Thursday, June 26, 2014

Conference: 22nd ANZSIL Annual Conference

The Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law will hold its 22nd Annual Conference on July 3-5, 2014, at the Australian National University, in Canberra. The theme is: "Towards International Peace through International Law." The program is here. Here's the idea:

The theme of ANZSIL’s 22nd Annual Conference has been chosen to resonate with the commemorations taking place around the world in 2014 to mark the centenary of the beginning of World War 1. The conference will provide an opportunity to reflect upon the project of achieving international peace through international law that has shaped the past century. Horror at the scale and destructiveness of World War 1 spurred a new political commitment to preventing future wars. The League of Nations Covenant signed in the war’s aftermath expressed the commitment of the High Contracting Parties to achieving international peace and security through accepting obligations not to resort to war, establishing international law ‘as the actual rule of conduct among Governments’, and maintaining ‘justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations’. The dream of achieving perpetual peace was an old one, but the emphasis on doing so through international law and international institutions was new. Despite the subsequent disenchantment with the failures of the League, reflected famously in the skeptical reactions of realists such as EH Carr and Hans Morgenthau to the ideal of achieving ‘peace through law’, the United Nations Charter expressed an ongoing determination ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’ through the maintenance of international peace and security and the peaceful settlement of international disputes in conformity with international justice and international law. Today the commitment to settling disputes by peaceful means continues to underpin many developments in international law. Public and private international law initiatives in the fields of trade, investment, and financial regulation aim to secure peace through economic stability and commercial relations, while the language of security continues to inform internationalist projects, from the maintenance of collective security to human security, food security, energy security, climate security, and cyber security.

The conference will explore the role that international law and international lawyers have played in the pursuit of international peace and security over the past century, and the role that they might play in the century to come. How have changing definitions or visions of peace and security informed the development of international law? How do the trauma and memory of war shape international law as an ideal, a set of institutions, a commitment, or a project? What contribution have Australians and New Zealanders made to the realisation of peace through law, whether on the Security Council, in peace operations, as judges and arbitrators at the Peace Palace and beyond, as civil society activists, as scholars, or as ‘norm entrepreneurs’? How do international legal doctrines and practices respond to changes in the nature of war and new threats to peace and security? What happens when the pursuit of peace and security comes into conflict with other values, such as justice, equality, or self-determination? What mechanisms and techniques for achieving the peaceful settlement of disputes have been developed by international lawyers, and what innovations are today being developed to address contemporary disputes and potential conflicts?