To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), the Southern Illinois University Law Journal is pursuing a Fall 2013 “paper” symposium related to the topic. For the symposium, the Journal is soliciting articles from experts in the field regarding the past and/or future of the VCCR and consular relations law. Final drafts of approximately twenty pages are requested by the end of August. If you are interested in submitting an article for publication, please contact the Journal editors, Jessica Sarff (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dean Davis (email@example.com), for additional details.
Why did states decide to create the International Criminal Court (ICC) and design it with a uniquely strong enforcement mechanism that can punish noncompliant behavior? After all, by joining the ICC, states agree that the court may investigate, arrest, prosecute, and punish state nationals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes should the ICC conclude the state is unwilling or unable to do so domestically. One may not be surprised that more than 100 states have joined one of the many international human rights treaties with weak enforcement mechanisms that require the state to only self-report compliance. But, why would states–particularly states with poor human rights practices–join the ICC and risk having their citizens tried in The Hague? On the other hand, if states that most need to improve their protections against human rights abuses do not join the court, is there any hope that the threat of punishment by the ICC can help improve state practices and deter individuals from committing mass atrocities?
I explore these and related questions in my new book entitled Rules, Politics, and the International Criminal Court: Committing to the Court. Using both quantitative analyses and in-depth case studies of eight different states, I examine whether and how the ICC’s enforcement mechanism influences state membership and the court’s ability to realize its goal of ending impunity for mass atrocities. I proceed from the premise that the ICC is different from the human rights treaties that have gone before it. I argue that while there are many reasons states may want to join the court, they should view the ICC’s ability to investigate, arrest, and prosecute a state’s leaders or citizens as a credible threat. States should be wary of committing unless their domestic human rights practices are sufficiently good that commitment will not lead to a significant sovereignty loss–e.g., a trial in The Hague. In contrast to the other theories typically advanced to predict treaty commitment behavior, the credible threat theory focuses on the role enforcement mechanisms might play in discouraging states to ratify. For example, one prominent theory predicts that states with poor human rights practices will embrace the ICC because it provides an international mechanism through which to demonstrate their “credible commitment” to domestic change. Other theories predict that normative or other pressures will cause even bad states to join the court. This book shows why those theories are problematic. In short, the ICC’s stronger enforcement mechanism should not generally discourage states with good human rights practices from joining the court, but it should discourage “bad” states from joining because they will not want to risk being punished for noncompliance.
Both the quantitative and qualitative evidence support the book’s thesis. I find that the ICC’s institutional design discourages ratification by the very states where individuals need to be held accountable. Nevertheless, even though fewer “bad” states may join the court, I still conclude that the ICC can realize its goals. Indeed, some states with bad practices may experience certain “windows of opportunity”–such as a change in leadership or a point where external or internal calls for commitment can no longer be ignored–where the benefits of joining may seem to outweigh potential costs. When those states join the ICC, the good news is that the ICC has been designed so that states can be held to their commitment.
The Antonio Cassese Initiative for Justice, Peace and Humanity was founded to continue Antionio Cassese’s legacy and to promote global education, training, and research in the areas of human rights, peace, international justice, transitional justice, and development. To further its mission, the Cassese Initiative has issued a call for papers on new perspectives in international criminal law.
Abstracts, limited to 400 words, are due July 1st, 2013. Note that papers will be accepted only from students and young professionals under the age of 30.
Five abstracts will be selected and the authors will be invited to elaborate upon their ideas in a paper of around 8000 words. From these papers, one will be awarded the Cassese Initiative Prize and the author will receive a collection of books from Oxford University Press and her paper will be submitted for publication in the Journal of International Criminal Justice.
For more information on the Cassese Initiative, click here.
For more information on the Call for Papers, click here.
Spend an interesting and exciting week in Galway, Ireland (July 8-12, 2013) talking about migrants’ rights and the available protection mechanisms! The Summer School is open to anyone interested in the contemporary challenges of migration and human rights protection, including practitioners, journalists, academics, students, government officials, and NGO representatives.
Confirmed speakers for this year’s inaugural summer school include:
- Professor Francois Crépeau, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
- Professor Tomoya Obokata, Professor of International Law and Human Rights, Keele University, School of Law
- Professor Michael O’Flaherty, Co-director of the Irish Centre of Human Rights and Chief Commissioner at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
- Ms. Mariette Grange, Senior Researcher at the Global Detention Project of the Program for the Study of Global Migration at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
- Ms. Siobhán O’Donoghue, Director of the Migrant Rights Centre, Ireland
- Ms. Maria Stavropoulou, Director of the Greek Asylum Service
- Dr. Ekaterina Yahyaoui, Lecturer and LLM Director, The Irish Centre for Human Rights
- Dr. Noelle Higgins, Lecturer in Human Rights, The Irish Centre for Human Rights
The University of Copenhagen is looking for a professor of international law who specializes in international courts. The professor will be affiliated with iCourts, which is the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre of Excellence for International Courts. The position involves both teaching and research, as well as some management and administrative duties. More information can be found here, and the application deadline is September 12, 2013.
Last week President Obama named Susan Rice as Tom Donilon’s replacement for National Security Advisor. Ms. Rice, who currently serves as the US Ambassador to the UN, will be replaced by Samantha Power, most recently the chair of President Obama’s newly-created Atrocities Prevention Board. Both women have been featured on IntLawGrrls (see here, here, and here.)
Ms. Rice was the youngest assistant secretary of state in history when she was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1997, focusing on African affairs and attended Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. She was considered the frontrunner to take over as Secretary of State following Hillary Clinton’s exit, but withdrew after criticism over her role in the public fallout following the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last year. (Photo credit here).
Ms. Power taught U.S. foreign policy, human rights, and extremism at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and was the founding Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. She also served as a war correspondent covering conflicts in Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe and won a Pullitzer Prize for her book “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide.”
Both women are seen as liberal interventionists with strong human rights backgrounds and many are waiting to see if their appointment will influence President Obama’s decision to intervene in Syria.
Next April international lawyers will be treated to an unusual event: the 108th annual meeting of the D.C.-based American Society of International Law will be held jointly with the 76th Biennial Conference of the London-based International Law Association, which has branches in the United States (that is, the American Branch) and throughout the world. The event will take place April 7-12, 2014, at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, a block or so east of the White House; the conference hotel will be the J.W. Marriott nearby.
Chairing the joint Program Committee will be Professors Oona Hathaway of Yale Law, Larry Johnson of Columbia Law, and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin of Minnesota Law. They’ve put out a call for session topic ideas. Here’s an excerpt:
The aim of the joint conference is to promote discussion of important topics by including a range of voices and perspectives. To this end, the Program Committee will draw on the submissions process as it identifies important topics and knowledgeable speakers. Drawing on members’ suggestions, the Program Committee will create a program with the following goals in mind:
2. Ensuring wide participation by individuals from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives (for example, to the extent possible, including in each session both academics and practitioners, both women and men, and those of different nationalities and perspectives).
4. Ensuring a vibrant exchange of ideas through the use of innovative program formats.
Deadline for suggestions for keynotes, roundtables, panels, New Voices sessions, etc., is soon – Friday, June 21 – and must be made via the online form available here.
(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)