Go On! International Sports Law Journal Conference

Go On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.
►  Asser Institute announced open registration for its annual International Sports Law Journal (ISLJ) Conference, which will be held on October 25-26, 2022, in the Netherlands (and online). The conference is a platform to discuss transnational debates on the state of international sports law and governance. 15+ international sports law experts will come over the course of the two days to discuss the topical issues at the top of the transnational sports law agenda, such as:

– the reaction of Sports Governing Bodies (SGBs) to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the neutrality of sport

– the competition law challenges to transnational governance by SGBs 

– the intersection between human rights and international sports  

– trans and queer participation in sporting competitions

You can read more about the event here, and check out their social media here: Twitter & Linkedin.

Write On! Call for Papers: 4th Annual Postgraduate Conference in International Law and Human Rights

This installment of Write On!, our periodic compilation of calls for papers, includes calls to present at  the School of Law and Social Justice at the University of Liverpool, as follows:
The International Law and Human Rights Unit and Critical Approaches to International Criminal Law Unit, part of the School of Law and Social Justice at the University of Liverpool, jointly welcome paper proposals for the 4th Annual Postgraduate Conference in International Law and Human Rights. The conference will take place on March 27th and 28th, 2023. Theme is “Distortion, Distillation, Disorder: International Law and Critique Twenty Years After the Invasion of Iraq”. We encourage proposals from any postgraduate student specializing in international law, human rights or related subjects. The conference offers a unique opportunity for postgraduate/doctoral students to present and discuss their work in a stimulating and friendly academic environment, among peers with similar research interests. Deadline is November 18th, 2022.
► For more information, go here. Any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the conference organizers at ilhruconf@liverpool.ac.uk.

A Closer Look at Recent Self-Determination Issues in Eastern Europe

Following his recognition of the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states President Vladimir Putin decided to invade the Ukraine with military force on 24 February 2022. According to a speech delivered by him later on the same day, Putin seeks to justify his actions in international legal terms by at least implicitly referring to two doctrines: self-defence and/or humanitarian intervention (see this post), either in self-defence against a threat to Russia itself or in assistance of the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk which asked the Russian Federation for military assistance for their self-defence. Leaving aside the doubtfulness concerning the legal standing of these defences (see this post), it is clear that national self-determination claims by Russian separatists have been instrumentalised to serve Putin’s agenda.

While all eyes are focussed on Ukraine and Russia, old national self-determination conflicts in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter ‘Bosnia’) also flared up. The decision made by the international body overseeing the peace plan for Bosnia to include genocide denial in the Bosnian criminal code led Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik to make a number of announcements that raised fears of the breach of the fragile peace (see here, here and here). Amongst other things, Dodik threatened to “dissolve” Bosnia. At the same time, Bosnian Croat separatism also poses a challenge to the political unity and territorial integrity of Bosnia. Once again, relations between the three ethnic groups recognised as constituting Bosnia in the Dayton Peace Agreement from 1995 are compromised.

While showing obvious differences, both conflicts reference national self-determination, showing a correlation between historic nostalgia and politically motivated national self-determination. Putin justifies Russian interest and intervention in Ukraine on the basis of historic ties, emphasizing “mistakes” made by historical political figures, which ought to be corrected. Dodik refers to the artificially imposed borders of Bosnia after the Bosnian War through the Dayton Agreement (see here), which he alleges prevents RS from achieving its full political and economic potential. Similarly, Bosnian Croats perceive themselves as marginalized group hindered from equally participating in Bosnia’s governance and within Bosnia’s governance system hindered from achieving full political, economic, social and cultural development. In both cases, national self-determination is used as a tool of nationalist forces to reverse certain aspects of history that are portrayed as driving economic and societal hardship, lack of development and inabilities of an ethnic group to (equally) express their desires and aspirations. Furthermore, both Putin and Dodik repeatedly refer to alleged acts of oppression by the Ukraine or Bosnia (through the terms of the Dayton Agreement, rather than an imminent existential threat; see here), which they allege make the situation of the Russian and Serb minorities, respectively, insufferable.

