Women, accustomed to the International Court of Justice

Standing beneath the portrait of Dame Rosalyn Higgins, the 1st woman judge and 1st woman president of the International Court of Justice, are, from left: University of Georgia School of Law students Lyddy O’Brien and Evans Horsley; IntLawGrrl Kathleen A. Doty, now serving as Interim Director of Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center; student Jennifer Cotton; and IntLawGrrl and Georgia Law Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann.

HAGUE –  A briefing at the International Court of Justice was part of today’s Hague leg of the Global Governance Summer School that we at the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center are co-presenting with KU Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies. Providing insights into the work of the court was Dr. Xavier-Baptiste Ruedin (right), Legal Adviser for Judge Joan E. Donoghue. As IntLawGrrls well know, she’s one of three women who are now permanent members of the court, and one of only four in the court’s 72 years.

Recalling the photo at left, on which I posted a few years back, couldn’t resist making the “Women of the Global Governance Summer School” photo above.

Thus does international custom begin to crystallize.

 

 

UN Women and Promundo’s “Understanding Masculinities”: A Shift From Fact-Based to Social Construction-Based Analyses of Gender Issues?

UN Women and Promundo recently published “Understanding Masculinities,” the nearly-300 paged result of the International Men and Gender Equality Study (IMAGES) conducted in the Middle East and North Africa, conducted in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Palestine. The angle adopted in the Study is quite interesting. Studies on gender inequality often concentrate on statistics, such as on the education of girls, child marriage, the presence of women in specific professions, and so on. This research takes on representations of, and perspectives on masculinity, a social construction. It recognizes that increased gender equality is not only accomplished through women accessing different spheres of the society in which they were previously prohibited from, but also through changed social relations and perceptions.

IMAGES MENA - Understand Masculinities

Continue reading

Work On! ICCT Advanced Summer Programme

Work On! is an occasional item about workshops, roundtables, and other fora that do not necessarily include publication:

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 8.43.00 PMThe International Centre for Counter Terrorism with the T.M.C. Asser Institute is hosting an Advanced Summer Programme on August 28-September 1, 2017, at The Hague. Theme is “Countering Terrorism: Legal Challenges and Dilemmas.” Deadline to register is July 23, 2017. Details here. Preliminary programme here.

Write On! The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstrual Studies

backlit_keyboardThis installment of Write On!, our periodic compilation of calls for papers, includes a call for suggestions as follows:

The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstrual Studies, is an ambitious endeavor undertaken by Chris Bobel, Breanne Fahs and Katie Ann Hanson, among others in the United States. The focus is to “establish[] a field of ‘critical menstrual studies’ as a coherent and multi-dimensional transdisciplinary subject of inquiry and advocacy.” Suggestions for chapters by potential authors and other possible lines of inquiry are welcomed and encouraged. Deadline is June 20, 2017.


ASIL-Midwest Works-in-Progress Conference: Call for Submissions

 

ASIL-Midwest Works-in-Progress Conference

Call for Submissions

ASIL-Midwest, an interest group of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) is co-sponsoring its fourth scholarly works-in-progress conference at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio on September 15-16, 2017. The goal is to create a friendly, open conversation about works in progress and to foster a Midwestern United States international law community. To that end, the workshop will include both full drafts and early works in progress.

Those interested in presenting at the conference should send a 500-word abstract to ASIL-Midwest Co-Chair Cindy Buys (cbuys@siu.edu) by Friday, July 28, 2017. Please also include a sentence about the stage the paper is expected to be in by September (e.g., reasonably complete draft, early work in progress, etc.). Papers may address any International Law topics, and this Call for Submissions is open to everyone in the international legal community.  Preference will be given to ASIL members who are also members of the ASIL-Midwest Interest Group.  Paper presenters will be asked to circulate their drafts (or a summary of the project if it’s early stage) to workshop attendees no later than September 1, 2017.

Those interested in serving as a commentator for a paper should also send an email to the Co-Chair Cindy Buys by July 28 (cbuys@siu.edu).  Commentators will be asked to prepare five to eight minutes of comments on one or more of the papers. Those interested in presenting are also encouraged to comment on the other papers and should indicate whether they are willing to serve as commentators as well.

ASIL members and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law faculty, staff, and students may attend for free. Participants who are not ASIL members or Cleveland-Marshall College of Law affiliates will be required to pay a $50 registration fee (includes workshop and some meals) for the conference. Some meals will be provided, but participants are responsible for their own travel and hotel expenses. More details regarding transportation, hotels and other logistics will be provided shortly.

For any questions about papers and presentations, please contact ASIL-Midwest Interest Group Co-Chairs, Cindy Buys (cbuys@siu.edu) or Neha Jain (njain@umn.edu).  For questions about conference logistics, contact immediate past-Chair, Milena Sterio (m.sterio@csuohio.edu).

The Myth of ICT’s Protective effect in mass atrocity response

 

Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) are now being employed as a standard part of mass atrocity response, evidence collection, and research by non-governmental organizations, governments, and the private sector. Deployment of these tools and techniques occur for a variety of stated reasons, most notably the ostensible goal of “protecting” vulnerable populations. In a new article published with Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal , we  argue that there is little evidence of the existence of what can be referred to as a causal “Protective or Preventative Effect” (PPE) from the use of ICTs in mass atrocity producing environments.

