Go On! 5th CELI Peace Talk Seminar: International Law & International Relations

Go On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.

► The Centre for European Law and Internationalisation (CELI) announced open registration for the 5th CELI Peace Talk seminar on ‘International Law & International Relations: Power and Global Inequality’ which will be held on 22 April 22, 2021. For more information and registration, please click here.


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Go On! “Diversity in aid of legitimacy of international arbitration?”

Go On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.

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The Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy of the Graduate Institute, Geneva (IHEID) announced open registration for Diversity in aid of legitimacy of international arbitration?, which will be held on April 26, 2021 at 12:30 PM EST (6:30pm CEST).

The SNF-funded project “Diversity on the International Bench: Building Legitimacy for International Courts and Tribunals”, led by Professors Neus Torbisco-Casals and Andrew Clapham (Graduate Institute), has launched a monthly public lecture series on “Women’s Voices in the International Judiciary”. The series aims to reflect on the lack of diversity in the international judiciary —especially gender diversity—, which raises concerns not just in terms of descriptive representation and symbolic self-identification, but also regarding unconscious bias and systemic privileging of specific ideologies or positions in the process of adjudication.

The lectures will run from March 2021 until Spring 2022. The third lecture will feature Professor Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler, who will deliver a presentation titled “Diversity in aid of legitimacy of international arbitration?”.

The lectures are open to the broader public, but registration is required for attendance. Registration is available here. For more information on our project and events, click here.

Go On! Nuremberg Academy Event

Go On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.

International Nuremberg Principles Academy: International Nuremberg  Principles Academy

►  The International Nuremberg Principles Academy and the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg announced open registration for the upcoming conference entitled, Prohibition, Prosecution and Prevention of Enforced Disappearances, which will be held on online on May 7-8, 2021. The conference will consist of a series of sessions in Zoom webinar format to bring together communities virtually to explore possible responses to enforced disappearances.

►  Please register by sending an e-mail with your name, institutional affiliation and e-mail address to humanrights-centre@fau.de with the subject line “Registration for Conference”. Click here for more details.

Go on! ABILA International Law Weekend: Call for Panel Proposals

Go On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.

ABILA - American Branch of the International Law Association

► The American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) is now receiving panel proposals for its annual International Law Weekend (ILW), to be held October 28-30, 2021. The deadline to submit a proposal is May 30, 2021.

► The ILW Organizing Committee (Committee) invites panel proposals to be submitted online by May 30, 2021. Please note that proposals will only be accepted through the online ILW Panel Proposal Submission Form. For questions regarding ILW 2021, please contact: ilw@ila-americanbranch.org. For more information, please click here.

Write On! Call for Papers 6th Annual TAU Workshop for Junior Scholars in Law

Tel Aviv University - Find Your LL.M.

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


► The Tel Aviv University (TAU) Buchmann Faculty of Law is pleased to invite submissions to its sixth junior legal scholar workshop., to be held November 14-16, 2021, at at the TAU Faculty of Law. The theme is “Legal Change in Revolutionary Times.” Deadline is June 1st ,2021.


► The workshop provides junior scholars with the opportunity to present and discuss their work, receive meaningful feedback from faculty members and peers, and actively participate in an international community of junior legal scholars.  For more information on the workshop and details of the call for papers, click here.

On the Job! Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer (Firearms Control Expert)

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is seeking a firearms control expert (P3).

This position is located in the Implementation Support Section (ISS) of the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch (OCB), Division for Treaty Affairs (DTA) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. The incumbent will work under the direct supervision of the Senior Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, heading the Global Firearms Programme (GFP).

The deadline for this position is May 6, 2021. For more information, click here.

Go On! International Nuremberg Principles Academy: Film Screening ‘Peace Through Justice’

The International Nuremberg Principles Academy is pleased to announce a global screening of the documentary “Peace Through Justice – The Legacy of Thomas Buergenthal” on Judge Thomas Buergenthal’s life and legacy, followed by a live conversation between Judge Thomas Buergenthal and Deputy Director Dr. Viviane Dittrich.

The documentary by Ilona Kalmbach and Sabine Jainski presents the life and legacy of Judge Thomas Buergenthal, Honorary President of the Advisory Council of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy. In the live conversation following the film screening Judge Buergenthal will address his commitment to seeking accountability without revenge as well as current challenges in the field and will be open to questions from the audience.

The live screening is on April 13, 2021 at 5:00PM CEST. For more information and to register for the screening, click here.

Time to Reconsider the Use of Sanctions

This is a translation of an Opinion Piece published by my colleague Benedicte Bull,  Professor of Political Science, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Oslo, Norway https://www.sum.uio.no/english/people/aca/bbull/ (the original was published in Norwegian in Dagsavisen on March 30th)

The sanctions against Venezuela have worsened the economic crisis, contributed to consolidating Nicolás Maduro’s power, and deepened the criminalization of the economy.  This does not mean that all sanctions are wrong.  However, now that Biden’s general approach to sanctions seems to be rather similar to that of Trump,  there is a need to review what sanctions can and cannot accomplish.

Donald Trump set wild records regarding the amount of new sanction-actions issued against other countries- 3.900 total.  No president before him issued over 700.

Thus far, there is little that indicates that Joe Biden will be less eager to apply sanctions.  Furthermore, the EU, Russia, and China have recently ramped up the use of sanctions- often in response to the United States.

Sanctions were originally launched as a peaceful foreign policy tool that could reduce the use of military force. However, the effects and effectiveness of sanctions were criticized already in the late 1960s. Since then, experiences have been addressed in a substantial literature, drawing quite clear conclusions about the  consequences of use of sanctions . The developments in Venezuela illustrate many of those conclusions and were therefore easy to predict:

First, it is important to differentiate between individual sanctions against persons in positions of power and sanctions that block financial transactions or trade between countries or particular sectors.  The first sanctions against persons connected to the government in Venezuela were issued by the United States in 2011 and after 2014 they were directed against persons linked to human rights abuses and the narcotics trade.  The EU followed suit in 2017.