Independent statehood on its own is no panacea to these ailments and brings its own challenges. Regional rather than national approaches, a certain degree of decentralisation and legal protections, which prevent a country’s majority from disregarding or overwhelming ethnic minorities, could be a means to secure the interests of ethnic minorities. The recent actions and rhetoric of President Putin signpost a different interest – one of territorial aggrandization to re-establish a Soviet Union under Russian leadership. This hegemonic claim aims to extend influence and re-establish supremacy over certain territories, including its peoples. It is in light of such interpretations of the national self-determination doctrine, that its conflict with the principle of territorial integrity becomes obvious.

The persistence of national self-determination needs critical reassessment in light of the aforementioned points. History shows it prone to misuse by political leaders of established states (as Hitler did in seeking reunification of ‘German territories’). In seeking to underline their national sovereignty, this by its very nature disrupts any reconciliation of interests among different ethnic groups. Instead, it seeks to establish stability by cementing the predominance of one ethnic group, deemed to constitute a ‘nation’ above others. Under this pretence, the self-determination claims could become merely cyclical, a ‘right’ not aligned with the vaunted objectives of securing freedom from oppression.

Supranational self-determination on the basis of pragmatic interdependence rather than rigid borders may be the antidote to this development. The point of departure for such a theory would be a concept of supranationalism that by its very nature is an opposing stream to nationalism, as it necessarily shifts power away from the national state. Within that framework, supranationalism does not aim to dissolve already existing geographical borders; it does, however, aim at decreasing their barrier function concerning economic, social and cultural exchange and encourage the distribution of power on more than the national level. As the example of the EU shows, supranationalism encourages the involvement of multiple layers (national, regional and supranational) in governance questions. Decades of peace in Europe, whose own history is characterised by long struggles with nationalism repeatedly endangering peace, show that supranationalism is an effective means for countering nationalist aspirations aimed at the establishment of one nation’s supremacy over others. Considering the above-mentioned cases, the development of many European countries suggests that supranationalism is capable of achieving the objectives often pursued through national self-determination as presented above, the arguably most important one being development and economic prosperity. It goes without saying, that there are still considerable issues concerning the distribution of wealth within the EU, and its recent rule of law crisis also highlights that supranationalism carries its own issues. It does, however, carry considerable potential that so far has remained unexplored within the framework of self-determination of peoples. A supranational approach to self-determination claims could furthermore avoid the tensions found between the concepts of national self-determination and territorial integrity, as it does not seek to establish independent statehood, nor does or should it aim at the elimination of sovereign states. Of course, the challenge would be to avoid supranationalism being captured by disguised nationalism. Recent nationalist and populist movements from within EU Member States are a warning sign that in pursuing supranational projects, especially if they are to be included in the realm of the right to self-determination, a bilateral power struggle between national and supranational institutions is a serious risk. This is where the third, regional layer is an important counterweight, to ensure the focus is brought back to the interests of smaller actors involved. As it stands, international law only considers internal or external self-determination, with national self-determination falling under the latter category, if resulting in successful secession. Yet, focussing on outcomes that affect the question of statehood in one way or the other, is prone to give rise to the same territorial and sovereignty conflicts recurring again and again. Thus, it is proposed here to consider including supranationalism in the options through which the right to self-determination can be exercised.


Introducing Felicitas Benziger

It is our pleasure to introduce our new contributor Felicitas Benziger. Felicitas Benziger is a PhD candidate under the joint supervision of Professors Joshua Castellino and Joelle Grogan at Middlesex University London, where she investigates the right to self-determination of peoples in a supranational context as part of her doctoral research. Felicitas studied law in Germany (Freie Universität Berlin) where she completed the First State Exam and she holds a Masters degree from University College London (UCL).

Already during her studies in Berlin, Felicitas had a keen interest in international law, which led her to choose that area for her focus study (“Schwerpunktstudium”). After completing her undergraduate studies, Felicitas further pursued this interest and completed a LLM programme at UCL focussing on International Human Rights Law, Law of Treaties, Law and Policies of International Courts and Tribunals as well as Public International Law.

Felicitas also assisted Professor Philippe Sands QC as Legal Research Assistant/Paralegal at Matrix Chambers in London from 2019 to 2022, where she worked in the areas of International Arbitration, Investment Law, Sports Arbitration, Human Rights and Inter-State Disputes (e.g. territorial and maritime delimitation).

