Monday, November 18, 2019

Fletcher: The Grammar of Criminal Law - Volume Two: International Criminal Law

George P. Fletcher (Columbia Univ. - Law) has published The Grammar of Criminal Law - Volume Two: International Criminal Law (Oxford Univ. Press 2019). Here's the abstract:

To understand the international legal order in the field of criminal law, we need to ask three elementary questions. What is international law? What is criminal law? And what happens to these two fields when they are joined together?

Volume Two of The Grammar of Criminal Law sets out to answer these questions through a series of twelve dichotomies - such as law vs. justice, intention vs. negligence, and causation vs. background events - that invite the reader to better understand the jurisprudential foundations of international criminal law. The book will appeal to anyone interested in the future of international cooperation in a time of national retrenchment, and will be of interest to students, scholars, and policymakers around the world.

Call for Papers: 9th Conference of the Postgraduate and Early Professionals/Academics Network of SIEL

A call for papers has been issued for the 9th Conference of the Postgraduate and Early Professionals/Academics Network of the Society of International Economic Law, to be held May 17-19, 2020, in Jerusalem. The call is here.

Conference: Unilateral / extraterritorial sanctions

On December 12-13, 2019, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne will host a conference on "Unilateral / extraterritorial sanctions." Registration is here. The program is here.

Agwu: Africa and International Criminal Justice: Radical Evils and the International Criminal Court

Fred Aja Agwu (Nigerian Institute of International Affairs) has published Africa and International Criminal Justice: Radical Evils and the International Criminal Court (Routledge 2019). Here's the abstract:
This book provides an overview of crimes under international law, radical evils, in a number of African states. This overview informs a critical analysis of the debates surrounding the African Union’s call for withdrawal from the International Criminal Court and proposes a way forward with a more pertinent role for the Court. The work critically analyzes the arguments around withdrawal from the ICC and the extension of the jurisdiction of the African Court into criminal matters. It is held that this was not intended in the spirit of complementarity as envisaged by the Rome Statute, and is subject to political calculation and manipulation by national governments. Recasting the ICC as a court of second instance would provide a stronger institutional and jurisdictional regime.

Chemillier-Gendreau: Un autre droit pour un autre monde : Comment sortir des impasses du droit contemporain?

Monique Chemillier-Gendreau has published Un autre droit pour un autre monde : Comment sortir des impasses du droit contemporain? (Pedone 2019). Here's the abstract:

Monique Chemillier-Gendreau n’a cessé de développer une approche critique du droit international, construisant sa réflexion sur la longue durée pendant que l’essentiel de la doctrine française développait une vision positiviste et formaliste du droit international. Courageusement, elle n’a cessé de montrer les faiblesses et impasses de cette branche du droit et du système juridique international dans son ensemble, révélant notamment les ambivalences du texte si fondamental que constitue la Charte des Nations Unies, porteuse de tant d’espoirs mais également de déceptions par son appui à la souveraineté des Etats. C’est certainement la compréhension commune de ce concept de souveraineté de l’Etat, altéré de toutes parts dans le cadre de la mondialisation, qui est au cœur de la réflexion de l’auteure en ce qu’il constitue selon elle l’ultime obstacle à une réelle pacification du monde et à une pensée de l’universel.

Il ne s’agit pas de nier que le droit international est en soi un progrès par rapport à l’anomie qui caractérisait naguère les relations internationales soumises au seul jeu du rapport de forces. Il n’en demeure pas moins qu’il est marqué par un certain nombre de lacunes et de fortes contradictions qui minent son application et son efficacité. La segmentation des sociétés en Etats souverains comme leur organisation au sein de l’ONU sont en voie d’être englouties par le monde nouveau qui émerge. Nous serions en effet parvenus à la fin d’un cycle historique qui révèle l’inadaptation du droit international à régir les rapports interétatiques et le développement des actions d’un certain nombre d’acteurs non étatiques.

