Policy Brief on Women in Da’esh- From Recruitment to Sentencing

Ester Strømmen has recently published a PRIO policy brief on Women in Da’esh

Da’esh has stunned the world with gross human rights abuses, gendered violence, and practices of sexual slavery, and yet, the organization has attracted a large amount of female recruits. Women who have joined Da’esh have been met with a storm of disbelief and gendered commentary, and have even been designated their own term – ‘jihadi brides’. This policy brief by Ester Strommen from PluriCourts, the University of Oslo, explores agency and women in Da’esh: why women join, their roles, and how women are treated if they return to the West. The brief illuminates how gendered understandings of Western female foreign fighters are affecting judicial processes and potentially creating gaps in our security structure. It examines how gendered narratives in sentencing may be in conflict with UNSCRes 2178 and CEDAW.


Read the full policy brief here.

Ester Strømmen is research assistant at PluriCourts at the Department of Public and International Law, University of Oslo, Norway.  She works within the pillar on International Criminal Law. She holds a Masters of Law (LLM) in Public International Law from the University of Oslo, and an M.A. (Honours) from the University of St. Andrews in International Relations. Her research areas include international criminal law, counter terrorism and human rights, foreign fighters and gender and terrorism.

Conference on the Legitimacy of Unseen Actors in International Adjudication

On 26 and 27 October, the Conference on the Legitimacy of Unseen Actors in International Adjudication will take place in The Hague, co-organised by the PluriCourts Centre of Excellence (Oslo University) and the Europa Instituut (Leiden University).


‘Unseen actors’ are central to the ‘institutional makeup’ of international courts and tribunals as registries and secretariats, law clerks and legal officers may exert varying levels of influence on the judicial process.


At this conference, legal and political science scholars and members of adjudicatory institutions will consider and discuss the legitimacy of assigning ‘unseen actors’ certain roles in the judicial process as well as the implications thereof for the legitimacy of the dispute settlement mechanism as such.


Please find the Call for Papers here: http://www.jus.uio.no/pluricourts/english/news-and-events/events/2017/2017-10-26-unseen-actors.html . The deadline for submission of abstracts via email to unseenactors@jus.uio.no is 31 May. Feel free to email Prof. dr. Freya Baetens (freya.baetens@jus.uio.no) for further information.

Advanced Summer Programme Countering Terrorism: Legal Challenges and Dilemmas

In the past years, terrorism has continued to gain ground as one of the most complex and pressing problems of contemporary societies. Terrorist attacks have hit countries around the world, pushing governments to adopt new policies and measures attempting to address a constantly evolving threat. In order to understand and respond to the global problem of terrorism, the Asser Institute and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT) are offering the unique Advanced Summer Programme on Countering Terrorism: Legal Challenges and Dilemmas. During an intensive week, experts will provide participants with key insights into the current issues surrounding counter-terrorism from a legal perspective, together with state-of-the-art tools to respond to terrorism.

The comprehensive programme addresses counter-terrorism from a variety of perspectives. Topics covered include the definition of terrorism; the notion of ‘global war on terror’; the legal framework surrounding the use of armed drones for targeted killings; the protection of human rights while countering terrorism; preventive and repressive responses to the phenomenon of foreign fighters; challenges regarding the prosecution of (returning) foreign fighters; and the role of intelligence gathering and sharing in counter-terrorism. The lectures are complemented with study visits to international institutions in The Hague.

What will you gain?
A solid understanding of the different challenges, underlying dilemmas, and rule-of-law responses when countering terrorism; An outstanding opportunity to explore, together with high level speakers, longterm,effective, international rule-of-law-based strategies and measures for countering terrorism; and unique networking opportunities with speakers and participants from diverse backgrounds.

