Write On! Call for Papers: ‘A Nordic Approach to International Law?’ Abstracts due 15 March

From 27-29 August 2015, the Centre for International Law and Justice (CILJ) at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Law will convene a conference in Oslo, Norway, on “A Nordic Approach to International Law?” (One of our own editors, IntLawGrrl Cecilia M. Bailliet, will be a keynote speaker!) From the conference call for papers (pdf):

The Nordic countries have a long-standing tradition of collaboration on a wide range of legal issues. The Nordic Council of Ministers endeavours ‘to promote basic common principles in Nordic legislation’, and extensive inter-Nordic harmonization is now in place in areas as diverse as education, energy, taxation, culture, and gender equality.

But do these ‘shared Nordic values’ extend to embrace a common perspective on international law and policy beyond the Nordic region? And do international legal scholars in the Nordic countries share a professional outlook enabling us to speak of a distinct ‘Nordic approach to international law’?


You are invited to a two-day conference in Oslo, Norway, where international legal scholars will join expert practitioners to discuss contemporary issues of international law from a Nordic perspective. Renowned scholars and practitioners will present their views in keynote lectures and roundtable discussions and will comment on papers submitted. Junior scholars are particularly encouraged to submit and present papers.

In addition to research papers addressing the question of a distinct Nordic tradition within international legal scholarship, we welcome papers that treat topics in international law from a Nordic viewpoint. Examples include:

• the relationship between international and domestic law

• the relationship between international law and other disciplines

• responsibility for violations of international law

• international norm conflicts

• sovereignty and statehood

• the Arctic

• the proliferation of international courts

We also welcome papers lending a Nordic perspective to specific fields of regulation, including but not limited to:

• international human rights law

• international environmental law

• international humanitarian law

• international migration law

• international investment law

• international trade law

• international criminal law


• Cecilia M. Bailliet, University of Oslo

• David Thór Björgvinsson, University of Copenhagen

• Terje Einarsen, University of Bergen

• Martti Koskenniemi, Helsinki University

• Gregor Noll, Lund University

• Gro Nystuen, International Law & Policy Institute, Oslo

• Ole Spiermann, Bruun & Hjejle, Copenhagen

• Geir Ulfstein, University of Oslo

• Jens Vedsted-Hansen, Aarhus University

• Pål Wrange, Stockholm University

• Inger Österdahl, Uppsala University


Senior and junior scholars (including PhD students) are invited to submit paper proposals. Papers will be selected on the basis of abstracts submitted. Selection criteria are: Originality of the work, links to the conference theme, and geographical representation of the speakers. Abstracts (not exceeding 800 words) should be submitted to astrid.kjeldgaard-pedersen@jur.ku.dk. Accepted papers should not exceed 8,500 words (incl. footnotes).

After the conference, a number of papers will be selected for publication in an edited volume to be published by an international publisher. Please indicate, when submitting abstracts, if your paper will be available for publication.


• The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 15 March 2015

• Successful applicants will be informed by 15 April 2015

• The deadline for the submission of full papers is 15 July 2015

For more information, see the conference website at http://www.jura.ku.dk/cilj/calender/nordic-approach-int-law.

Publication and Event Announcement: Litigating International Investment Disputes

I am delighted to announce the publication of Litigating International Investment Disputes, a book published by Brill, which I edited.

The book guides practitioners through the many complexities involved in international investment arbitration proceedings – from whether and how to initiate arbitral proceedings to the enforcement of the award and available post-award remedies. A full list of authors and table of content is available here. More information on the book is available here.

My hope is that the book will serve as a comprehensive resource for those who are new to international investment arbitration, as well as for the seasoned practitioners.

What is more, I am also delighted to announce an upcoming event to discuss the book with some of its great contributors.

On Thursday, October 30, from 4:00 to 5.30 p.m., George Washington Law will hold an event that will feature book contributors who will address topics such as selecting the arbitrator, representing the State, the award, and relationship of counsel/parties to the secretariat.  In addition to yours truly, panelists will include John Crook of GW Law, Eloise Obadia of Derains & Gharavi PLLC and Jeremy Sharpe of the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser; the discussion will be moderated by Stanimir Alexandrov of Sidley Austin LLP.  The events will be held at GW Law, 2000 H Street, N.W., with the panel in the Jacob Burns Moot Court Room (Lerner 101), and a reception thereafter in the Dee Kelly Lounge.  All are invited.  No rsvp is needed.

Hope to see you there!

