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 Papers should present innovative ideas and be unpublished at the moment of presentation.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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Read On! The Legitimacy of International Criminal Tribunals

It is my great pleasure to announce the publication of The Legitimacy of International Criminal Tribunals (CUP 2017), co-edited by Nobuo Hayashi and myself.

With the ad hoc tribunals completing their mandates and the International Criminal Court under significant pressure, today’s international criminal jurisdictions are at a critical juncture. Their legitimacy cannot be taken for granted. This multidisciplinary volume investigates key issues pertaining to legitimacy: criminal accountability, normative development, truth-discovery, complementarity, regionalism, and judicial cooperation. The volume sheds new light on previously unexplored areas, including the significance of redacted judgements, prosecutors’ opening statements, rehabilitative processes of international convicts, victim expectations, court financing, and NGO activism.

Authors were selected from a variety of disciplines including law, philosophy, criminology, etc:

Read On! A Nordic Approach to Promoting Women’s Rights within International Law: Internal v. External Perspectives

The Nordic Journal of International Law has published a Special Edition on Nordic Approaches to International Law.  I was invited to address whether or not there is a Nordic Approach to Promoting Women’s Rights within International Law. I juxtaposed internal and external perspectives in order to identify dilemmas and remaining challenges. Recognition of the Nordic contribution to the drafting of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is contrasted with present day issues which complicate enjoyment of rights. The complexity of formulating a Nordic feminist foreign policy and the appointment of Nordic women as creators of international law is explored.  The article is available here

Read On! International Law and…

August Reinisch, Mary E. Footer & Christina Binder have just edited Select Proceedings of the European Society of International Law, Vol. 5 (2014) (Hart 2016), available here

Table of Contents:


1. Judicial Engagement in International Human Rights Comparativism Anja Seibert-Fohr
2. Jurisprudential Dialogue in Supranational Human Rights Litigation in Africa Magnus Killander
3. Human Rights Adjudication as Transnational Adjudication: A Peripheral Case of Domestic Courts as International Law Adjudicators Samantha Besson
4. A New Doctrine on the Block? The European Court of Human Rights and the Responsible Courts Doctrine Basak Çali
5. International Law through the National Prism: The Role of Domestic Law and Jurisprudence in Shaping International Investment Law Hege Elisabeth Kjos
6. National Case Law as a Generator of International Refugee Law: Rectifying an Imbalance within the UNHCR Guidelines on International Protection Cecilia M Bailliet
7. National Law as an Unpredictable Generator of International Law: The Case of Norm Export at the World Trade Organization Gregory Messenger
8. International Investment Agreements and Good Governance: Norm and Institutional Design, Internalisation and Domestic Rule-making Mavluda Sattorova
9. Investment Law at the Crossroads of Public and Private International Law Andrea K Bjorklund, Georgios Petrochilos, Stephan W Schill and Diane A Desierto
10. The Forced Co-Existence of Trade and Investment Provisions in Preferential Trade and Investment Agreements and the Regulatory Architecture of the Systems of Trade and Investment Law Catharine Titi
11. The Shared Responsibility of the EU for Member States’ Financial Crisis Measures as a Defence in International Investment Claims Anastasios G Gourgourinis
12. Subsequent Treaty Practice: The Work of the International Law Commission Georg Nolte
13. A Gap, a Map, and an Intellectual Trap: Changing Conceptions of Regime Interaction and of Interdisciplinarity Jeffrey L Dunoff
14. The Challenges Posed by Cyber-Attacks to the Law on Self-Defence Irène Couzigou
15. ‘Culturomics’ and International Law Research Jamie Trinidad
16. Opium as an Object of International Law: Doctrines of Sovereignty and Intervention Jessie Hohmann
17. International Law in Transit: The Concept of ‘Indigenous Peoples’ and its Transitions in International, National and Local Realms-the Example of the Bedouin in the Negev Emma Nyhan
18. Fragmented Feminisms: Critical Feminist Thinking in the Post-millennium Era Gina Heathcote
19. ‘For the Game, For the World’-And also for Human Rights? Analysing Human Rights Obligations of International Sports Associations Lars Schönwald
20. Emerging Fair Trial Guarantees Jernej Letnar Cernic
21. International Sports Law and the Fight against Doping: An Analysis from an International Human Rights Perspective Carmen Pérez González
22. Engaging International Law and Literature with Kafka, Deleuze and Guattari Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko
23. An Introduction to the Idea of International Law and the International Community in Contemporary Catholic Theology 5Aleš Weingerl
24. The Ideological Structure of the Early Jus Gentium and its Implications for the Current Debate about Normative Hierarchy and Public Policy in the International Community Dimitrios A Kourtis
25. The Inextricable Connection between Historical Consciousness and International Law: New Imperialism, the International Court of Justice and its Interpretation of the Inter-temporal Rule Mieke van Der Linden
26. Engaged Visual Art as a Tool for Normative Renewal in International Human Rights: The Case of Ariella Azoulay’s Potential History (2012) Eva Brems and Hilde van Gelder
27. Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage: An Inter-disciplinary Approach to International Law Janet Blake
28. Zero Dark Thirty: International Law, Torture and Representation Daniel Joyce and Gabrielle Simm
29. À la Maison-Blanche: le président des États-Unis se soucie-t-il du droit international lorsqu’il décide d’une intervention militaire? Olivier Corten
30. ‘International Law and ….’ Variations on a Theme Vera Gowlland-Debbas –

Women in International Law Network welcomes Judge Xue Hanqin

The Manchester International Law Centre welcomed Judge Xue on the 5 of May 2016 to deliver the Annual Melland Schill lecture. Her lecture, entitled “Cultural Element in International Law”, illustrated how culture, especially languages, traditions and historical heritage affect the way we understand and apply international law.

