Critical Race Perspectives on International LawSymposium

The Framing of the African Union in International Criminal Law: A Racialized Logic

The International Criminal Court (ICC) ‘has been put in place only for African countries, only for poor countries…Every year that passes, I am proved right.… Rwanda cannot be part of colonialism, slavery and imperialism’. This anti-colonial sentiment by Rwandan President and newly elected chairperson of the African Union (AU), Paul Kagame, has become widespread within the AU in response to the Court’s overwhelming investigation and prosecution of Africans. Yet, many of …

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Critical Race Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Learning from Anthropology

Realizing a Critical Race Approach to (International) Law

Introduction Despite anthropology’s troublesome contribution to the colonial project, the discipline as it is today has much to offer to critical race theory (CRT) and postcolonial approaches to international law. Already in the 1930s, Franz Boas and his students began to challenge the Eurocentrism, modernism and colonialism of anthropology. They developed a critique of cultural evolutionism, according to which culture was understood as evolving towards the “Western ideal”. Instead, they …

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Critical Race Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Building Islam as a race in French colonial law

The conquest of Algeria introduced in French law new chapters pertaining to the treatment of indigenous people. In fact, the French Algeria gained the status of department in 1848 and then, was incorporated into the territory of France with, normally, the application of the Code Civil, the civil law. However, the colonial authorities developed in parallel a set of laws with the intention to exclude native Algerians from nationality and …

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Critical Race Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Sind Juden weiß?

Wie Antidiskriminierungsrecht am Antisemitismus scheitert

Das umstrittene Urteil des Landgerichts Frankfurt zum Flugverbot für israelische Staatsbürger bei Kuwait Airways ist auch in antidiskriminierungsrechtlicher Hinsicht interessant. Es zeigt, wie schwer es Gerichten fällt Antisemitismus unter die Kategorien des Antidiskriminierungsrechts zu subsumieren und ihn in seinen aktuellen Ausformungen zu erfassen. Nicht nur in Deutschland.

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Critical Race Perspectives on International LawSymposium

The Concept of Race in International Criminal Law

The Nazis defined the Jews as a race inferior to the Aryan race, the Khmer Rouge identified the ‘new people’ as enemies with a biologically dissimilar essence, and in Darfur (Sudan), the Janjaweed militia labelled their enemies derogatorily as ‘Zourga’, or black Africans. Seemingly, these victim classifications all have a racial denominator in common. Yet, how does international criminal law in general and the law of genocide in particular define …

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Critical Race Perspectives on International LawSymposium

We need to talk about ‘race’

Symposium: Critical Race Perspectives on International Law

“Race is the child of racism, not the father,” writes Ta-Nehisi Coates in “Between the World and Me”. Such understanding of race, not as an empirical category but as a category for analysing power relations and structural discrimination, underlies the symposium “Critical Race Perspectives on International Law”.  We take inspiration from the important work of critical race theorists who posit that racism is not simply a matter of individual prejudice …

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Current Developments

Opt-in vs. Opt-out = opt-in-opt-out?

On the activation of the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression

In December 2017, the States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) had the chance to realize in New York what Robert H. Jackson called for in his opening statement before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. While international criminal law was only applied against German aggressors at that time, the U.S. Chief Prosecutor emphasized that the condemnation of aggressive war should be the benchmark for any other nation in …

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DiscussionKick-off

One law to rule them all

On the extraterritorial applicability of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation

Setting the gold standard … In May 2016, the EU adopted its long-awaited new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and thereby opened a new chapter in the history of European and global data protection law. Meeting the challenges of the 21st century globally linked information-society, it took the EU-institutions more than four years and almost 4,000 amendments to finally agree on a compromise text. While elaborating the GDPR, the EU tried …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Cleavages in international law and the danger of a pull towards non-compliance

International law faces difficult times, with cleavages running deep between what is often labelled “the West” on the one hand, and Russia on the other hand. With the annexation of Crimea Russia has engaged in a form of conflict that was considered passé in Europe. It is accordingly seen as being responsible for the polarization of international relations by many Western States. Moscow tells a different story of the deterioration …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Who Holds Russia’s Judges and Public Prosecutors to Account?

How the International Community Fails to Effectively Address Judicial Harassment of Human Rights Defenders in the Russian Federation

This piece is about the growing number of politically-motivated charges and convictions against human rights defenders in Russia and the absence of credible monitoring or audit procedures to hold judges and public prosecutors to account for their misconduct. Despite political backlashes to judicial independence in countries such as Hungary and Poland, Europe is generally perceived as a powerhouse for a strong and working justice system in which courts protect human …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Is Russia the Guardian of Humanitarian Intervention?

In the UN Security Council, the Russian Federation has repeatedly put forward in no uncertain terms its stance regarding humanitarian intervention and its concern that this fairly recent concept may be misused to press Western influence and regime change. Thus, Russia used its veto powers four times to block resolutions on Syria that Russia perceives to be damaging its ally, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Russia’s argument on fearing regime change rests …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

The EU-Russia Civil Society Forum

Fostering the Voice of Civil Society in the International Legal Debate

When speaking of the role of Russia in the contemporary international legal debate, it is helpful not only to focus on particular topics and questions, but – as with all other debates – to start with the question, at what levels and in which formats such a legal debate takes place; which actors are actively engaged in it or can actively participate in it, and what impact it has. To …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Das EU-Russland Zivilgesellschaftsforum

Die Stimme der Zivilgesellschaft in der internationalen Rechtsdebatte stärken

Spricht man über die Rolle Russlands in der zeitgenössischen internationalen Rechtsdebatte, so ist es hilfreich, sich nicht nur auf die konkreten Themen und Fragen zu fokussieren, sondern – wie bei allen anderen Debatten auch – sich zunächst zu fragen, auf welchen Ebenen und in welchen Formaten diese Rechtsdebatte stattfindet, welche Akteure daran aktiv teilnehmen bzw. teilnehmen können, und mit welcher Auswirkung. Die Kommunikationswissenschaftler verwenden dafür die Lasswell-Formel: “Who says what …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Russia, international law, and the melting of the Arctic

The melting ice in the polar caps is one of humanity’s contemporary ecological anxieties. Climate change scientists have suggested that there is a high likelihood that the Arctic sea ice cover will get thinner and continue to shrink. Likewise, the Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover is expected to decrease during the 21st century as global mean surface temperature rises. Are the current international legal mechanisms sufficiently equipped to respond to …

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Current Developments

Cheating Chile

The (il)legality of information and the World Bank’s “Doing Business” ranking

A rare mea culpa emanated from the leading international development institution, the World Bank, last week. The Bank’s Chief Economist, Paul Romer, told the Wall Street Journal: “I want to make a personal apology to Chile, and to any other country where we conveyed the wrong impression.” Romer, who took his post in late 2016, said he had found “irregularities” in the World Bank’s flagship publication, the “Doing Business” ranking. …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

‘Peaceful’ and ‘Remedial’ Annexations of Crimea

This post analyzes the ‘two annexations’ of Crimea in the Russian narrative of ‘reclaiming its historical rights’ over the peninsula in 2014. As many aspects surrounding the occupation of Crimea have been extensively debated in scholarly writings, I will limit my focus on two key concepts that Russia has advanced: Ukraine’s ‘peaceful annexation’ of Crimea in 1991; and Russia’s ‘remedial annexation’ of Crimea in 2014. My main aim is to …

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