IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

The Corona effect

On complex causality in the international anti-corruption arena

Can the flap of a bat’s wings in Hunan, China, send global markets into freefall and threaten democracy in the Americas? Today, most of us would answer in the affirmative – perhaps proof that Konrad Lorenz’s butterfly effect theory, which he first wrote about in 1972, is more relevant than ever. Catherine Mackinnon aside, few in the legal world have argued for complex causality in dynamic, unstable systems. Yet, the …


Climate JusticeSymposium

Democratising international climate law

Reflections on a global citizens’ climate assembly

Government centred action has so far failed to respond adequately to the climate crisis, opening the space for new governance experiments, including through subnational coalitions, social movements and private standards. In the search for new ideas to facilitate the necessary transformations to move to a low-carbon economy, climate citizens’ assemblies – randomly selected representative citizens gathered to make recommendations on how to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets – have recently …


Current Developments

Voting rights for future?

Lowering the voting age from a children’s rights perspective

When John Stuart Mill referred to liberty as the greatest value that guarantees people’s freedom and right to have a choice, he pointed out that children were ‘incapable of being acted on by rational consideration of distant motives’ and therefore, unable to enjoy liberty and make decisions for themselves. Mill’s statement reflects a broader argument according to which the distinction between adults and children in political influence is justified due to …


Cynical International LawSymposium

The Edge of Enlightenment

The EU’s struggle with post-fascist cynicism

Recently, Harvard professor Steven Pinker’s book “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress”, which explores the effect of the Enlightenment on contemporary societies worldwide and also anti-Enlightenment movements in the West, became an international bestseller. Applying his findings about the age-old symbiotic relationship between certain elements of “Western civilization” and (post-) Fascism to certain developments both at the EU level and in individual member states, we can …


Current Developments

Entzug von Mitgliedschaftsrechten zur Implementierung von Demokratie

Die Suspendierung des Sudan durch die Afrikanische Union

Im Juni 2019 suspendierte die Afrikanische Union (AU) die Mitgliedschaftsrechte der Republik Sudan nach einem Staatsstreich des Militärs gegen den langjährigen Machthaber Umar al-Bashir. Hierdurch machte die AU erneut von einem Mechanismus Gebrauch, der einerseits dazu bestimmt ist, die verfassungsrechtlich vorgesehenen Regierungsstrukturen in den Mitgliedstaaten der AU, besonders vor gewaltsamen Umstürzen, zu schützen, und der andererseits die zügige Implementierung demokratischer Verhältnisse nach solchen Umstürzen befördern soll. Im Falle des Sudan …


Current Developments

Voting down international law?

Lessons from Switzerland for compensatory constitutionalism

There was quite some relief in Switzerland when it became clear on Sunday 25thNovember that the so called “initiative on democratic self-determination” had been rejected by the voters (the end result with 66 percent no-votes was much clearer than expected). While it is nothing new in Switzerland that popular initiatives are launched which lead to conflicts with international law (just remember the popular initiatives on the ban of minarets, on the …


Current Developments

Trump’s latest attack on international law

How the nomination of judge Kavanaugh to the supreme court could shape the USA’s approach to international obligations

It seems that US-President Donald Trump has won a powerful supporter for his onslaught on international law and international institutions: Supreme Court Judge nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The nomination of judge Brett Kavanaugh by Donald Trump as successor for the departing judge Kennedy has understandingly only received mediocre attention in European media and within the public law community whereas this issue seems to prevail debates in recent weeks amongst US scholars and large …



Gibt es noch Hoffnung für überstaatliche Demokratie?

Plädoyer für einen wehrhaften Internationalismus

In seinem Interview auf diesem Blog vertritt Armin von Bogdandy die Position, dass sich die Rahmenbedingungen für überstaatliche Demokratie in den letzten Jahren verschärft hätten. Zwar zeigt er sich überzeugt, dass die überlieferten Prinzipien demokratischen Regierens im Grundsatz auch weiterhin für überstaatliche Ebenen maßgeblich und sinnvoll seien. Es müsse jedoch gelingen, die Entfremdung bestimmter Bevölkerungsteile von überstaatlichen Institutionen zu überwinden und den in vielen Ländern (wieder-)auferstandenen autoritären Nationalismus institutionell einzufangen. …



Demokratie und Völkerrecht

Ein Interview mit Armin von Bogdandy

Es wird zur Zeit viel über die Funktionsfähigkeit von Demokratie und über die Effektivität internationalen Rechts gesprochen, aber selten über beides zusammen. Wer wäre besser aufgestellt, um dazu etwas Erhellendes zu sagen, als Armin von Bogdandy, der sich seit vielen Jahren mit den Zusammenhängen von Demokratie und Völkerrecht befasst? Armin von Bogdandy bedarf keiner Vorstellung, wie es so schön heißt, er ist Direktor am Heidelberger Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht …


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 …