Il ne s’agit toutefois pas de déplorer la situation et d’attendre le grand effondrement comme si l’ordre du monde actuel était inéluctable. Il faut au contraire faire un saut logique considérable, imaginer les bases sur lesquelles doit être construite une société mondiale différente, un monde commun, en tirant les leçons des échecs du droit international. Il convient, pour cela, de recourir à une démarche utopiste assumée, l’utopie constituant l’indispensable renouvellement de l’horizon politique qui repose sur la conviction qu’un autre droit pour le monde à venir sera fondé sur le principe d’une « entre-connaissance » universelle. Il faut donc notamment réactiver le politique à tous les échelons, briser le principe de domination, assurer le pluralisme juridique, ouvrir une nouvelle page de l’idée de démocratie et repenser à nouveaux frais la question du cosmopolitisme. Cela exige un nouvel imaginaire politique et juridique qui puisse faire vivre ensemble des communautés d’êtres humains libres. Alors, l’alliance des Etats se trouvera heureusement complétée et dépassée en se métissant d’une alliance directe des citoyens dans une ère post-nationale, donc post-souveraine, articulée sur une pensée politique du bien commun à l’échelle du monde. Il est en somme question de changer le monde par un nécessaire bouleversement.

Sprik: Protection of Civilians and Individual Accountability: Obligations and Responsibilities of Military Commanders in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

Lenneke Sprik (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) has published Protection of Civilians and Individual Accountability: Obligations and Responsibilities of Military Commanders in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (Routledge 2019). Here's the abstract:
This book explores the question of whether peacekeeping commanders can be held accountable for a failure to protect the civilian population in the mission area. This requires an assessment of whether peacekeeping commanders have an obligation to act against such serious crimes being committed under domestic and international law. The work uses the cases of the Dutch and Belgian peacekeeping commanders in Srebrenica and Kigali as examples, but it also places the analysis into the context of contemporary peacekeeping operations. It unfolds two main arguments. First, it provides a critical note to the contextual interpretation given to international law in relation to peacekeeping. It is argued that establishing a specific paradigm for peacekeeping operations with clear rules of interpretation and benchmark criteria would benefit peacekeeping and international law by making the contextual interpretation of international law redundant. Second, it is held that alternative options to the existing forms of criminal responsibility for military commanders should be considered, possibly focusing more clearly on failing to fulfil a norm of protection that is specific to peacekeeping and distinct from protective obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Knoerich & Urdinez: Contesting Contested Multilateralism: Why the West Joined the Rest in Founding the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Jan Knoerich (King's College London) & Francisco Urdinez (Pontifical Catholic Univ. of Chile) have published Contesting Contested Multilateralism: Why the West Joined the Rest in Founding the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (Chinese Journal of International Politics, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp. 333–370, Autumn 2019). Here's the abstract:
This study examines why a large number of Western advanced economies joined the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in 2015 despite the bank’s purported challenge to the Western-centred international order in the area of multilateral development finance. Through a mixed-method examination involving elite interviews, analyses of government pronouncements and regressions, and by drawing on concepts from rational choice theory, international policy diffusion, and rational design of international institutions, this study finds that the AIIB’s success with regard to its large membership is due to China’s effective creation of a demand for the organization among Western advanced economies. We argue that policymakers in Western countries enjoyed ‘induced agency’, which China granted them in the process of creating the organization and deciding about its membership. First, Western advanced economies had agency because their involvement was needed to prevent the AIIB from becoming a homogenous small organization consisting of Asian debtor countries in favour of a global organization with a heterogeneous group of both debtor and creditor country members. The AIIB was thus set up to accommodate the specific economic and political goals of Western advanced economies. Secondly, Western advanced economies experienced agency in the process of deciding about their membership in the bank because China proactively courted them to join the AIIB. China moreover endorsed the spontaneous intensification of communications that ensued among Western advanced economies with regard to joining the AIIB. Both efforts ultimately resulted in diffusion among them of the decision to become members. Thirdly, the Western advanced economies were granted agency in the process of determining the AIIB’s organizational design, thus allowing them to converge the initially diverse visions for the institutional design of the bank and shift it from contesting the existing system of multilateral development banks to effectively integrating into it. Our study thus advances a theory of country-specific demand for membership in an international organization.

Genest: Performance Requirement Prohibitions in International Investment Law

Alexandre Genest has published Performance Requirement Prohibitions in International Investment Law (Brill | Nijhoff 2019). Here's the abstract:
In Performance Requirement Prohibitions in International Investment Law, Alexandre Genest explores the prohibition of performance requirements in investment treaties. The author focuses on answering two questions: first, how do States prohibit performance requirements in investment treaties? And second, how should such prohibitions of performance requirements be interpreted and applied? In providing answers to these questions, Alexandre Genest breaks new ground by proposing the first empirical typology of performance requirement prohibitions in investment treaties and the first in-depth analysis of arbitral awards on the subject. Alexandre Genest formulates insightful remarks for a more deliberate and informed interpretation and application of existing performance requirement prohibitions. These remarks will help improve the drafting of performance requirement prohibitions in future investment treaties.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

