Go On! Webinar: The International Criminal Court in Ukraine and Georgia

Go On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.
► Registration is open for a webinar hosted by the Centre for Law and Social Justice on the International Criminal Court and its role vis-à-vis the situations in Ukraine and Georgia. It will be held via zoom on November 28, 2022 at 05:00 PM (EST). During the webinar, our Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Aloka Wanigasuriya will reflect on the findings from their PhD thesis titled The Impact Conundrum: The International Criminal Court and the Impact of its Interventions in Georgia and Ukraine, which was successfully defended in May 2022. The webinar will also focus on the ICC’s continued impact in the two countries and how these two situations may have an impact on the Court and the larger international criminal justice project. Aloka will be joined in conversation by Dr. Mark Kersten who is an Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of the Fraser Valley (British Columbia, Canada), a Senior Consultant at the Wayamo Foundation, and a senior researcher at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. 
►To register and for more details, go here. 

Write On! Call for Abstracts on “Progress and International Law”

This installment of Write On!, our periodic compilation of calls for papers, includes calls to present at the AjV-DGIR Conference, as follows:

►The Working Group of Young Scholars in Public International Law (Arbeitskreis junger Völkerrechtswissenschaftler*innen – AjV) and the German Society of International Law (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationales Recht – DGIR) invite PhD students and early career researchers to submit abstracts for their joint conference on “Progress and International Law”, which will be held on September 22-23, 2023 at the University of Cologne. The keynote will be held by Judge of the ICJ, Professor Hilary Charlesworth. The deadline for submission of abstracts is January 16, 2023. Selected candidates will be notified by February 13, 2023. Paper drafts must be submitted by June 5, 2023.

►For more information on the topic and potential research questions as well as the requirements and procedure for submission, please find the Call for Abstracts here and on their website. Further queries can be addressed to info@ajv-mail.org.

Tuesday Nov. 15: Defending Artistic Freedom After the Attack on Salman Rushdie

Defending Artistic Freedom After the Attack on Salman Rushdie

When: Tuesday, November 15, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM, Eastern Time (USA)

Where:  Palmer Commons on the University of Michigan campus, a 15 minute walk from the law school (Palmer Commons address: 100 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2218 Palmer Commons | Welcome to Palmer Commons (umich.edu))

Link to event page with link for zoom registration: https://ii.umich.edu/humanrights/news-events/all-events.detail.html/98508-21796731.html

More about the event: 

On August 12, acclaimed writer Salman Rushdie was to address a crowd at the Chautauqua Institution about safe havens for at-risk writers, when he was stabbed multiple times. While Mr. Rushdie thankfully survived, he experienced severe injuries, after facing years of threats since the 1989 fatwa against his book “The Satanic Verses” by Iran’s then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. What will be the impact of this brutal act of violence against a writer on efforts to defend the human right to freedom of artistic expression around the world? What kinds of threats are artists facing globally as they practice their crafts – practice essential to the cultural rights of all? What kind of self-censorship do these pressures foster, especially around controversial issues such as religion? What strategies can cultural rights defenders use to support artists like Salman Rushdie, and all the Rushdies around the world?

Moderated by: Karima Bennoune, Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law, Michigan Law School


Julie Trébault, Director, Artists at Risk Connection
Julie Trébault is the director of the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), a project of PEN America that aims to safeguard the right to artistic freedom by connecting threatened artists to support, building a global network of resources for artists at risk, and forging ties between arts and human rights organizations. She has nearly two decades of experience in international arts programming and network-building, including at the Museum of the City of New York, the Center for Architecture, the National Museum of Ethnology in The Netherlands, and the Musée du quai Branly in Paris.

Salil Tripathi, Board member, PEN International, and former chair, PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee

Salil Tripathi was born in Bombay and lives in New York. He chaired PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee from 2015 to 2021 and is a member of its board. Between 2009 and 2013, he was on the board of English PEN. His honors include the Red Ink Award from the Mumbai Press Club in 2015 for human rights journalism and the third prize at the Bastiat Awards for Journalism in New York in 2011, among others. His journalism has appeared in major publications worldwide and he has been a correspondent in India and Southeast Asia. Offence: The Hindu Case, about the rise of Hindu nationalism and its implications on free expression, was his first book. His other books include The Colonel Who Would Not Repent: The Bangladesh War and its Unquiet Legacy (Aleph, 2014, Yale, 2016), and Detours: Songs of the Open Road, (Tranquebar, 2015). His most recent work is For In Your Tongue I Cannot Fit: Encounters with Prison, which he co-edited with the artist Shilpa Gupta. He is currently writing a book about Gujaratis, which Aleph will publish. Salil studied at the New Era School and Sydenham College in Bombay, and has an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College in the United States.