Who should participate?
The summer programme is designed for front-line practitioners, policy makers, diplomats and (military) lawyers. Professionals working at think-and-do tanks, international organisations, universities (including PhD students) and in the criminal justice sector who want to expand their knowledge of the underlying legal tenets and dilemmas in countering today’s and tomorrow’s terrorism are also invited to apply.

28 August – 1 September 2017, The Hague
Fee: € 1695
Registration: www.asser.nl/CT2017
Registration deadline: 23 July 2017
Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
Contact: educationtraining@asser.nl



Workshop – Oslo, Norway
15 May 2017

This workshop has three specific aims. Firstly, it focuses on the identification and discussion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ (IACtHR) valuable contribution to the field of International Human Rights Law, particularly in connection to new issues reaching this judicial body. Secondly, aware of existence of negative reactions provoked by some IACtHR’s decisions in determined States, the workshop aims at identifying and analyzing specific factors determining or influencing such rejection. Lastly, this workshop encourages the discussion of possible alternatives for solving those challenges. Through a systematic view of these three aspects, the organizers of the workshop wish to contribute to a better understanding of the role of the IACtHR in the region.

Selection and Format
Participants will be selected on the basis of abstracts submitted in response to this call for papers by 20 March 2017. We are looking for concept notes and working papers on the topics described below or similar. Papers should present innovative ideas and be unpublished at the moment of presentation. Submissions must be addressed to Leiry.Cornejo@EUI.eu or n.t.zuniga@nchr.uio.no. Please include your CV and current institutional affiliation.

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Mexico – US Friendship Quiz

1) What is the origin of this quote? “There shall be firm and universal peace between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, and between their respective countries, territories, cities, towns, and people, without exception of places or persons.”

2) Mexico and the US signed a treaty in 1936 to address challenges associated with migration, what kind of migration were they addressing?

3) Both the US and Mexico have significant symbols that include an eagle and a snake. What do they symbolize?

4) What are the official languages in the US and Mexico?

5) The US and Mexico sit on a belt which includes 75 % (450) of the world’s active volcanoes. What is the belt called?

6) What is Mexico’s official name?

7) Which three very famous food items did Mexico introduce to the world?

8) Contrary to the US, Mexico has once won a gold medal in a men’s football competition. Which competition and when?

9) Which university is the oldest in North America?

10) Which Mexican artist said: “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” (extra point for naming the spouse)?

11) Approximately how many Americans live in Mexico (2010 census)?

12) According to the World Tourism Organization, two states on the American continent are among the top ten tourism destinations in the world, which are these (extra point for guessing their ranking)?

13) Approximately how many million Americans visit Mexico in one year (2014)?

14) Approximately how many million Mexicans visit the US in one year (2014)?

15) Does the Mexico have a surplus or deficit with the US with regard to trade in goods and services, and approximately how many billion USD?

16) Which were the three largest export markets for US goods (extra point if ranked correctly)?

17) Among the three members of NAFTA, which brought most cases against another member of NAFTA before the WTO (extra point for guessing how many)?

18) Among the four richest persons in the world according to Forbes (2016), there are two Americans and one Mexican, can you name them (extra point for ranking)?


Angela Davis’s Speech at the Women’s March

“At a challenging moment in our history, let us remind ourselves that we the hundreds of thousands, the millions of women, trans-people, men and youth who are here at the Women’s March, we represent the powerful forces of change that are determined to prevent the dying cultures of racism, hetero-patriarchy from rising again.

“We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages. We know that we gather this afternoon on indigenous land and we follow the lead of the first peoples who despite massive genocidal violence have never relinquished the struggle for land, water, culture, their people. We especially salute today the Standing Rock Sioux.

“The freedom struggles of black people that have shaped the very nature of this country’s history cannot be deleted with the sweep of a hand. We cannot be made to forget that black lives do matter. This is a country anchored in slavery and colonialism, which means for better or for worse the very history of the United States is a history of immigration and enslavement. Spreading xenophobia, hurling accusations of murder and rape and building walls will not erase history.