The Women in International Law Network launched its website and interviewed her Excellency some key questions about her pathway into international law.  WILNET  states that “She generously shared with us some words of wisdom that should be of interest to all women international lawyers, and indeed aspiring international lawyers in general”.  The interview is available here.

How Do Wars End?

I had the great pleasure of attending Southern Denmark University’s Center for War Studies‘ signature event “How Do Wars End?”.  The conference started with the riveting reflections of the famous Danish author, Carsten Jensen, on “The Forever Wars”.  He described his experiences embedded with Danish troops in Afghanistan and related the soldiers’ problems dealing with a lack of clear strategic goals within the conflict, complex  homecoming struggles, as well as the current trend towards privatization of war. His books included characters that range from traditional soldiers to drone pilots and who grapple with ethical challenges as well as boredom.  He also provided a wonderful overview of war literature from around the world, leaving the audience with a compelling urge to run to the library.  The next presentation was by Christopher Kolenda, a Senior Military Fellow at King’s College London.  Kolenda served as commander of an infantry task force in Afghanistan which handed out notebooks and pencils to the local community as part of its peacemaking strategy (in part influenced by Greg Mortenson’s book Three Cups of Tea).  He also co-authored the McChrystal assessment on Afghanistan and has worked with strategic policy on Pakistan as well.  He delivered an insightful explanation of why the US has trouble managing war termination; including the cost of failure to follow up early negotiation opportunities, problems related to centralization of security decision-making, and the challenges of narratives which delegitimize the enemy and impede negotiation.  This was followed by Joachim Krause , the Director of the Institute for Security Policy at the University of Kiel.  He discussed confusion regarding the definition of war and set forth a typology, ranging from cabinet wars to classic international wars, limited wars over specific islands, post-modern wars, hybrid wars, people’s wars, religious wars, wars of secession, civil wars, and the emergence of war economies.  He ruefully commented on the negative consequences of war efforts that were terminated too early as well as those that were terminated too late.  The breadth of his presentation served as a confirmation to me that the ethics academic, Jonathan Glover, had appropriately named his book on the scope of atrocities committed in the 20th Century, HumanityCian O’Driscoll of the University of Glasglow reflected on the Victory of Just War, ruminating on the scope of triumph.  He was followed by Thomas Obel Hansen of Ulster University who gave a thorough overview of transitional justice, breaking myths and underscoring real dilemmas in practice.   In conclusion, I gave a perspective from international law in which I reflected on the challenges we face given the lack of normative agreement on what we mean by peace, explaining the difference between negative peace and positive peace, as well as institutional failures to implement peace in the long term.  I gave an overview of the book Promoting Peace through International Law and then proceeded to discuss specific cases. I noted the Peace Accords in Colombia and the observation that there is no more war in the Americas.  To counter this, I used the example of Guatemala, which formally experienced a Peace Accord in 1996 while having 1 million IDPs and 200,000 refugees who claimed land restitution, as well as 200,000 paramilitary troops and 3,000 URNG guerillas who required demobilization.  In spite of a solid commitment by MINUGUA, USAID, World Bank, EU, Norway, and other entities, Guatemala experienced a serious setback in human rights and security, well documented in a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. At present, Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world, as well as high levels of illiteracy, and a homicide rate that renders it one of the most murderous countries in the world.  Most crimes are not prosecuted and the state’s security system has been infiltrated by criminal elements resulting in a parallel state. Thus, there is in effect a new war between criminal elements and the government.  This experience leads us to consider the process in Colombia, which has an overwhelming 7 million IDPs to contend with, difficult in particular due to ongoing polarization within the society regarding accountability vs. amnesty dilemmas.  I called for more research in peace studies, in particular adding legal and critical perspectives.

Kudos to  Anders Engberg-Pedersen and Sten Rynning for organizing a thought-proving conference!

Interview with Georges Abi-Saab

In the latest edition of our series titled “Conversations with Leading Judges”, it was my great pleasure to interview Georges Abi-Saab, Honorary Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.  He was Member (and former Chairman) of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (since 2000). He was also Member of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Monetary Fund and of various international arbitral tribunals (ICSID, ICC, etc.)  Abi-Saab served as Judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice and Sometime Judge on the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda and Commissioner on the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC). He has published widely on international law in both English and French, including his General Course on Public International Law at the Hague Academy.

The interview touches upon a wide array of topics including pluralism within International Law, the New International Economic Order, politicization of the WTO Appellate Body, diversity within international adjudication, and other topics.  The  video interview is available at:http://www.jus.uio.no/english/services/knowledge/podcast/guest-lectures/2016/interview-with-his-honour-judge-georges-abi-saab.html

The full set of interviews is available at:  http://www.jus.uio.no/english/research/areas/intrel/interviews/