This seminar follows a trail of legal and diplomatic documents from World War I to the establishment of the mandate system that still influence political discourse in the Middle East today. It uncovers in them a forgotten regional moment of international law in the Middle East, a moment in which ‘the region’ was not yet divided into separate jurisdictions behaving according to the prediction of a realist theory of international law.
This seminar explored the rise and fall of the classical doctrine of civil war during its ‘second coming’ from the 1890s to the 1960s, in the context laid out in Martti Koskenniemi’s monograph ‘The Gentle Civilizer of Nations’. This presentation examined the project of a series of scholars and their works that sought to codify and to reinforce a formal legal framework for civil war and insurgency under international law.
Collateral Damage and State Power: A Critical Approach to International Humanitarian Law
Renata Nagamine (Bahia)
This seminar reflected on the broader potential effects of the category of ‘collateral damage’ on the milieu in which resort to force is debated. Among the project’s main questions are: what does the use of international humanitarian law’s categories tell us about our relationship with the use of force; and does the diffusion of this language change that relationship?
This seminar explored Sweden's current feminist foreign policy. It aimed to highlight not only the lines of continuity with the Swedish activist foreign policies of yesteryears but also the discontinuities: what is distinctive about the current feminist foreign policy compared to previous Swedish efforts? What vision of change fuelled the ‘old’ activist foreign policy and which vision is driving the present one?
The 'Unwilling or Unable State' as a Challenge to International Law: Contextualisation of and Critical Reflection on a Notion
Paulina Starski (Max Planck Heidelberg)
The notion of the ‘unwilling or unable state’ has recently lived through a renaissance in international law and international relations discourse. In this seminar, Paulina Starski sketched how this notion is employed, critically assessed how it fits into the scheme of existing international legal rules and highlighted its potential dangers.
Targeted Killing: A Legal and Political History
Markus Gunneflo (Lund) in Conversation with Ntina Tzouvala (Melbourne)
This event placed Markus Gunneflo in conversation with the Laureate Program in International Law's Ntina Tzouvala to discuss his recently published book, Targeted Killing: A Legal and Political History, and its implications for international law and political discourse.
During this seminar, Pål Wrange discussed the implications of the legal inequality between rebels, who can be criminally liable for actions in war under domestic law, and state actors, who have a monopoly on legitimate violence. He will examine the different options available to international humanitarian lawyers and the practical and theoretical implications of the current approach.
The American Lieber Code in Occupied Iraq: Anachronism and the Turn to History in International Law and Practice
Matilda Arvidsson (University of Gothenburg)
In this seminar, Matilda Arvidsson revisited the occupation of Iraq in 2003–2004 to ask about the use of the 19th century Lieber Code during this time. Why did an antiquated American Civil War code resurface in the wake of the international armed conflict in Iraq, and to what effect?
In this seminar, Scott Newton discussed the legal-institutional project of mature Stalinism and its post-liberal legality through a shared toolkit of legal concepts, processes and approaches with other 20th century post-liberal legalities. He argued that Stalinism stands as a monument to the Soviet legal imaginary in its radical scope and Promethean ambitions, notwithstanding its limitations and flaws.
In this seminar, Dr Robert Knox examined recurring accusations of hypocrisy and their significance for international law. Rather than being merely political and extra-legal, he argued that these accusations are integral to international law and that they have played varying roles throughout history. Are these accusations politically fruitful, or do they reaffirm the wider system in which they are made?
Rule of Law or Rule by Lawyers? On the Politics of Translating in International Law
Maj Grasten (Copenhagen Business School)
In this seminar, Maj Grasten explored the way in which the rule of law is deployed in order to justify and sustain international interventions. She used a multi-sited ethnography in order to trace the inscription of meaning by international lawyers into the rule of law in post-conflict situations, and to reveal the politics of legal translation inherent in humanitarian practices.
Towards a Maximalist Reconception of Human Security regarding Forced Displacement
Maria Varaki (Helsinki)
In this seminar, Maria Varaki outlined the debate on emerging norms of sovereign responsibility for human security. Through linking human security to forced displacement, she proposed an expansion of current understandings of human security, and an agenda for further research.
Brazilian Responses to British Interventions in the Name of Slavery Abolition
Adriane Sanctis (São Paulo)
This seminar explored how Brazilians employed domestic and international legal techniques to resist and contest significant British interferences in the context of the escalating slave trade following its formal abolition in Brazil (1831-1850).
State Responsibility for Rebels in the Venezuela Arbitrations: Reading Joseph Conrad’s 'Nostromo'
Kathryn Greenman (Amsterdam)
In this seminar, Kathryn Greenman drew on Joseph Conrad's epic novel Nostromo – with its critique of economic imperialism and its ideas about the inherent chaos of Latin American society – to explore how the international law doctrine of state responsibility for rebels was forged in the postcolonial encounter between the West and Latin America.
In this seminar, Viktorija Jakjimovska developed a legal and conceptual analysis of British responses to the Greek War of Independence (1821-1832). She explored how the tensions between legal arguments about intervention and the political context in which they were defended contributed to shaping civil war as a legal concept within the jus ad bellum.
This seminar presented by Nele Verlinden analysed alternative thresholds in jus in bello that have been developed to deal with increasing ‘non-lethal’ State support to parties to an armed conflict, such as the provision of air-to-air refuel services, the sharing of crucial intelligence information or allowing territory to be used for launching drone operations.
In this seminar, Ville Kari explored the classical doctrine of civil war which preceded the era of modern collective security and of decolonisation in international law. Working backwards from Erik Castrén's last monograph Civil War (1966), he discussed this tradition of legal thinking and why it has since been abandoned.
WEB Du Bois, the Pan-African Congresses and the 'romantic international'
Christopher Gevers (KwaZulu-Natal)
In this seminar, Christopher Gevers explored the romantic internationalism of WEB Du Bois, the ‘Father of Pan-Africanism’, through his essays, political writings, and novels.
Christopher Gevers teaches international law at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and is a PhD candidate at Melbourne Law School.
In this seminar, Sebastián Machado Ramírez (Laureate Program, and former Senior Advisor on International Law to the Attorney General of Colombia) discussed the Colombian peace process, the considerations that led to the decision to hold a referendum, the causes for its failure, the perceived tension between amnesties and human rights, and the possible scenarios that could unfold.
In this seminar, Professor Andrew March examined the fight over the legality of US operations in Syria against IS, focusing on the lawsuit brought by Captain Nathan Smith against President Obama.