Ahmed Naji, writer, journalist, documentary filmmaker, Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Ahmed Naji is a writer, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and criminal. His Using Life (2014) made him the only writer in Egyptian history to have been sent to prison for offending public morality. (Mr. Rushdie corresponded with him while he was imprisoned.) His book Rotten Evidence chronicles his time in prison, which is due out in September (2023) with McSweeney’s. Other published novels in Arabic are Tigers, Uninvited (2020), and The happy end (2022) Naji has won several prizes, including a Dubai Press Club Award, a PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, and an Open Eye Award. He is currently a fellow at the Black Mountain Institute in UNLV. He now lives in exile in Las Vegas, where his writing continues to delight and provoke. For more about his work: https://ahmednaji.net/

Write On! Call for papers for Michigan Law Junior Scholars Conference

The University of Michigan Law School invites junior scholars to attend the 9th Annual Junior Scholars Conference, which will take place in person on April 21-22, 2023 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The conference provides junior scholars with a platform to present and discuss their work with peers, and to receive detailed feedback from senior members of the Michigan Law faculty and other participants. The Conference aims to promote fruitful collaboration between participants and to encourage their integration into a community of legal scholars. The Junior Scholars Conference is intended for academics in both law and related disciplines. Applications from graduate students, SJD/PhD candidates, postdoctoral researchers, lecturers, teaching fellows, and assistant professors (pre-tenure) who have not held an academic position for more than four years, are welcome.

► Applications are due by January 9, 2023. For more details, click here.

Go On! Women in the International Judiciary

Go On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.
Geneva Graduate Institute announced open registration for Fionnuala Ní Aoláin — “Embodiment, Representation, and Maternality in International Institutional Spaces”: The SNF-funded project “Diversity on the International Bench: Building Legitimacy for International Courts and Tribunals”, led by Professors Neus Torbisco-Casals and Andrew Clapham, which will be held on November 14, 2022, over zoom. The series aims to reflect on the lack of diversity in the international judiciary —especially gender diversity—, which raises concerns not just in terms of descriptive representation and symbolic self-identification, but also regarding unconscious bias and systemic privileging of specific ideologies or positions in the process of adjudication. The next lecture will feature Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. Register here.

Write On! Call for Papers: 2023 Human Rights Essay Award

This installment of Write On!, our periodic compilation of calls for papers, includes a call to present at the American University Washington College of Law, as follows:

Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law of the American University Washington College of Law, U.S.A is accepting submissions for The Human Rights Essay Award, which seeks to stimulate the production of scholarly work in international human rights law. The topic of the 2023 Award is “Equality and Human Rights: Confronting Racial Discrimination”. Participants have the flexibility to choose any subject related to this topic, however, the scope of the essay must directly relate to the 2023 topic, or it will be disqualified. In addition, organizers would like to note that international human rights law can be understood to include international humanitarian law and international criminal law. The deadline to enter your submission is January 31, 2023. Winning essays —in English and in Spanish— will be published in The American University International Law Review (AUILR). The AUILR is an important journal with relevant academic material, which receives approximately 1,500 submissions annually and publishes a wide range of legal scholarship from professors, judges, practicing lawyers, and renowned legal thinkers.  Please note that this competition is open to lawyers around the world. However, only participants with a law degree —Juris Doctor (J.D.), Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), or equivalent— are eligible to enter the competition. 

If you would like additional information or have any questions, click here or contact via email at humanrightsessay@wcl.american.edu. Social Media: acadhumanrights

Is now the time for the international community to intervene peacefully in Iranian human rights affairs?

For the past several weeks, Iran has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Mahsa Amini’s death shocked the world more profoundly than almost any other event in recent Iranian history. Her killing symbolizes entrenched patriarchy and the systematic oppression of women since the 1979 Islamic Revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini and his supporters. 

