Write On! Papers sought for AsianSIL Interest Group on International Law in Domestic Courts

AsianSIL IG ILDC logoAs noted previously, the Asian Society of International Law’s Interest Group on International Law in Domestic Courts is seeking paper proposals for a workshop to be held on 24 August 2017 at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea. Full details are here (pdf).

Interested researchers and practitioners should send a 500-word abstract and a short bio to the convenors of the IG-ILDC: m.kanetake@uu.nl (Machiko Kanetake) and tjw71@case.edu (Tim Webster). The deadline is 23 April 2017.

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Write On! AsianSIL Interest Group on International Law in Domestic Courts

asiansil-ig-ildc-logoThe Asian Society of International Law’s Interest Group on International Law in Domestic Courts has issued a call for papers for a workshop to be held on 24 August 2017 at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.

The workshop will be held on the occasion of the Sixth Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law (which takes place on 25-26 August). The Interest Group will organize a half-day workshop on the ways Asian courts invoke, interpret and apply international law. For decades, judiciaries across Asia have turned to international treaties, and customary international law, to resolve disputes between private actors on the one hand, and between individuals and the states on the other. Despite this widespread practice, insufficient attention has been paid to the Asian countries’ reception of international law. We hope to use this opportunity to spur scholarly reflection on state practice from any Asian jurisdiction.

Participants may wish to address the following topics:
interpretive methods used by courts to enforce obligations under international human rights treaties;
why courts enforce (or refuse) arbitral awards under the New York Convention;
direct and indirect applications of the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods;
the rights of prisoners of war under the Geneva and Hague Conventions, or other sources of international humanitarian law;
courts’ citation to reports, recommendations and comments issued by treaty-monitoring bodies and international organizations; and
invocation of unincorporated treaties.
This is by no means an exhaustive list; interested participants are encouraged to reflect on these, and other, topics that would fall within this general category.

Interested researchers and practitioners should send a 500-word abstract and a short bio to the convenors of the IG-ILDC: m.kanetake@uu.nl (Machiko Kanetake) and tjw71@case.edu (Tim Webster). The deadline is 23 April 2017.

Selected participants will be informed by 15 May 2017. Preference will be given to current members of the Asian Society of International Law. Each participant must submit a short paper (5-10 pages) by 15 August 2017 for distribution to the other participants. Panelists will be expected to cover their own travel and lodging costs.

Transnational Standards in the Domestic Legal Order: Papers sought for October Amsterdam Workshop

UvAlogoAs noted previously, the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam, where I am a researcher, is seeking paper proposals for a workshop on “Transnational Standards in the Domestic Legal Order: Authority and Legitimacy”, to be held on 24 October 2014 in Amsterdam. The workshop explores the evolving interactions between transnational standards and the domestic legal order from the perspectives of authority and legitimacy. Full details are here (pdf). The keynote speaker will be Nico KrischProfessor Nico Krisch (right), Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals. The sponsoring organizations will cover the speakers’ travelling and accommodation expenses. Paper proposals (max. 500 words) and a CV should be sent to Ms. Angela Moisl at <a.moisl@uva.nl>. The deadline is 18 May 2014.

 

Transnational Standards in the Domestic Legal Order: Papers sought for October Amsterdam Workshop

UvAThe Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam, where I am a researcher, is seeking paper proposals for a workshop on “Transnational Standards in the Domestic Legal Order: Authority and Legitimacy”, to be held on 24 October 2014 in Amsterdam. The workshop is part of the research project “Architecture of Postnational Rulemaking” at the University of Amsterdam. The keynote speaker will be Professor Nico Krisch, Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals. Full details are here (pdf).

architecture-arils-groupThe workshop explores the evolving interactions between transnational standards and the domestic legal order from the perspectives of authority and legitimacy. The interactions between transnational standards and the domestic legal order have significantly evolved, and reduced regulatory fragmentation across states without the rigidity of concluding any formal international treaties.

Authority appears to be a multi-faceted notion when it is cast against transnational standards. On the one hand, the authority of standard-setting bodies seems to be strongly supported by the expertise of transnational bodies, the industry and scientific “consensus” they formulate at the transnational level, and pressure for regulatory harmonization across states. On the other hand, the authority of standard-setting bodies and their standards appears to be contextual, and constituted by domestic politics and legal contexts.

The authority of transnational standards further gives rise to a multi-faceted question of legitimacy. At the transnational level, standard-setting processes may not allow any formal governmental representation, as contrasted with the conclusion of treaties and the decision-making processes in international organizations. At the domestic level, transnational standards are not subject to parliamentary approval required for the conclusion of formal treaties. The executive organs may defer to transnational standards and avoid domestic deliberation. The technicality of industry or scientific standards makes it difficult for the wider public to review the governmental reliance on transnational standards. Overall, there is a strong indication that transnational standards may escape domestic scrutiny at multiple levels.

The workshop will address the evolving interactions between transnational standards and the domestic legal order, particularly from the following three angles:

►Transnational standards in domestic legal practices
►Authority of transnational standards
►Legitimacy of transnational standards

Paper proposals (max. 500 words) and a CV should be sent to Ms. Angela Moisl at a.moisl@uva.nl. The deadline is 18 May 2014.

