Ceiling of the Human Rights Council; photo by the United States Mission Geneva via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Conference Announcement and CfP: Cynical International Law?

A joint conference by AjV and DGIR, supported by Völkerrechtsblog


Völkerrechtsblog is proud to announce its support of a joint conference of the Working Group of Young Scholars in Public International Law (Arbeitskreis junger Völkerrechtswissenschaftler*innen – AjV) and the German Society of International Law (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationales Recht – DGIR) on the topic of

Cynical International Law?

Abuse and Circumvention in Public and Private International Law as well as European Law

6 – 7 September 2019, Freie Universität Berlin

The conference departs from the idea that cynicism in international law appears to be ubiquitous. Actors seem to abuse international law or circumvent the purpose of its rules on many occasions. This is particularly evident where illiberal, populist or autocratic actors try to profit from the legitimacy of lawful conduct, while arguably acting against the spirit of the law. Situations in which states advance international legal arguments of self- determination and humanitarian intervention in this manner in order to justify the use of force have received much attention. Further, one could call it cynical when states undermine international organizations, e.g. by obstructing the election process of the organizations’ organs, or when international standards are eroded due to minimalist implementation, e.g. by reducing climate law’s ‘nationally determined contributions’ to zero. Likewise, non-state actors might use international law in a cynical way. Examples include the potential abuse of investment protection mechanisms and of strategic litigation before international judicial bodies.

Read more about the topic in the Call for Papers published here and on the conference website. More information including program and registration will be published on our blog and on the conference website.

The conference will be held in English and German. Its concept is specifically designed to enable an exchange between younger and more established academics and practitioners. The keynote speech introducing the topic will be held by Professor Gerry Simpson (LSE).

Völkerrechtsblog will accompany the conference with contributions on the issue in order to enable discussion and exchange between our readers and conference participants.

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2 Kommentare
  1. Thank you for your comment. With the conference we aim to take a closer look at exactly these phenomena. Feel free to share your ideas in the form of an abstract, we’re looking forward to it!


  2. This topic is very timely especially in an era where we find ourselves confronted with two competing views of international law, that is, the foreign office model and the global governance regime.Apparently, some states have viewed international law as being efficient, alive and well when it speaks to their favor while equally castigating same when it seems unfavorable to them.They are astute to condemn it in no uncertain terms.

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