Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Call for Submissions: EJIL Symposium on "International Commissions of Inquiry: What Difference Do They Make?"

The European Journal of International Law has issued a call for submissions for a symposium on "International Commissions of Inquiry: What Difference Do They Make?" Here's the call:

Call for Papers for a Symposium

International Commissions of Inquiry:
What Difference Do They Make?

The proliferation of inquiry bodies in international affairs is a marked phenomenon of the post-Cold War period. Scholarly attention has largely focused on the procedures and methodologies adopted by such bodies, in addition to their findings of fact and conclusions of law. Comparatively little systematic attention has been devoted to the impact of international commissions of inquiry on the specific disputes, incidents or situations that they are created to address.

This symposium sets out to consider what difference various commissions of inquiry have made on the circumstances that provided the impetus for their creation. This question is more complicated than whether an inquiry body’s findings have been accepted or its recommendations implemented (although these may be areas of focus). Nor should a commission of inquiry’s impact be tied up too closely with whether it has conclusively resolved the underlying conflict that prompted its establishment. The more basic questions for consideration may be as follows: How did an inquiry body influence the conduct of the states (or non-state actors) that were the subject of the inquiry? Did the inquiry body serve either to empower or to constrain social actors? What were the inter-institutional effects of an inquiry body’s work? Did the inquiry body fulfil the (public and private) expectations that led to its creation? Has the inquiry body’s legal analysis influenced the content of international law or the practice of international law by lawyers and judges? To what extent is the impact or influence of a commission of inquiry largely or entirely independent from its procedures, methodologies or reasoning?

This Symposium will address these questions through a curated set of articles that focus on a variety of specific commissions of inquiry and their interactions with each other, other actors and other institutions. We are looking for articles that will both generate empirical data on individual inquiry bodies and assess that data through a particular theoretical lens, which may originate in socio-legal theory, international relations, political economy, global governance, personal experience, or other approaches. Whatever theoretical approach a contributor plans to take, we ask that special attention be given in the proposals to the anticipated methodology that will be used in the analysis. For example, if a contributor intends to use ideas from socio-legal theory to analyze the influence of a commission of inquiry, it is necessary to address the particular methodological tools that such an approach will require.

Given the demands of generating new empirical data and employing methodologies from fields beyond law, co-authorship is particularly encouraged.


1. Those interested in contributing are encouraged to send a provisional abstract of no more than 800 words that identifies the specific inquiry body that will be the focus of the research, the applicable theoretical lens and the methodology, to:


The deadline for proposals is 19 September 2016.

2. The editors of the Symposium will engage in a discussion with potential contributors about their work to ensure maximum coherence.

3. A workshop on outlines of papers is planned for Cambridge, UK, in January 2017.

4. Full articles will be due by 1 June 2017. Articles will then submitted for peer review. Those accepted will be submitted to EJIL by September 2017.

Word limit

Final submissions will probably be limited to 10,000 words including footnotes.

Michael Becker
Doreen Lustig
Sarah Nouwen