Jones v UK: A Judicial Contestation of the Committee against Torture

Strasbourg ECtHROn 14 January 2014, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Jones v. UK upheld the jurisdictional immunities of both the state and state officials, against whom Mr. Jones and other applicants brought civil claims for alleged torture committed abroad. The detailed analyses of the decision can be found on EJIL Talk! (by Philippa Web and Lorna McGregor) and Opinio Juris (by William S. Dodge and Chimène Keitner). The ECtHR has re-aligned the immunity of states and that of state officials (see Philippa Web’s post) with respect to civil proceedings to compensate the acts of torture. (photo credit)

Apart from the scope of jurisdictional immunity itself, Jones v. UK contains another interesting point: how domestic and regional courts accept and resist the interpretation offered by a human rights treaty-monitoring body.

The monitoring body before the ECtHR

In Jones v. UK, the applicants invoked Article 14(1) (right to redress) of the Convention Against Torture (1984), as one of relevant rules of international law in interpreting Article 6(1) (the right of access to a court) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 14(1) of the Convention Against Torture provides that:

“Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation…”

The applicants argued that granting immunity would contravene the Convention Against Torture, which requires a civil remedy for acts of torture, including those committed outside the forum state. The provision of compensation under Article 14 is not territorially limited (para. 173).

This interpretation finds support from the Committee against Torture, the monitoring body for the Convention Against Torture. In July 2005, in Concluding Observations addressed to Canada, the Committee expressed its concern over the restricted availability of civil remedies to torture victims (CAT/C/CR/34/CAN, para. 5(g)). In June 2012, the Committee specified its concern, recommending that Canada consider amending its State Immunity Act (CAT/C/CAN/CO/6, paras. 14-15). In December 2012, these country-specific observations culminated in General Comment No. 3 concerning Article 14, in which the Committee expressed its position that:

“granting immunity, in violation of international law, to any State or its agents or to non-State actors for torture or ill-treatment, is in direct conflict with the obligation of providing redress to victims.” (CAT/C/GC/3, para. 42)

The ECtHR in Jones v. UK disagreed with the Committee against Torture. It observed that the “question whether the Torture Convention has given rise to universal civil jurisdiction is…far from settled” (para. 208).

The monitoring body before domestic courts

As the ECtHR noted, its disagreement was in line with earlier judicial contestation at the domestic level (paras. 208, 29-30).

Judicial ReceptionIn Canada, in 2002 and 2004, the Ontario Superior Court and the Ontario Court of Appeal in Bouzari v. Iran dismissed a civil action against Iran for torture by upholding Iran’s jurisdictional immunities (cases reported as 124 ILR 427, and 128 ILR 586, and analyzed by Novogrodsky 18 EJIL 939-953). The Canadian Bouzari cases were followed by the Committee’s aforementioned Concluding Observations in 2005, in which the Committee recommended that Canada “should review its position under article 14 of the Convention to ensure the provision of compensation through its civil jurisdiction to all victims of torture” (CAT/C/CR/34/CAN, para. 5 (f)).

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Interfaces between International and National Legal Orders

An intInterfaces logoernational seminar entitled “Interfaces between International and National Legal Orders: An International Rule of Law Perspective” was held on 14-15 March 2013 in Amsterdam. The seminar was organized by the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL), where I am a researcher, and sponsored by the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL).

The seminar explored the evolving “interfaces” between international and national legal orders from the perspective of the international rule of law. The interfaces between international and national legal orders are the points where the actors, norms and procedures which form and maintain the two legal orders interact with one another. These interfaces have significantly evolved due to the extension of the subject matter of international law and its impact on domestic regulatory policies.

International legal scholarship has produced extensive studies to capture the inter-order interfaces primarily from the perspective of national rule of law. Much less recognized is the international perspective; namely, the impact of national law on the rule of law within the international legal order.

National Contestations & the International Rule of Law

The SeminaInternational Rule of Lawr’s “international” angle was a response to the critical need to situate the national legal order, not merely as the venue for implementation, but as the agent for the critical revision of the international rule of law and of the universality of policies behind it.

In the Seminar, Veronika Fikfak (University of Cambridge) presented the “strong” and “weak” review techniques employed by domestic courts, whereby the courts delicately elicit dialogues and responses from international institutions. Domestic courts’ contestation and international courts’ responses have been incrementally formalized and methodized, as Birgit Peters (University of Bremen) demonstrated within the context of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mateja Steinbrück Platiše (Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law) eloquently argued that the challenges raised by domestic courts to the immunities of international organizations have incrementally invited  jurisprudential and political transitions on the part of international courts and organizations. The space for domestic reinterpretation and innovation was arguably preserved by international law, as Ingrid Wuerth (Vanderbilt University School of Law) highlighted within the context of the international law of jurisdictional immunities. “Judicial” contestations may need to be understood against broader political resistance against international law and institutions, as Prabhash Ranjan (National Law University) articulated with respect to the backlash against bilateral investment treaties (BITs).

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