Gender-Sensitive Reparations in the I.V. v. Bolivia Case: A Missed Opportunity?


woman-1022060_1280The human rights and feminist lawyers were hopeful. Finally a decision on forced sterilization from the Inter-American Court. Deprived of the remedial austerity of its Strasbourg equivalent, and with a harder legal force than the CEDAW Committee, this judgment was bound to be important. The I.V. v. Bolivia landmark decision on the forced sterilization of a refugee woman in Bolivia was delivered during the late days of 2016.

Inspired by the insightful earlier post by Lisa Reinsberg and Francisco Rivera Juaristi, I here discuss the specific reparations provided by the Inter-American Court and explain why the Court missed an opportunity to do something more transformative.

The reparations in I.V. v. Bolivia demonstrate the usual remedial richness of the Inter-American Court. The Court ordered personalized, specialized, and free medical rehabilitation, considering the direct victim’s sexual, reproductive, psychological and psychiatric health harms and needs. It also ordered the state to include I.V.’s family in the therapy and to pay 50,000 US Dollars in compensation to the direct victim for monetary and non-monetary damages. The Court recognized the encroachment of the applicant’s personal integrity, and the subsequent denial of justice, and commanded the state to publish the judgment and acknowledge its responsibility. As a guarantee of non-repetition, the Court stated that Bolivia needs to secure that consent to sterilization is always prior, free, informed, and full. Hence, all public and private hospitals ought to be equipped with printed, succinct information about the reproductive and sexual health rights of women: for the patients and the personnel. Finally, Bolivia should adopt permanent programs for medical students and professionals on informed consent, stereotyping, gender discrimination and violence.

The reparations ordered by the Court in I.V. v. Bolivia are plentiful, but not groundbreaking. They are largely consistent with existing, cited supranational practice. Indeed, also the CEDAW Committee (in the 2006 case A.S. v. Hungary) highlighted the importance of educating and monitoring medical staff in public and private health centers, and “naming and shaming”-awareness-raising through publication of supranational decisions. Moreover, the 50,000 US Dollars for damages is not that much more than the approximate 30,000 US Dollars that the Strasbourg Court has ordered the state to pay victims of involuntary sterilization (in 2011–12 cases V.C. v. Slovakia; N.B. v. Slovakia; and I.G. and Others v. Slovakia). In comparison to compensation amounts normally figuring in the IACtHR’s decisions, the figure in I.V. v. Bolivia is relatively low. Overall, the Court’s remedial approach is similar to the Inter-American Commission’s recommendations in the same case two years earlier. The landmark nature of I.V. v. Bolivia, in combination with the substantial references to earlier cases, seems to have made the Court self-conscious, adopting a cautious approach.

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Introducing Daniela Alaattinoğlu

PicsArt_03-14-09.54.22It is our great pleasure to welcome our new IntLawGrrls contributor Daniela Alaattinoğlu!

Daniela Alaattinoğlu (née Åkers) is a PhD Candidate at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy. Her PhD project, financed by the Academy of Finland, explores involuntary sterilization and castration as a question of human rights and state responsibility, focusing on international rights development and on international-national rights dialogues in three case studies: Sweden, Norway and Finland. Since 2015, Daniela is one of the coordinators of the EUI Fundamental Rights Working Group.

Before starting her doctorate, Daniela worked as a legal researcher for the human rights NGO TOHAV in Istanbul, as a research assistant at the University of Helsinki, and as a lecturer in criminal law the Police College of Finland. Daniela holds an LLB and LLM from the University of Helsinki, an LLM from the EUI, and she has also studied courses at Istanbul Bilgi University.

Daniela’s research interests and earlier publications cover the topics of human rights, law and gender, gender violence, femicide, law and culture, socio-legal studies, international law, criminal law and comparative law.

Heartfelt welcome!

