Discussion

Harmony in the Chinese just war tradition

The Chinese approach to the relationship between jus ad bellum and jus in bello

One of the fundamental characteristics of international humanitarian law (IHL) is the separation between jus ad bellumand jus in bello, which was originally devised in the West, subsequent to the decline of its just war tradition in legal practice. China has adopted a philosophically different approach to the relationship between these two branches of law, and further, a distinctive moral rationale for compliance with IHL. At its core, the Chinese …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

“Sexual orientation is not a fashion statement”

The LGBT community facing a social stigma in Africa

With the High Court’s judgment from June 11th 2019, judge Michael Elburu suspended section 164 a and c and section 165 of the Penal Code from 1965 which punish same-sex relations in Botswana with up to seven years in prison and ordered to modify section 167. In recognising the discriminatory nature of the laws in question, the Botswanan High Court gave hope to the LGBT (Lesbian- Gay- Bisexual- Transgender) community …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Burning issues in the “Land of the Future”

Conflicts over indigenous lands and the Amazon in Brazil

Since his first visit, Stefan Zweig had been fascinated by Brazil. Friendly people, good weather, and terrific landscapes. This fascination has led Zweig to publish a book called Brazil, Land of the Future (Brasilien – Ein Land der Zukunft). In this book, Zweig praised Brazil for its success in mixing individuals and groups, a true role model for multicultural societies. However, this supposed harmonious coexistence of multiple cultures in Brazil …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

The new wave of law and development

This short note was inspired by the 2019 Law and Development Research Network Conference in Berlin.  The Conference was organised by the Chair for Public Law and Comparative Law at Humboldt University, and was attended by over two hundred scholars from thirty-nine countries under the heading ‘The plurality of law and development’. I am greatly indebted to those who offered their views at the conference; what follows, however, is a …

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Current Developments

(Un-)Precedented?

The relevance of the Urgenda case to the Children vs. Climate Crisis Communication

The communication brought by sixteen children before the Committee on the Rights of the Child to address the effects of states’ inaction on climate change seems at first glance unprecedented and foreign to our common ideas about international environmental law. Yet, as the Urgenda case shows, a rights-based approach to climate change is not wholly unheard of. Individual communications to the Committee on the Rights of the Child              The fact …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Reflections on the history and future of Law and Development

Recording of David Trubek’s Keynote Lecture at the LDRN Conference

Watch here the recording of  the Keynote Lecture of David Trubek (University of Wisconsin-Madison) who reflects upon the history and future of Law and Development and its main current challenges, as part of his keynote at the LDRN Conference at Humboldt University Berlin on 27 September 2019. The keynote is followed by a roundtable discussion with Celine Tan (University of Warwick), Morag Goodwin (Tilburg University), Johanna Cortes (University of Rosario), …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Social justice – a vehicle for transformative constitutionalism

Recording of Justice Madan Lokur’s Keynote Lecture at the LDRN Conference

Watch here the recording of the Keynote of Justice Madan Lokur (Supreme Court of India) who explains the challenges and opportunities of transformative constitutionalism as a vehicle for social justice, held at the LDRN Conference at Humboldt University Berlin on 26 September 2019.     If your browser does not support the video format, you can watch the keynote here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P6CYO-VzuE&t=10s

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Towards comparative legal institutionalism

Recording of Katharina Pistor’s Keynote Lecture at the LDRN Conference

Watch here the Keynote Lecture of Katharina Pistor (Columbia Law School) reflecting on questions of method and theory through her approach of “comparative legal institutionalism”, opening the LDRN Conference at Humboldt University Berlin on 25 September 2019. The Keynote is followed by a comment by Prof. David Trubek (University of Wisconsin-Madison). If your browser does not support the video format, you can watch the keynote here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caJ63vDbbUY&t=20s

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Current Developments

More than just a scientific report

The global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services as scientific and political tool

In May 2019, headlines worldwide suddenly became concerned with biodiversity. News sites and journals all quoted a report from the United Nations and its alarming conclusions that a million species could go extinct in the near future. In other terms, approximately one out of eight species, both plant and animal, is threatened with extinction. This massive extinction will be accompanied by a global ecosystem collapse and the consequent loss of …

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Current Developments

International climate change adjudication: A means to amplify voices of the global south?

Traditionally, the UN Climate change regime has been premised on an intergovernmental negotiations paradigm where political actors play the dominant role in the development of norms. In this post, I argue for using international adjudication as a supplementary tool to complement international negotiations. Adjudication, which entails the participation of impartial, third‑party decision makers, might help us overcome blind spots of negotiations by redistributing argumentative burdens and providing an expressive function …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Alternatives to Development in the Andes

Contesting cosmovisions and their path towards recognition

The concept of “development” has become a buzzword for social change, economic redistribution and ultimately socio-economic rights. This concerns both economic relations maintained in the international community built on the premise of State sovereignty and resulting intergovernmental agreements. Manifestations of such realities are manifold including a dominating WTO-steered legal order; new international trade deals such as current EU-Mercosur negotiations on the most extensive free trade zone on earth; the CETA …

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Current DevelopmentsResponse

Not for sale?

Some thoughts on human rights in cases of cession of territory

Pierre Thielbörger and Timeela Manandhar have given an innovative and thought-provoking account of the lawfulness of the incumbent US president’s potential plans to purchase Greenland. Vividly and succinctly they make their case against the possibility of a sale of the island under international law. However, their colorful picture of the legal scenery arguably glosses over some nuances. I do not intend to comment again on President Trump’s announced intention to acquire the …

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Current Developments

Thank you, Greta & friends!

Procedural aspects on the climate crisis-related communication to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Sixteen children, among them the popular Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, from 12 different countries have filed a communication to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure. The communication complains of a rights violation by five different states: Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey. The petitioners’ claim: Each of these states …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Scholars in mutual estrangement?

Transformative constitutionalism meets law and development

There is a curious estrangement between two scholarly communities that ought to have a lot in common: The first studies “transformative constitutionalism”, the second “law and development”. There is considerable thematic, geographical and methodological overlap between the two. Yet, the two strands of scholarship do not systematically connect. My argument in this post is that connecting the two approaches is productive because it confronts each side with its own blind …

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Current Developments

Nord Stream 2: Arbitration Notices from Moscow

Sometimes the unimaginable becomes reality: Donald Trump, his Democrat counterparts, the European Parliament and the European Commission are all united – in their opposition against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The construction of this mega project, a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that is to supplement the existing Nord Stream twin-pipeline in the Baltic Sea, has caused a stir on both sides of the Atlantic. Observers who thought that …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Empowerment of indigenous and ethnic groups

Comparing cases on land use under the ACHPR and ECHR

Ten years ago, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decided on the admissibility of the case Handölsdalen Sami Village and Others v Sweden dealing with the land use of the Sami and their reindeer herds. In the same year, the Endorois case was decided by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AComHPR), concerning the land use of another indigenous people, the Endorois. The outcome of these two …

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