Observers around the planet are aghast by the brutality of the way that Amini was treated, but also by the brutality of the government’s crackdown on protesters. Of note is the fact that Amini was a Kurd: her Kurdish name was Jhina Amini. The pictures of Jhina after she was hospitalized are available on the internet. Now the world can see what the government did to her.

Protests in Iran’s infamous prison, Evin, seem to have resulted in eight inmates being killed and 61 injured. I do not know if the government started the fire. 

Thousands of people have been killed by the regime since 1979. We don’t know how many. Many have been tortured. For every person killed, tortured, or disappeared, dozens of people are left behind, ranging from fathers, mothers, siblings, children, spouses, nieces, nephews, friends, and cousins. The list goes on. 

Now may be the time for the international community to intervene peacefully in Iran’s internal affairs. The question is, how would this happen? Is now the time to refer Iran to the ICC under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter? If not now, when? Is it time to set up an Independent Impartial Investigative Mechanism? What would its mandate include?

I am not starry-eyed about the possibilities of UN intervention, UN politics, or international justice as a savior. However, I also note the swift and decisive mobilization of international support – at least from some political quarters – for establishing an international criminal tribunal in Ukraine. While I fully support these efforts, I also am aware that the international community would be unlikely to support international justice in the same way if an analogous conflict were to erupt in Iran or on Middle Eastern territory. The selectivity of international justice – and international diplomacy – is a blight on our record of fighting impunity for mass human rights violations.

If an ICC referral were possible, how could Iran be referred to the ICC? Iran is not a State Party to the Rome Statute. The ICC cannot exercise jurisdiction over Iran of its own accord. It is next to impossible that Iran would accept the ICC’s jurisdiction under an Article 12(3) declaration. The only remaining avenue is for the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Iran to the ICC under its Chapter VII powers.

For this to happen, the international community would have to make the human rights situation in Iran a higher priority, enough so that such an option could be considered seriously. This is unlikely to happen, but the situation includes issues that are not directly linked to the ongoing protests regarding the hijab and Jhina’s death. For example, Carla Ferstman and Marina Sharpe analyzed the government’s practice of detaining dual nationals in the May 2022 issue of the Journal of International Criminal Justice. Many people with links to Iran, including myself and my late dad, Dr. Hamid Zangeneh, have been afraid of visiting our other home for this very issue. Ferstman and Sharpe argue: ‘Iran’s practice aligns with the definition of crimes against humanity under international criminal law, in particular the underlying offences of imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, and persecution.’ (p 405) There are enough examples of human rights abuses for the international community to consider the possibility of a Security Council referral to the ICC.

I don’t know how to make human rights in Iran a higher priority on the international community’s agenda, and I do not purport to offer any solutions. I am merely trying to ask questions and continue the discussion. Iranians deserve better.  Something must be done, and it must be done now.

Write On! Call for Papers: Jindal Forum for International and Economic Laws

► The Jindal Forum for International and Economic Laws (“JFIEL”) is pleased to invite submissions for the 1st JFIEL Student Paper Conference, to be presented in Late March to Early April, 2023 (final dates to be announced), at Jindal Global University, Sonipat (in a hybrid format). Theme is “Making International Law Relevant – Promises and Challenges for India”. Deadline for Submission of Abstracts and Papers: November 12th, 2022; Notification of Acceptance: February 5th, 2023

For more information, see flyer below and please feel free to reach out with any questions at jfielconference@jgu.edu.in.

Go On! Webinar: The Russia-Ukraine War: Contemporary Developments and Challenges

Go On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.
►  The Centre for Law and Social Justice announced open registration for a webinar, The Russia-Ukraine War: Contemporary Developments and Challenges, which will be held on October 17th at 6:00pm (AEDT).  The panel discussion comprises experts working on and researching aspects connected to the armed conflict. The panelists will discuss issues connected to:
(i) The recent case initiated by Ukraine at the International Court of Justice (ICJ): Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russian Federation)
 (ii) Accountability efforts for the alleged international crimes committed during the Russia-Ukraine war from an international criminal law and Ukrainian domestic legal perspective.

The registration link can be found here.