You can also visit her social media handles:-

Twitter: @FelicitasBenz

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/felicitas-benziger-734b65190/

Academia: https://mdx.academia.edu/FelicitasBenziger

Heartfelt Welcome!

Write On! American Association of Law Schools Call for Papers

This installment of Write On!, our periodic compilation of calls for papers, includes calls to present at the AALS Annual Meeting, as follows:

The American Association of Law Schools’ Section on International Human Rights has its annual meeting program, to be held January 6, 2023, in San Diego, California. The program will focus on the general international law and international human rights implications of the sanctions on Russia for its aggression against Ukraine and its systematic war crimes in carrying out the armed conflict. For Submission Guidelines please see attached document.

Go On! Nuremberg Forum 2022

Go On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.
►  The International Nuremberg Principles Academy announced open registration for Nuremberg Forum 2022 “The International Criminal Court 2002–2022: A Court in Practice”, which will be a hybrid event held October 13-15, 2022, at Courtroom 600 of the Nuremberg Palace of Justice. The conference will examine the achievements of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its first two decades. High-level experts will analyze its work and will reflect on its set-up and achievements in light of the Nuremberg Principles and the Nuremberg legacy. 

Six panels which will identify the ICC’s strengths and weaknesses in its fight against impunity:

· Panel I: The ICC’s Major Achievements

· Panel II: Goal Setting: How Deterrent is the ICC in Reality?

· Panel III: Complementarity: Universal Aspirations Versus Tangible Results

· Panel IV: Justice is Interconnected and Does not End with a Sentencing: Reflecting on the Experiences of Victims, Witnesses and the Accused Before the ICC

· Panel V: Whose Outreach and to Whom?

Click here for more information and to register.

Go On! International Law Weekend 2022

Go On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.
►  The American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) is excited to announce that registration is now open for International Law Weekend (#ILW2022) which will be held October 20-22, 2022 in NYC. The unifying theme for ILW 2022, held during the American Branch’s centennial year, is The Next 100 Years of International Law. The conference will feature 35 panels (many of which offer CLE), a High-Level Opening Plenary, multiple keynote addresses, networking opportunities, the 100th Members Meeting, award ceremonies, and more. The Thursday evening Centennial Gala & Dinner and Friday evening UN Mission Reception require separate tickets.

The early bird discount ends on September 10 and non-members can select the bundle rate for big savings. Click here to register and learn more about International Law Weekend 2022.

Write On! Student Rights and Legal Education Journal Call for Papers

This installment of Write On!, our periodic compilation of calls for papers, includes calls to submit to The Foundation for Student Rights, as follows:

The Student Rights and Legal Education Journal, is calling for submissions for its first issue. The Journal’s themes focus on topics related to student rights, education related legislation and policy, and legal education. They accept submissions from a wide range of disciplines including: law, education, philosophy, and psychology, etc. The first issue will be published on September 30th 2022. All the submissions should be sent by an e-mail to journal@prawaucznia.pl. Here is the link to the Author Guidelines and here is the link to the homepage of the Journal. 

Go On! Panel on Torture, Tanks and Liz Truss: Inside the legal battle to free Nazanin

Go On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.
►  REDRESS, an international human rights NGO, announced open registration for Torture, Tanks and Liz Truss: Inside the Legal Battle to Free Nazanin, which will be held on September 21, 2022, in London. This will be a panel discussion on the legal battle to secure the release of their client, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was held hostage in Iran for six years.  Click here for details and here to register.

Write on! Call for Proposals: Emerging Voices Panel at International Law Weekend 2022

► The American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA)’s International Law Weekend Organizing Committee is accepting abstracts on “The Next 100 Years of International Law” for presentation at ILW 2022 , held on October 20-22, 2022 in New York City (virtual participation may be possible), as part of a panel of new and emerging professionals. Eligibility is restricted to applicants who have been working in the field of international law for five years or less. Submissions should be sent to ilw@ila-americanbranch.org with the subject line “Emerging Voices – ILW 2022.”. Deadline is August 28, 2022.

► Click here to learn more about International Law Weekend 2022 and here for more info on proposals.