“No human being is illegal.

“The struggle to save the planet, to stop climate change, to guarantee the accessibility of water from the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, to Flint, Michigan, to the West Bank and Gaza. The struggle to save our flora and fauna, to save the air—this is ground zero of the struggle for social justice.

“This is a women’s march and this women’s march represents the promise of feminism as against the pernicious powers of state violence. And inclusive and intersectional feminism that calls upon all of us to join the resistance to racism, to Islamophobia, to anti-Semitism, to misogyny, to capitalist exploitation.

“Yes, we salute the fight for 15. We dedicate ourselves to collective resistance. Resistance to the billionaire mortgage profiteers and gentrifiers. Resistance to the health care privateers. Resistance to the attacks on Muslims and on immigrants. Resistance to attacks on disabled people. Resistance to state violence perpetrated by the police and through the prison industrial complex. Resistance to institutional and intimate gender violence, especially against trans women of color.

“Women’s rights are human rights all over the planet and that is why we say freedom and justice for Palestine. We celebrate the impending release of Chelsea Manning. And Oscar López Rivera. But we also say free Leonard Peltier. Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Free Assata Shakur.

“Over the next months and years we will be called upon to intensify our demands for social justice to become more militant in our defense of vulnerable populations. Those who still defend the supremacy of white male hetero-patriarchy had better watch out.

“The next 1,459 days of the Trump administration will be 1,459 days of resistance: Resistance on the ground, resistance in the classrooms, resistance on the job, resistance in our art and in our music.

“This is just the beginning and in the words of the inimitable Ella Baker, ‘We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.’ Thank you.”

Reminder! Write On! Gender on the Bench Conference


PluriCourts/IntLawGrrls are pleased to send a reminder of the call for papers for our conference on Gender on the Bench scheduled in the Hague January 2018.

At present, women judges make up an average of 17% of international courts and tribunals.  There is significant disparity regarding the participation of women on the bench of different international legal regimes.  This conference seeks to promote a higher level of understanding of both current challenges and best practices in promoting women onto international courts.
Please send your abstract and CV to: cecilia.bailliet@jus.uio.no by May 15th 2017.  We are accepting papers addressing various topics, including:
Whether gender affects the interpretation of legal principles, facts, precedent, rules of procedure, rules of evidence, etc.?
Whether women judges exhibit a higher or lower level of judicial restraint in participation in oral hearings, written decisions, separate concurring opinions, and dissent opinions?
Does the time on the bench since appointment impact lower or higher restraint?
How does being the first female or only female judge change the behavior of those judges?
How does it change the behavior of other male judges? 
Do other social identities, e.g. nationality, ethnicity, or language impact the influence and behavior of judges?
How does the judge’s particular expertise impact her participation and output?
Does her expertise matter more for particular legal regimes (e.g. human rights as opposed to trade law)?
Do women judges tend to have different experience from male judges before their appointment to tribunals? (e.g. background in human rights v. criminal law court background)
How do women judges describe their roles in interviews, speeches, articles, etc. outside the court?
Do some areas of international law call for legalistic and professional-socialization modes of judicial decision-making while others permit application of realistic, personal discretion modes of decisionmaking?
How can we address intersectionality and other kinds of diversity?
What regions in the world are women judges coming from and why?
What impact have female judges had on different legal regimes?
Are they continuing to influence their fields?
Understanding internal politics- what cases are female judges chosen for?
What roles are they awarded at the court?
Why women are underrepresented in the practice of international commercial and investment arbitration, as well as trade law and law of the sea?
Why do parties, law firms, and arbitral institutions, when tasked with selecting a chairperson, do not pick women for that role?
Are there best practices in terms of mentoring, gatekeeping, and sponsoring women on the path towards the international bench?
Are female judges interrupted more than male judges?
Do judges ever defer to their areas of expertise?
How does the media portray female judges? 
Papers on related topics are welcome!

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