New Issue: International Security

The latest issue of International Security (Vol. 44, no. 2, Fall 2019) is out. Contents include:
  • Alastair Iain Johnston, China in a World of Orders: Rethinking Compliance and Challenge in Beijing's International Relations
  • Fiona S. Cunningham & M. Taylor Fravel, Dangerous Confidence? Chinese Views on Nuclear Escalation
  • Stephanie Schwartz, Home, Again: Refugee Return and Post-Conflict Violence in Burundi
  • Elizabeth N. Saunders, The Domestic Politics of Nuclear Choices—A Review Essay
  • Correspondence
    • Michael C. Horowitz, Shahryar Pasandideh, Andrea Gilli, & Mauro Gilli, Military-Technological Imitation and Rising Powers

Call for Papers: ANZSIL 28th Annual Conference

The Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law has issued a call for papers for its 28th Annual Conference, to take place July 2-4, 2020, in Canberra. The theme is "International Law in the Third Decade of the 21st Century: A Tool for Challenge or Appeasement?" The call is here.

Pauwelyn: Is Globalization Finally Re-Balancing? Novel Ways of Leveling the Playing Field for Labor

Joost Pauwelyn (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) has posted Is Globalization Finally Re-Balancing? Novel Ways of Leveling the Playing Field for Labor. Here's the abstract:
Globalization as well as global governance, especially since the 1990s, has suffered from an imbalance to the detriment of labor, and in favor of the free flow of goods, services and capital (benefitting disproportionately capital as compared to labor). More recently, however, some re-balancing may be occurring: less liberalization and protection of cross-border trade and investment flows; more protection of labor. This contribution offers a number of novel, unorthodox instruments that have emerged or have been discussed or proposed that may slowly “level the playing field” in favor of labor. Some are (i) focused on liability of multinational parent or sourcing companies, others (ii) target the traded product (be it by means of import duties or income tax adjustments), yet others (iii) concentrate on work or the worker him or herself (anti-trust enforcement in favor of workers; construing “data as labor” or putting in place mechanisms allowing for “tele-migration”). These avenues are novel in that they are not focused on employers in the production country, nor centered around ILO conventions with labor commitments on host states and relatively soft compliance mechanisms. Indeed, most of these instruments are market- or technology-based, hard-law instruments embedded in domestic law or arbitration, or in international organizations or treaties outside of the ILO.

Couveinhes Matsumoto & Nollez-Goldbach: Les états face aux juridictions internationales. Une analyse des politiques étatiques relatives aux juges internationaux

Florian Couveinhes Matsumoto & Raphaëlle Nollez-Goldbach have published Les états face aux juridictions internationales. Une analyse des politiques étatiques relatives aux juges internationaux (Pedone 2019). The table of contents is here. Here's the abstract:

Ce recueil des actes de la deuxième Journée de Droit international de l’École Normale Supérieure organisée dans le cadre du Centre de Théorie et d’Analyse du Droit (CTAD – UMR 7074) vise à éclairer les relations des Etats et des juridictions internationales à travers les politiques menées par les premiers à l’égard des secondes. Le rapport de ces deux acteurs est complexe : d’un côté, les juridictions internationales tirent formellement leur autorité des Etats, qui sont aussi ceux qui déterminent leur composition, leurs bases de compétence ou la procédure qu’elles doivent suivre, ceux qui acceptent leur compétence pour les litiges qui les concernent et qui participent à accroître ou à diminuer leur influence ; mais d’un autre côté, ces juridictions énoncent ce qui s’impose juridiquement aux Etats, et elles interprètent souvent leur statut ou le droit applicable de manière extensive, donc relativement indépendante des volontés étatiques. Dans certains cas, elles essaient même de jouer un rôle quasi-législatif, suppléant ou remplaçant celui des Etats.

Les enjeux de leurs rapports sont d’une importance croissante, pour les États et les juridictions internationales naturellement, mais également pour les acteurs économiques privés, pour les individus et pour les populations des Etats – qui n’ont pourtant généralement participé au choix d’établir une juridiction internationale que de manière très indirecte, ou pas du tout. La multiplication des décisions des juges internationaux et l’augmentation de leur influence sur les gouvernements et les populations entraînent souvent des manifestations de soutien, parfois des pressions exercées par des Etats sur leurs pairs pour qu’ils s’exécutent, mais aussi des interrogations, des inquiétudes et des réactions plus ou moins vives et plus ou moins constructives.

