Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Call for Papers: Peoples' Tribunals and International Law

The Australian Human Rights Centre at the University of New South Wales Faculty of Law has issued a call for papers for an expert seminar on "Peoples' Tribunals and International Law." Here's the call:


The Australian Human Rights Centre, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

in collaboration with the

Fondazione Lelio e Lisli Basso ISSOCO, Rome, Italy


Since the 1960s there have been dozens of “peoples’ tribunals”, “citizens’ tribunals” or similar commissions of inquiry established outside formal State and international structures. Many have sought to apply accepted norms of international law and quasi-judicial procedures, even though their judgments and verdicts have no formal status. These include the Russell Tribunals of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the many proceedings convened by the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal since its founding in 1979, the First and Second International Water Tribunal, the Latin American Water Tribunal, the Tokyo International Women’s Tribunal, and the World Tribunal on Iraq.

The seminar will be held on 27-28 September 2013 in Rome. The seminar will bring together 10-12 scholars or other experts from different disciplines to examine a number of general themes about the nature and impact of peoples’ tribunals over the last half century, and to critically examine the operation of a number of specific tribunals.

Papers are invited from scholars working in any relevant discipline, including law, political science, history, anthropology, sociology and other disciplines. Paper proposals should address a specific theme or a particular tribunal. Ideally papers would addresses issues such as:

• theoretical framework(s) for understanding the origins, functions and impact of peoples’ tribunals

• if a specific case study of a tribunal is proposed: the origins of the tribunal being examined and its relationship to campaigns of advocacy around the issues being addressed by the tribunal, the structure and organisation of the tribunal, the nature of the claim, procedural matters including the gathering and quality of evidence, the extent to which the tribunal draws on existing international law, expands its scope or otherwise contributes to its development, and the impact(s) of the tribunal proceedings

• tensions between tribunals as political events and as legal events

• the future of international peoples’ tribunals

• who ‘owns’ international law?

• other relevant issues.

Those interested in submitting abstracts should submit a one-page proposal for a paper, together with a brief curriculum vitae listing publications or details of other relevant work, to Andrew.Byrnes@unsw.edu.au and g.simm@unsw.edu.au by no later than 11 March 2013. Successful participants will be notified by the end of March 2013. There may be funding available to support travel to the conference. Draft papers of 6,000-8,000 words will be due by 15 July 2013 to enable circulation to other participants so that they can provide useful commentary on each other’s work. Final revised papers will be due on 30 October 2013.

The aim is to publish an edited volume in English with a leading academic press. Papers will be subjected to anonymous peer review and the best papers selected for inclusion in the edited volume.

Proposals and papers will be accepted in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German; however, the primary working language of the workshop and the language of the edited volume will be English (its contents will also include papers translated from other languages as well as papers written in English). The Fondazione Lelio e Lisli Basso ISSOCO may also publish a book of the proceedings of the conference which may include papers in languages other than English.

For further information, please see our webpages: here and here.

We gratefully acknowledge funding provided by the Australian Research Council (DP110101594 Peoples’ Tribunals and International Law).