Such sanctions are being called for:  for example, individuals in the regimes in Nicaragua and Myanmar.  Individual sanctions have impact on the economy but can in some cases help to highlight the human rights situation. In Venezuela, however, the human rights situation has become dramatically worse over the last few year, with an explosion of extra-judicial executions and imprisonment of opposition actors.  

Second, substantive sanctions worsen economic crises. The first substantive sanctions against Venezuela were issued in 2017. They prevented the nation from taking on new loans in the international market.  In 2019, the oil sanctions prevented Venezuela from exporting oil- which amounted to 95 per cent of the country’s export income.  In November 2020, Trump halted access to diesel which is used in the transport of goods, including food, through ending the exception from sanctions for crude-for-diesel swaps

When the sanctions were applied, Venezuela was already deep in an economic crisis, and it is difficult to disentangle the effect of sanctions from the ongoing crisis-dynamics. Venezuela’s economy had already shrunk over 30 per cent since 2013, inflation was about to reach 1000 per cent per year, the amount of people living in poverty had doubled since 2014 reaching over 80 per cent of the population, imports had been reduced to one sixth of the rate in 2013, and the lack of goods was harrowing. Nevertheless, there is increasing evidence that  sanctions worsened the situation. Today,  Venezuela’s economy has shrunk 65 percent, and there is an unfolding humanitarian crisis  in the resource-rich land, accelerated by particularly the oil-sanctions.

Third, sanctions rarely lead to regime change, nor do they manage to shift authoritarian regimes to democratic ones. More often, sanctions tend to consolidate the power of authoritarian leaders and worsen freedom of expression and association. The reasons are that authoritarian leaders can use sanctions as an «external enemy» and justify their own attacks. During the past few years, Venezuela has evolved from being a hybrid regime to a full authoritarian regime. Sanctions have also affected the business community that has been among the strongest regime-opponents, and contributed to  new divisions in the opposition

Fourth: Sanctions contribute to new inequality and criminalization of the economy.  In order to evade the sanctions,Nicolás Maduro enacted a type of perverse neo-liberalization: deregulation of prices and currency have rendered the dollar the only viable currency, a privatization program based in the so-called «anti-blockade law»,  a toll-exception in order to encourage direct private import which could violate the prohibition of trade with the state, and decentralization of control in various sectors- leaving them to criminal actors. The result is the growth of a new elite with access to dollars and a deep division with the poor majority. Another consequence is the strengthening of a variety of criminal activities, including illegal mining resulting in catastrophic impact on the environment within the vulnerable Venezuelan Amazon.

Fifth: Sanctions often lead to new alliances between “sanction-busters”. In the case of Venezuela, they have  strengthened the alliance with other countries subject to sanctions, including Russia, Syria, and Iran.  The relationship to Russia was established during the United States application of a weapons embargo against Venezuela in 2006. This converted Venezuela into one of Russia’s best importers of weapons. In later years, the two countries have cooperated on developing the cryptocurrency, which is increasingly utilized to avoid sanctions. 

Let there be no doubt, Venezuela’s catastrophe cannot be blamed on the sanctions.  Neither is there any reason to believe that Maduro would have become a devote democrat or prioritized welfare and human rights in the absence of sanctions. Yet, sanctions have worsened the lives of most people without being able to meet the goals that were set for them,

If the world continues down the wrong path of sanctions, it will not only worsen humanitarian crises, but also worsen the environment for international cooperation and strengthen criminal networks.  It is essential to take a critical look at what sanctions can do and not do, and not only let decisions of imposing them be based on whether they seem justified or not.  


Write On! Call for Papers on the United Nations War Crimes Commission

Dr. Amina Adanan of Maynooth University Law Department is organizing two online events this year, as part of her project on the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC) funded by the Royal Irish Academy. The aim of the project is to bring together UNWCC scholars from all over the world in an international collaborative network.

The UNWCC, which operated from 1943-48, was a UN agency that supported localized prosecutions of international crimes committed during the Second World War. The work of the UNWCC gives an insight into substantive and procedural international criminal law in the post war period. Since 2017, the UNWCC Archives have been made available to the public online. However, the UNWCC and its importance to modern day international criminal law remains overlooked and under explored.

The first of these virtual events is a workshop on May 28, 2021. The online workshop is an opportunity for UNWCC scholars to present on any aspect of their UNWCC research and receive feedback on their work from the other experts and attendees in a constructive environment. Presentations will be 10-15 mins and the event will include keynote lectures by leading scholars on the UNWCC. 

Submissions should be composed of a single pdf or Word doc file, and should include: the applicant’s name and institutional affiliation, an abstract (max. 300 words), key words (max. 5), and ‘UNWCC workshop’ in the email subject line.

Submissions should be emailed to amina.adanan@mu.ie by April 20, 2021. Please click here for more information.

Write On! Call for Proposals: Narratives of International Law

Maastricht University – MindSpaces

This instalment of Write On!, our periodic compilation of calls for papers, includes calls for proposals from Maastrict University, as follows:

The Maastrict University Study Group for Critical Approaches to International Law invites abstracts for a workshop on Narratives of International Law. The aim of the workshop is to explore the meaning of international law to a diversity of actors and its purpose in the twenty-first century. The workshop will take place over Zoom on May 20, 2021. Abstracts for the workshop should be submitted by April 25, 2021. For more information on the workshop and details of the requirements for abstracts, click here.