Aussi difficile que puisse paraître le décryptage de ces politiques, il est essentiel à une bonne compréhension de l’évolution actuelle et de l’avenir du Droit international.

Call for Submissions: Journal of Territorial and Maritime Studies

The Journal of Territorial and Maritime Studies has issued a call for submissions for its Summer/Fall 2020 issue. The call is here.

Conference: Teaching International Law III

On January 14-16, 2020, the University of Innsbruck will host the conference "Teaching International Law III." The program is here. Here's the idea:
In January 2020 a further edition of the conference “Teaching International Law” will take place. Organized by Professor Peter Hilpold (University of Innsbruck) and by Professor Giuseppe Nesi (University of Trento) these conferences aim at elucidating the particularities and special challenges associated with teaching this discipline of law. Leading international lawyers and philosophers of international law will portray their vision of teaching. The third day of this conference is dedicated to “Teaching in Practice” with model lectures given by students, young academics and Ph.D students. This project makes part of the “Euregio Mobility”-Initiative involving the University of Innsbruck, of Trento and of Bozen-Bolzano.

Friday, November 15, 2019

New Issue: International Affairs

The latest issue of International Affairs (Vol. 95, no. 6, December 2019) is out. Contents include:
  • ‘Well, What Is the Feminist Perspective on International Affairs?’: Theory/Practice
    • Helen M. Kinsella & Laura J. Shepherd, ‘Well, what is the feminist perspective on international affairs?’: theory/practice
    • Penny Griffin, The everyday practices of global finance: gender and regulatory politics of ‘diversity’
    • Maria Stern, Courageously critiquing sexual violence: responding to the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize
    • Elizabeth Pearson, Extremism and toxic masculinity: the man question re-posed
    • Paula Drumond, What about men? Towards a critical interrogation of sexual violence against men in global politics
    • Sam Cook, Marking failure, making space: feminist interventions in Security Council policy
    • Cristina Masters & Marysia Zalewski, Reflections on the special section, ‘“Well, what is the feminist perspective on international affairs?”: theory/practice’
  • Articles
    • Zakia Shiraz & Richard J. Aldrich, Secrecy, spies and the global South: intelligence studies beyond the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance
    • Michèle Bos & Jan Melissen, Rebel diplomacy and digital communication: public diplomacy in the Sahel
    • Jess Gifkins, Samuel Jarvis, & Jason Ralph, Brexit and the UN Security Council: declining British influence?
    • Wilfred M. Chow, Enze Han, & Xiaojun Li, Brexit identities and British public opinion on China
    • Jonas Gamso, China's ivory bans: enhancing soft power through wildlife conservation
    • Mai'a K. Davis Cross, The social construction of the space race: then and now
    • Dong Jung Kim, Economic containment as a strategy of Great Power competition

de Frouville & Tavernier: La Déclaration universelle des droits de l’Homme, 70 ans après : les fondements des droits de l'Homme au défi des nouvelles technologies

Olivier de Frouville (Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II) - Law) & Julie Tavernier have published La Déclaration universelle des droits de l’Homme, 70 ans après : les fondements des droits de l'Homme au défi des nouvelles technologies (Pedone 2019). The table of contents is here. Here's the abstract:
Le 70ème anniversaire de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’Homme (DUDH), adoptée par l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies le 10 décembre 1948, invite à interroger l’actualité de ce texte fondateur de la protection internationale des droits de l’Homme. Parmi les évolutions qu’a connues la société internationale depuis 1948, le progrès de la connaissance en matière scientifique constitue assurément l’un des défis les plus manifestes pour la mise en œuvre des droits proclamés en 1948. Si certaines questions peuvent être résolues par une transposition des solutions acquises en matière de protection des droits de l’Homme à de nouvelles problématiques, de nombreux développements en matière de progrès scientifique n’avaient pas pu être anticipés par les rédacteurs de la DUDH et posent des problèmes inédits qui appellent des solutions nouvelles. Les contributions présentées dans ce volume ont été réunies dans le cadre du 13ème colloque international du C.R.D.H., qui s’est tenu les 13 et 14 décembre 2018 à l’Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas. Prises ensemble, elles présentent un panorama de ces nouveaux défis posés à la pratique et ouvrent de nouvelles pistes pour la recherche.

