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Editorial #25: No More Lofty Promises


The new year has just begun, and one ends up wondering if 2023 will be any different than the previous years. The world continues to be in a crisis mode: the pandemic is still ongoing, numerous humanitarian crises unfold before our eyes and sometimes it seems like we are losing the race against climate change. Even if there is no panacea for all these problems, we cannot simply stumble from one crisis to another: instead of repeating lofty promises over and over again, we need to turn words into deeds.

This view is also shared by our brilliant authors who gave us much food for thought. After our well-deserved winter break, Völkerrechtsblog kicked off the year with a Bofax written by Tillmann Lindner and Giacomo Romis, who reflected on the ICJ’s duty to provide reasons for its decisions. Lucas Hennicke welcomed the decision to establish a new multilateral mechanism for digital sequence information, while Caroline Lichuma unpacked the (in-)visible impact of corporate due diligence laws on rightsholders from the Global South. Then, Natali Gbele advocated for a thorough investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by the FBI and scrutinized whether Israel is obliged to cooperate with the US under the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance. Karina Theurer’s blogpost on the lawsuit filed against the Joint Declaration by the Federal German Republic and the Republic of Namibia has attracted much attention. The case could be a breakthrough in strengthening the participatory rights of indigenous communities who seek reparations for colonial crimes. Andrea Maria Pelliconi critically engaged with the ‘Russian approach’ to self-determination, whereas Gaiane Nuridzhanian commented at the speed of light on the ECtHR’s admissibility decision in the inter-State case Ukraine and the Netherlands vs. Russia. In the same vein, Kei Nakajima briefly discussed the inter-state arbitration proceedings lodged by Azerbaijan against Armenia under the Bern Convention. Isabella Risini examined the Bundesnotbremse II through the lens of the ECHR. Finally, Shiva Sharifzad and Reza Khabook elaborated on the illegality of Iran’s Internet shutdowns, which remains a common tactic to silence opponents of the regime during protests.

Since October 2022 Völkerrechtsblog hosts the ‘Person Behind the Academic’-symposium and my colleague Sissy Katsoni asks the interviewees questions about their perception of justice, source of inspiration and academic life in general. This year she already chatted with Lys Kulamadayil and Itamar Mann. But this was not the only symposium that has resumed work since the beginning of the year. The ‘International Law and the Political’-series featured yet another thought-provoking interview. Hendrik Simon and Ntina Tzouvala talked about the blind spots in critical international law, reflected on the notion of ‘racial capitalism’, and tried to revisit the narrative of ‘civilization’. And last but not least, the first Völkerrechtspodcast episode of 2023 addressed the thorny issue of the right to privacy in the digital age.

Now you have the chance to (re-)read interesting blogposts, draw inspiration from interviews or reflect on the latest podcast episode. Feel free to leave a comment on our website or social media (e.g. Twitter or Mastodon) – feedback is always welcome!

Jasmin Wachau

Jasmin Wachau is a doctoral researcher and research fellow at the Assistant Professorship of Public International Law and International Administrative Law at the University of Erfurt. She is an Editor of Völkerrechtsblog.

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