Operation Protective Edge: Legal and Political Implications of ICC Prosecution

Operation Protective Edge: Legal and Political Implications of ICC Prosecution

George Mason University’s Middle East Studies Program, Global Programs, New Century College (NCC) and the Trans-Arab Research Institute welcome four international law experts to discuss the political and legal implications of an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation of recent conflict in the Gaza Strip. This discussion will be held in Johnson Center, Room C, at 4 p.m. on Monday, October 20, 2014.

In July and August, hostilities in the Gaza Strip left 2,131 Palestinians and 71 Israelis dead, including 501 Palestinian children and one Israeli child. Of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents, 475,000 are living in temporary shelters or with other families because their homes have been severely damaged. The extent of destruction has raised questions around culpability for war crimes on all sides of the conflict. International organizations including the United Nations Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for independent investigation.

Palestine is considering accession to the Rome Statute, which would grant the International Criminal Court the authority to investigate war crimes conducted in Palestinian territory. Such an investigation would bring both Israel and Palestine under scrutiny for events from this summer and as far back as 2012, and possibly to 2002 when the ICC was first formed to investigate war crimes.

This panel will explore the relevant legal questions under international criminal law as well as the political issues related to ICC accession by Palestine. Panelists include:

  • David Luban of Georgetown University Law Center
  • Margaret deGuzman of Temple University Beasley School of Law
  • George Bisharat of University of California Hastings College of the Law
  • Kevin Jon Heller of the SOAS, University of London

NCC Professor Noura Erakat will moderate the discussion. This event is free and all are welcome to attend. You can follow the event on live stream here.

Georgia Law convenes D.C. workshop on “International Law as Behavior”

Kudos to my Georgia Law colleague Harlan G. Cohen for organizing what promises to be a superb conference on “International Law as Behavior,” a daylong presentation of papers that will lead to a same-named essay volume. Convened by the University of Georgia School of Law and the International Legal Theory Interest Group of the American Society of International Law, this book workshop will be held November 13, 2014, at Tillar House, the ASIL headquarters at 2223 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C.

PrintHere’s the description:

[T]he workshop will bring together scholars working at the cutting edge in a variety of different fields, including constructivist international relations theory, anthropology, behavioral law and economics, organizations theory, social psychology, and sociology to discuss how these approaches can best be applied to the study of international law, how these approaches can complement both each other and positivist and rationalist accounts, the opportunities and challenges of working across these fields, and the development of a common language and tools to study how international actors actually behave, how their rationality is bounded by psychology, how they operate as members of groups and recipients of culture, and how they write and follow organizational scripts.

The conference has a stellar lineup. Set to take part, in addition to Harlan and another Georgia Law colleague, Timothy L. Meyer, are: IntLawGrrl Elena Baylis, University of Pittsburgh; Tomer Broude, Hebrew University; Adam Chilton, University of Chicago; Sungjoon Cho, Chicago-Kent; Martha Finnemore, George Washington University; IntLawGrrl Jean Galbraith, University of Pennsylvania; Derek Jinks, University of Texas; Ron Levi, University of Toronto; Galit Sarfaty, University of British Columbia; and Kathryn Sikkink, Harvard University.

Details here.cd3fd-asil_logo

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Pollution, brain tumors, children . . . and national security

Ionizing radiation symbol“If Al Qaeda sent a team of sleeper cells to poison our groundwater and release toxic materials into the air, people would go nuts. It would be an act of war,” Dycus notes.

“But if we do it to ourselves in the name of national security, in preparation for war, that seems to be sort of OK.”  

– My Vermont Law School colleague Steve Dycus, quoted in The Nation’s detailed story about lawsuits accusing defense contractor Pratt & Whitney of causing a brain cancer cluster among children in Florida by contaminating the area’s soil and water:
The Brain Cancer Rate for Girls in This Town Shot Up 550%—Is a Defense Contractor to Blame?

Dycus is lead author of National Security Law (Wolters Kluwer) and Counterterrorism Law (Wolters Kluwer), and author of National Defense and the Environment (Univ. Press of New England).

Statelessness averted? Former Burundian refugees to receive Tanzanian citizenship

On 29 September 2014, at the annual meeting of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ Governing Executive Committee in Geneva, the government of Tanzania announced that it finally intends to deliver on its 2008 promise of citizenship to tens of thousands of former Burundian refugees by offering them proof of their new status as citizens. This promise – if delivered upon – will avert a growing crisis that had made those caught up in its midst effectively stateless.