Historically, the international community’s response, or lack thereof, to mass atrocities, has been shaped by the absence of timely and accurate information. Over the past two decades, the use of ICTs has metamorphosed from a series of prototype use cases of these tools and techniques to a now commonplace component of the human rights and humanitarian sector’s response to mass atrocity and human security crisis scenarios. Accompanying this mainstreaming is a set of generalized and, to date, largely unvalidated claims that ICT changes the nature and effectiveness of mass atrocity response.

The specific applications of new technologies and platforms are diverse and constantly evolving, but can be generally divided into two broad categories of prevention/response and justice/accountability: 1) Uses that seek to create unique situational awareness for population protective purposes and informing response activities, and 2) use cases aimed at detecting and/or documenting evidence of alleged crimes for judicial and/or advocacy purposes.  Additionally, the adoption of these technologies appears to be spurred, in large part, by two major factors: 1) Their comparatively low cost in comparison to other, analog interventions and 2) their ability to be remotely deployed in highly lethal, non-permissive environments that preclude traditional, ground-based approaches.

Thus, ICTs are now effectively treated as indispensable “force multipliers” that may either supplement or, in some cases, supplant mass atrocity responses that rely on humans physically making contact with other humans in the places where mass atrocity events are occurring.

We argue that the adoption of an ever more technology-reliant and increasingly “remote” posture has encoded within it an implicit aspiration to literally predict, prevent and deter these crimes as a direct causal result of deploying these modalities. We propose that this increasingly publicly expressed vision that technology itself can fundamentally alter the calculus of whether and how mass atrocities occur demonstrates that civil society actors have done more than simply adopt tools and techniques: They have adopted a theory of change –which we here label PPE—based on technological utopianism as well, a theory that posits technological change is inevitable, problem-free and progressive.

The core of this theory consist in the encoding of assumptions and aspirations into ICTs having an inherently “ambient protective effect” (APE) – i.e. casually transforming the threat matrix of a particular atrocity producing environment in a way that improves the human security status of targeted populations. The APE is based on the assumption that increased volumes of unique otherwise unobtainable data over large scale geographic areas and/or non-permissive environments may cause one, some, or all of the following four outcomes to occur:

  1. Deterrent APE: Perpetrators are less likely to act because of threat of have action documented.
  2. Public Outcry APE: Citizens in nations that have capability to interdict become more activated to push for interventions/protective actions because of immediacy/undeniability/uniqueness of ICT derived/transmitted evidence.
  3. Actionable intelligence APE: Governments are given new intelligence that they otherwise not have due to focus of NGOs on poorly monitored/lower politically valued locations that causes them to act.
  4. Early warning APE: Targeted communities have early warning that enables them to make better, quicker, more informed decisions that are potentially lifesaving.

More research is needed into each of these four points and how they relate to the more general problem with the PPE, which is that it impacts the awareness and acknowledgment of the possible direct and indirect negative effects of ICT. A growing body of scholarship indicates that the attempt to project a PPE through technology may be, in some cases, both exposing affected civilian populations to new, rapidly evolving risks to their human security and negatively mutating the behavior of alleged mass atrocity perpetrators. Technology can have unpredictable or unpredicted knock-on effects: For example, crowd-sourced data is neutral in the sense that it can also be used to foment violence, for example by creating a riot, instead of preventing it.

The human security community broadly speaking—particularly mass atrocity responders, such as humanitarians, human rights advocates and peace builders—must come to terms with the fact that there is a difference between knowing about alleged atrocities and doing something about them; monitoring a mass atrocity crime is different and distinct from preventing it or protecting against its effects. There is a need for members of this broad and diverse community to begin to take seriously the fact that ICT use can cause real harm to civilians.

Kristin Bergtora Sandvik  (S.J.D Harvard Law School 2008) is a Research Professor in Humanitarian Studies, PRIO and a Professor of Sociology of Law, Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, University of Oslo

Nathaniel A. Raymond is director of the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI)

ICC Appeals Chamber issues “unprecedented” decision on war crimes of rape and sexual slavery

The ICC Appeals Chamber, in a unanimous decision it described as “unprecedented”, has confirmed that the rape and sexual slavery of children by members the same armed group can be charged as war crimes under the Rome Statute.

The decision came in the case against Bosco Ntaganda, alleged former deputy chief of the staff of the Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo (FPLC).

The FPLC, one of the armed groups involved in the 2002-2003 conflict in Ituri, Democratic Republic of Congo, was also the focus of the ICC’s first trial, against convicted war criminal Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.

In that case, the (then) ICC Prosecutor was widely criticised for not bringing charges for the reported sexual abuse of children who had been unlawfully recruited by the FPLC – children that the ICC Office of the Prosecutor, and the ICC judges, refer to as “child soldiers”.

The prosecution later brought evidence of this sexual abuse in Lubanga’s trial. But because the prosecution had not referred to this evidence when it applied for confirmation of the charges, the majority of the Trial Chamber refused to determine Lubanga’s criminal responsibility for these crimes.

The Ntaganda case presented a chance to get a different result. Continue reading