Advanced Summer Programme Countering Terrorism: Legal Challenges and Dilemmas

28 August – 1 September 2017, The Hague

Fee: € 1695


Registration deadline: 23 July 2017

Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut



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


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

IntLawGrrls 10th Year Anniversary Conference: “We have come a long way baby!”

IntLawGrrls celebrated its 10th year anniversary on the 3rd of March 2017 with a Conference at the University of Georgia. The Conference opened on the 2nd of March with the screening of Sundance-selected documentary 500 Years directed by Pamela Yates, shedding light on the resistance of Mayan people against the violent and repressive military measures of the Guatemalan government in recent history. The next day, all participants gathered at the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia. With more than 60 presentations, the Conference offered a great range of subject diversity and women took the floor to have their say on almost every subject of international law. This diversity was equally valid for the participants, who had travelled from all around world including from Japan, Australia, Denmark, Kosovo, North and South America.

As a PhD student, it was a truly inspiring experience to be surrounded by so many accomplished women and to meet other young lawyers and academics. The balance of each panel was carefully constructed to mix early career and senior academics. I had the privilege of sharing the panel with distinguished professors and senior scholars, and to receive constructive feedback on my paper. Each panel enabled deep discussions and was a great opportunity to exchange ideas for all. The lunchtime panel was opened with the remarks of IntLawGrrls’ founder Diane Marie Amann and, as can be seen in the video, she explained the creation of the Blog and how she launched it by accident! It was also a great pleasure to listen to the plenary session where Beth Van Schaack, Mary Dudziak, Catherine Powell, Lucinda Low, Jaya Ramji-Nogales and Patricia Wald discussed “Strategies to Promote Women’s Participation in Shaping International Law and Policy amid the Global Emergence of Antiglobalism”. When Lucinda Low, the president of the American Society of International Law, took the floor, her first remarks to celebrate the success of women who occupy prominent positions today reflected the difficulty of that struggle: “We have come a long way baby!”

I would like to thank Diane Marie Amann for this wonderful Conference and also Kathleen Doty and Britney Hardweare who attended to every second we spent in Georgia. Special thanks again to Jaya Ramji-Nogales and Beth Van Schaack for taking the time to take part in an interview with WILNET, to tell us how the Blog came into being, and its journey to date. IntLawGrrls is much more than a blog; it is a driving force that empowers women in international law from all backgrounds and at any stage of their career. The Blog is a clear example that international law does not only have ‘founding fathers’; women too take the lead to become founding mothers of wonderful initiatives!

Please watch the video to listen to Diane Marie Amann telling the story of IntLawGrrls, Karen Bravo commemorating late members of IntLawGrrls, Lucinda Low explaining how ASIL changed in terms of gender equality over the years, and finally Jaya Ramji-Nogales and Beth Van Schaack explaining how the Blog came into being and how it evolved over the years.

(cross-posted from WILNET)


Introducing Işıl Aral

unnamedIt is our great pleasure to welcome Işıl Aral as an IntLawGrrls contributor! Işıl is a PhD candidate at The University of Manchester and works on unconstitutional changes of government and international legal theory. She graduated from Galatasaray University in 2010 and completed her LLM in human rights law at the London School of Economics. She practiced criminal law for three years at Bayraktar Law Firm, Istanbul. Together with her female colleagues at the Manchester International Law Centre, they founded the Women in International Law Network (WILNET) in February 2016. WILNET’s activities include networking events and web-based content, such as interviews with women international lawyers, providing rich and varied perspectives on how to enter and progress in the profession. WILNET also shares posts highlighting long forgotten contribution of female international lawyers, and invite others to do the same, thereby create a database of prominent historical women figures who have taken part in the advancement of international law.

Heartfelt welcome!