This predicament has arisen from good intentions: the government of Tanzania was seeking to end exile for this group, not create a situation in which their exile would metamorphose into statelessness. It is rare for countries to offer citizenship to groups of refugees, especially in the Great Lakes region where millions have been displaced. Instead, most governments wait for circumstances to change so that refugees can go back to their home country. In official refugee policy language, therefore, repatriation is typically favoured over local integration as the most desired “durable solution”. In 2008, however, Tanzania challenged this trend. It took the bold and commendable decision to offer naturalisation to approximately 200,000 Burundian refugees who had fled their country in 1972 and were living as refugees in Tanzania. It was an offer that was unprecedented and exceptional in scale not only in Tanzania, but globally. While some of this group of refugees opted to repatriate to Burundi, 162,256 took up the offer to apply for naturalisation.

The catch, however, is that so far implementation has proved elusive, and this generous offer has, over the past six years, become increasingly caught up in realpolitik. The process itself, therefore, has revealed a huge gap between the idea of citizenship and its realisation. Although the notification that refugees were accepted as citizens should have been enough to confirm their citizenship in law, in practice research with the population has shown that these former refugees, having been required to renounce their Burundian nationality, have spent the past few years being told that the process is incomplete and being refused certificates confirming their new status. As a result, neither the status “refugee” nor “citizen” can be applied unproblematically to this group, leaving their legal status highly ambiguous. As one of these individuals said, “We have been told by officials that we are only 95% Tanzanian and 5% is still incomplete.” And being only 95% Tanzanian is, in reality, as good as not being Tanzanian at all.

Part of the problem was the fact that the former refugees were told that receiving their certificates was contingent upon relocating to other areas of Tanzania – something that they resisted. Arguments for relocation were made by government officials, some members of the host population, and even a few of the naturalised former refugees, who emphasised the need to break with localised expressions of “tradition” in order to ensure citizenship built on “new” (i.e. non-ethnic) forms of social affiliation – which is how citizenship has been constructed in Tanzania for decades. Arguments against relocation were articulated by the majority of former refugees: they believed that if they have become citizens, they should be allowed to move and settle freely in the country like any other Tanzanian. In addition, some believed that being forced to relocate would create vulnerability as it would undermine forms of local belonging they had already established, that allow vital access to livelihoods. Likewise many Tanzanians living in proximity to the former refugees for decades wanted them to be allowed to stay: they have become a vital part of the local economy and are exporting food around Tanzania. With little local government impetus to initiate the process (not least due to an almost total absence of funds), the situation became gridlocked.

Therefore, the announcement by the government of Tanzania that it intends to break this impasse and ensure that the citizenship process is finally completed – and not to make it contingent upon relocation – represents a considerable breakthrough. While these words still need to be translated into the actual handing out of citizenship certificates, this announcement is a major step forward and is certainly a feather in the cap of the Tanzanian government, which has shown itself willing to change its mind on the issue of relocation.

The whole process, however, highlights the fact that today’s refugees are potentially tomorrow’s stateless people. With the launch of UNHCR’s campaign to end statelessness it is vital that “protracted” refugee situations such as this one are not forgotten. All across the Great Lakes region, tens of thousands of people are currently caught in a state of legal limbo having fled the country of their birth – or of their parents’ birth – and yet unable to secure citizenship in their country of exile. Although they may de jure have access to citizenship in their parents’ country, the longer exile continues and the less documentation of their previous citizenship that they have, the less meaningful this legal category becomes. In the current context in which durable solutions continue to be evasive, it will inevitably tip over into statelessness unless appropriate action is taken.

For now, however, as one of only a few examples of a refugee-hosting government promoting full local integration through the granting of citizenship to a particular group of refugees, what is taking place in Tanzania should be a model response to situations of protracted exile not only in the Great Lakes region, but around the world.

Go On! ASIL to host ‘Careers in Customs & International Trade’ panel Tues, 10/21

NextTuesday, October 21, 2014, starting at 5pm at the ASIL Headquarters in Washington, DC (2223 Massachusetts Ave NW), ASIL will host a panel discussion on “Careers in Customs & International Trade”:

As part of its “Getting Started” series, ASIL’s New Professionals Interest Group is pleased to host a special event on how to pursue an international law career in the areas of customs, domestic trade remedies, and international trade more broadly. These fields continue to grow both in the public and private sectors. Finding the appropriate avenue to enter this field of practice, however, can be difficult. Panelists at this event will share their perspectives as experienced professionals with diverse backgrounds. The moderator will pose questions to highlight professional development advice.

An informal reception will follow the panel discussion. Registration is free but required.


  • Emily Fuller, associate, international trade practice, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
  • Scott McBride, senior attorney, Office of the Chief Counsel for Trade Enforcement and Compliance
  • Justin Miller, senior trial counsel, international trade field office, Commercial Litigation Branch, Department of Justice
  • Robert Shervette, attorney-advisor, customs and border protection, Department of Homeland Security

For more information and to register, please go here: http://asil.org/event/careers-customs-and-international-trade


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