New Volume: South African Yearbook of International Law

The latest volume of the South African Yearbook of International Law (Vol. 43, 2018) is out. Contents include:
  • Moses Retselisitsoe Phooko, A sin committed by the (suspended) SADC Tribunal : the erosion of state sovereignty in the SADC region
  • Jamil Ddamulira Mujuzi, The principle of non-refoulement in South Africa and the exclusion from refugee status of asylum seekers who have committed offences abroad : a comment on Gavric v Refugee Status Determination Officer, Cape Town and Others
  • Michelle Frances Diers, The historical development of international organisations with separate legal personality since the 19th century
  • Isabeau Steytler, The unsettled question of Al-Bashir’s immunity : a case note on the ICC Minority Opinion of Judge Perrin de Brichambaut
  • Dire Tladi, The International Law Commission is 70… staying with the old and playing with the new? Reflections on the work of the commission during its commemorative year
  • George Barrie, The requirement of ‘awareness’ as a precondition for the existence of a ‘legal dispute’ under article 36(2) of the Statute of the ICJ
  • Hennie Strydom, Introduction - The inaugral John Dugard Lecture in International Law, University of Johannesburg, 25 October 2018
  • James Crawford, South Africa and international law : a tribute to John Dugard
  • Max du Plessis, Closure - the inaugural John Dugard Lecture in International Law, University of Johannesburg, 25 October 2018

New Issue: Arbitration International

The latest issue of Arbitration International (Vol. 35, no. 3, September 2019) is out. Contents include:
  • Articles
    • Jörg Risse, An inconvenient truth: the complexity problem and limits to justice
    • Jan Frohloff, Arbitration in space disputes
    • David J Stute, 28 USC § 1782—looking for consensus
  • Recent Developments
    • Kabir A N Duggal & Laurens H van de Ven, The 2019 Netherlands Model BIT: riding the new investment treaty waves
    • Vicky Priskich, Binding non-signatories to arbitration agreements—who are persons ‘claiming through or under’ a party?

Roberts & St. John: UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform: Visualising a Flexible Framework

Anthea Roberts (Australian National Univ. - Regulation & Global Governance) & Taylor St. John (Univ. of St. Andrews - International Relations) have posted UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform: Visualising a Flexible Framework. Here's the abstract:

In UNCITRAL, states have broken through the impasse of the incrementalist and systemic reformer camps. They have all agreed that they want to pursue systemic reform, but they have different ideas about what that entails and what to prioritise. In broad terms, agreement seems to be coalescing around three main blocks of reforms: updating some of the procedural rules; enacting some sort of optional structural changes for dispute settlement; and creating a mechanism to support developing states with handling their treaties and disputes. Not every state is supportive of every proposal, but most seem open to pursuing all three in a (somewhat) simultaneous fashion.

That leaves an important question, which is starting to bubble up on the side lines of the negotiations: how might these different reforms fit together? Instead of treating the proposals as oppositional, could a flexible framework be developed that would allow multiple reforms to be developed over time in order to create a more holistic approach? What would this look like? What are the component parts or building blocks and how might they fit together?

Here we provide our initial thoughts on how to visualise a flexible framework for ISDS reform and how these more centralised reforms might operate within the wider more decentralised field. The framework we present is not simply a descriptive synthesis of the discussions to date, but rather a way to look at the various options raised in their entirety — including how they overlap and relate to one another.

Peat: The Tyranny of Choice and the Interpretation of Standards: Why the ECtHR Uses Consensus

Daniel Peat (Leiden Univ. - Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies) has posted The Tyranny of Choice and the Interpretation of Standards: Why the ECtHR Uses Consensus. Here's the abstract:
Recent studies in social psychology have consistently shown that individuals are inherently averse to ‘choice overload’. Faced with complex choice sets, they are unhappier with the choices they make, more likely to regret their decision, and more prone to reverse their initial choice. This article tests the hypothesis that individuals’ innate aversion to choice overload might explain why courts and tribunals interpret standards, such as fairness, necessity, and proportionality, in the way that they do. Drawing on the findings of an empirical study of 461 judgments of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, the article suggests that the Court’s consensus doctrine must be understood partially as a reaction to the ‘tyranny of choice’.