IntLawGrrls 10th year anniversary conference: A great example for conference organization

UGA.jpegThis past week, we, Sabrina Tremblay-Huet and Mélissa Beaulieu Lussier, had the pleasure of attending the IntLawGrrls 10th year anniversary conference. While Mélissa was presenting on the expressive function of international criminal law in the context of prosecuting sexual violence against child soldiers and the possible challenges ICL is facing in this regard, Sabrina was presenting on the topic of law and literature as a feminist method to explore scarcities of legalization in international law, using the example of the law on tourism. We were very impressed by the format of the conference, which was clearly thought out with great care. The organizers succeeded in creating an atmosphere that made every participant feel they were being integrated within a community of inspiring women in international law. Of course, the content of the panels and of the plenary were wonderful, but we wish to celebrate here what we felt was a model in terms of conference format, and how we felt this echoed our readings on a feminist methodology in legal studies.

The event started on March 2nd with a viewing at a local theatre of “500 YEARS”, a documentary about civilian resistance to human rights abuses in Guatemala, from the standpoint of Indigenous activists, followed by a discussion with director Pamela Yates and producer Paco de Onis. Linking an academic conference with a community event allows for the de-compartmentalisation of university research, as this space extends in order to become less hermetic. Feminist methodologies contest the possibility of complete neutrality in research; exposing legal academics to touching activist accounts of human rights abuses reminds us of our role in participating in resistance struggles.

As for the conference itself, on March 3rd, the first thing that struck us was the warm welcome we received. Both of us had a bit of a hectic morning, and arrived a few minutes after the start of the first panel, apologizing frantically about our lateness. Britney’s calm words put us at ease immediately, and a fellow presenter and University of Georgia student offered to lead us to the room the panel we wished to attend was being held. These caring gestures were very much appreciated.

The first thing we noticed about the panels was the room dispositions. Every panel was held in rooms in which presenters and attendees were sitting together around a large round table, without a visible separation between both groups as is usually the case in most conferences. This succeeded in creating a feeling that we were having a friendly discussion, rather than a stressful exposing one’s knowledge climate. The panel chairs only introduced the presenters by name, thus not listing their ranks and accomplishments. This allowed for a much less intimidating climate than those in which emerging scholars or young lawyers can potentially feel out of place or that their contributions are less valuable than those of their fellow presenters. In a similar manner, our name cards only featured our names; not our institutions, nor our rank. Another contribution of feminist methodology literature is to advocate for the breaking down of socially constructed hierarchies. The thoughtful organization surrounding the panels surely was a contribution to making everyone feel like we all had our place at the table.

We thus wish to thank the blog’s founders and conference organizers for creating and sustaining such a welcoming community through IntLawGrrls, and wish it the best of continuities.

Introducing Sabrina Tremblay-Huet and Mélissa Beaulieu Lussier

It is our great pleasure to introduce Sabrina Tremblay-Hue and Mélissa Beaulieu Lussier to IntLawGrrls! Sabrina and Mélissa presented at IntLawGrrls’ 10th Birthday Conference in Athens, Georgia, and in their first post they will share their experiences.


Sabrina Tremblay-HuetSabrina Tremblay-Huet is a doctoral candidate in law at the University of Sherbrooke (LL.D.). She holds a Master’s degree in international law (LL.M.) from the University of Quebec in Montreal. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in international relations and international law (B.A.) from the same university. Sabrina is the co-founder and member of the Critical Legal Research Laboratory. She serves as graduate student representative on the board of the Canadian Law and Society Association (CLSA). Her research interests are mainly critical international legal theory, international tourism law, Inter-American human rights law, and animal law in both the national and international contexts.



photo profil


Melissa Beaulieu Lussier is a LL.M. candidate at McGill University. Prior to her LL.M. studies, she earned a Bachelor degree in International Relations and international law (B.A.) as well as a Bachelor degree in law (LL.B.) at the Université du Québec à Montréal(UQAM). She previously worked as a legal consultant for the defense team of Bosco Ntaganda, a defendant before the International Criminal Court (ICC). She is also a defense attorney in Montréal, Canada. Her main research interests are international criminal law, international humanitarian law, criminal law and feminist theories. Her master thesis focuses on the prosecution of sexual violence by the ICC.

Heartfelt welcome!