs’ counsel in the case challenging the Trump administration’s sanctions against the ICC; Gabor Rona, Professor of Practice Cardozo Law School, one of the plaintiffs challenging the Trump Administration’s sanctions against the ICC; Beth Van Schaack, Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor of Human Rights at Stanford Law School, nationally recognized expert on ICC and US/ICC relations; and Adam M. Smith, Partner,Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher, nationally recognized expert on sanctions.


Hablemos de Derecho Internacional (HDI) – The International Legal Podcast (Spanish): HDI recently added the following Episodes in Spanish:Embajador Morales Pedraza – La No Proliferación y la Prohibición de Armas Nucleares Parte 1 ; Embajador Morales Pedraza – La No Proliferación y la Prohibición de Armas Nucleares Parte 2 and Dr. Eduard Soler i Lecha – La agenda política internacional que marcará el 2021 . Updated information about the guests and episodes can be found on HDI’s social media accounts: LinkedInTwitterInstagramFacebook and Youtube. The Podcast contributes to the dissemination and study of contemporary legal issues in Spanish, and is available on the main platforms: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or through other podcast applications by searching “Hablemos de Derecho Internacional”, and on its website.

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Announcements, Calls for Papers, Events, General, International Criminal Law, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, Investment Law, Public International Law, Space Law, Technology
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