Current Developments

Finally holding the World Bank accountable?

Analyzing Jam v International Financial Corporation from a TWAIL Perspective

The World Bank (WB), a financial institution born in the Bretton Woods Hotel at the end of the Second World War which enjoys far-reaching immunity due to its status as international organisation, must respond to the US justice system. This was the decision issued on February 27, 2019 by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) with a wide margin of 7 votes to 1 in the case of …


Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Between (Re-)Empowerment and (Hyper-) Conditionality

The Rise of Accountability-Driven Governance in Development Cooperation

Ever since David Trubek and Mark Galanter’s seminal ‘Scholars in Self-Estrangement’, which Philip Dann, during the seminar that gave rise to this post, aptly termed the ‘law and development movement’s defining moment’, there has been intense self-reflection by scholars on the role of law in and for ‘development’ and about the analytical and normative currency of this approach. And in line with the broader ‘turn to history’ in law, this …



Quo Vadis PMSC?

The way forward in dealing with Private Military and Security Companies: A response to Prof. Sossai’s assessment of the legal side effects of privatized war

In his recent post, Mirko Sossai succinctly summarized three phases of research on Private Military and Security Companies (PMSC). He also named the challenges on the way forward, particularly the need to avoid competing regulatory initiatives and finding an end to impunity of PMSC. This blog post will continue the discussion and focus on five key challenges for legal scholarship focused on PMSC. Misunderstandings of Legal Terminology As Sossai highlighted, …



Combatting the legal side effects of privatized war

What has been achieved, and what still needs to be done in international legal scholarship on Private Military and Security Companies

This contribution continues our journal cooperation with the journal “Swiss Review of International & European Law“. Over the past twenty years a lively debate on the regulation of private military and security companies (PMSCs) in situations of armed conflict has developed. The time has come for an appraisal of the rich literature on the phenomenon. This post which is written in the context of the journal cooperation with the Swiss …



‘Who may now speak’?

International Lawyers and Religious Actors in Transitional Justice

A response to Ioana Cismas What is and what should be the role of faith-based actors in transitional justice (TJ)? Ioana Cismas enquires whether the engagement of TJ with religious actors strengthens or rather undermines the legitimacy and effectiveness of TJ mechanisms and their ability to lead to (at least a measure of) accountability for past abuses. Well, it depends. Ioana Cismas’s answer is nuanced and takes into account the …



Religious actors and transitional justice

On legitimacy and accountability

A teary-eyed Desmond Tutu during a public hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is emblematic for the South African transitional justice (TJ) process to the extent that examining the Commission’s work without recalling the archbishop’s role in its functioning could be considered a scholarly faux-pas. Hence, the question emerges: is this a unique case or are there other Tutus out there? One statistical effort documents the significant involvement of …