New Volume: Canadian Yearbook of International Law

The latest volume of the Canadian Yearbook of International Law (Vol. 56, 2018) is out. Contents include:
  • Articles
    • Sara Wharton & Rosemary Grey, The Full Picture: Preliminary Examinations at the International Criminal Court
    • Fernando Arlettaz, Expulsions collectives: définition et portée de leur interdiction dans la jurisprudence de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme
    • Joanna Harrington, Addressing the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials: Developments and Challenges within the Canadian Legal Landscape
    • Antonio Bultrini, Reapprasing the Approach of International Law to Civil Wars: Aid to Legitimate Governments or Insurgents and Conflict Minimization
    • Ryan Gauthier, Constructing Statehood through Sport: Football, Kosovo, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport
    • Cyprien Bassamagne Mougnok, La codification du droit interaméricain de la drogue
    • Idil Atak & Lorielle Giffin, Canada’s Treatment of Non-Citizens through the Lens of the United Nations Individual Complaints Mechanisms
    • Marcin J. Menkes, The Legality of US Investment Sanctions against Iran before the ICJ: A Watershed Moment for the Essential Security and Necessity Exceptions

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Workshop: Within the Realm of Possible: Reforming the UN Treaty Bodies’ Individual Communications Mechanisms

Tomorrow, November 15, 2019, the Hertie School will host a workshop on "Within the Realm of Possible: Reforming the UN Treaty Bodies’ Individual Communications Mechanisms." The program is here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Conference: The 21st Anniversary of the Rome Statute: Perspectives Forgotten During the 20th Celebration Party

Tomorrow and Friday, November 14-15, 2019, iCourts will host a conference on "The 21st Anniversary of the Rome Statute: Perspectives Forgotten During the 20th Celebration Party." The program is here.

New Issue: Review of International Studies

The latest issue of the Review of International Studies (Vol. 45, no. 5, December 2019) is out. Contents include:
  • Special Issue on Populism
    • Sandra Destradi & Johannes Plagemann, Populism and International Relations: (Un)predictability, personalisation, and the reinforcement of existing trends in world politics
    • Elise Ketelaars, Geographical value spaces and gender norms in post-Maidan Ukraine: the failed ratification of the Istanbul Convention
    • Pablo de Orellana & Nicholas Michelsen, Reactionary Internationalism: the philosophy of the New Right
    • Bice Maiguashca, Resisting the ‘populist hype’: a feminist critique of a globalising concept
  • Articles
    • Faruk Yalvaç & Jonathan Joseph, Understanding populist politics in Turkey: a hegemonic depth approach
    • Sarah Kenyon Lischer, Narrating atrocity: Genocide memorials, dark tourism, and the politics of memory
    • Marella Bodur Ün, Contesting global gender equality norms: the case of Turkey
    • Aula Hariri, State formation as an outcome of the imperial encounter: the case of Iraq
    • Simon Mabon, The world is a garden: Nomos, sovereignty, and the (contested) ordering of life
    • Aggie Hirst, Play in(g) international theory

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Modirzadeh: Cut These Words: Passion and International Law of War Scholarship

Naz K. Modirzadeh (Harvard Univ. - Law) has posted Cut These Words: Passion and International Law of War Scholarship (Harvard International Law Journal, forthcoming). Here's the abstract:

In this paper, I explore how international legal scholarship about war, written at a time of war, ought to read. Can — and should — we demand doctrinal rigor and analytical clarity, while also expecting that scholarship makes us feel something, that it connects us to the author, that it captures the intimacy and emotion that human beings experience in relation to war?

I use two eras of international legal scholarship on war — namely, the Vietnam era and the War on Terror — to illustrate key moments in the field that were typified by very different kinds of writing and the corresponding differences in thinking and feeling. I argue, in part, that — in contradistinction to passion-filled Vietnam-era scholarship — a particularly influential strand of contemporary scholarship on the United States’ War on Terror adopts a view that is aridly technical, acontextual, and ahistorical. In short, it lacks passion. (I use “passion” as a composite term in an attempt to capture diverse facets of a problem that I am attempting to diagnose.)

The Introduction situates this project within broader writing on law and emotions. Part I provides a list of characteristics of what I consider passionate scholarship, using the Vietnam era as an example of that approach. Part II provides a mirrored list of the characteristics of abstract and bloodless scholarship, using the latter part of the War on Terror (2009 onward). The observations compare how scholars of each period contend with the sense of crisis and urgency of their time, the understanding that they (we) were living — and writing — through moments that would be seen as history-changing and law-shifting in the future. Part III examines possible explanations for differences where we ought to see similarities, for absences of scholarly connection where they should be plentiful, and for a seismic shift in the general tone and mood of international legal scholarship on war in less than two generations. Part IV concludes by discussing why we — international lawyers, scholars who feel strongly about war and peace — ought to care about and seek to reverse this shift.