Climate JusticeSymposium

Pursuing climate justice through public interest litigation: the Urgenda case

This blog post critically examines the contribution of public interest litigation to the global fight for climate justice. I consider the Urgenda case, which culminated in the Netherlands’ Supreme Court ruling of 20 December 2019, as an excellent example. Urgenda is a foundation, established under Dutch law, which claims to protect the public interest all of us have in a more sustainable society. It persuaded the Court to order the …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Leaving no one behind?

Special needs in times of COVID-19

In the current COVID-19 pandemic, the rights and special needs of persons with disabilities are once again neglected dramatically. It is bitterly unsurprising that the topic arrived on the agenda of international policy makers only when UN special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas, criticized the lack of awareness and resulting inaction in mid-March. UNICEF was finally the first international organization to publish considerations on children …

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Current Developments

A puzzle coming together

The henchmen of Assad’s torture regime on trial in Germany

Today marks a historical event in international criminal justice. Two former members of the Syrian General Intelligence Service will stand trial before the Oberlandesgericht Koblenz (Higher Regional Court). It is the first time that former members of the Assad regime will be held responsible for state-run torture before a criminal court. While the German coverage of the trial is quite extensive (see the excellent editorial in Süddeutsche Zeitung, episode 8 …

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Current Developments

India’s battle against Covid-19: The lockdown of human rights

India is currently facing the largest lockdown in the world, with over 1.3 billion people locked inside their homes. While Prime Minister Modi adopted this measures to “win the battle” against the Covid-19 pandemic, a large portion of the country is left wondering if their well-being was also accounted for in the hasty decisions of the Government. In a bid to flatten the curve, the Indian government seems to have …

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SymposiumYoung Approaches to International Law

Denying juveniles’ agency role: truly in their best interest?

How is it possible that thus far the agency role of juveniles in international law appears to be diminished and underestimated, even though they constitute a large number of the world´s population? Yet, instead of being treated as responsible agents who deserve to be involved in decision-making processes concerning international law issues, juveniles are being victimized and paternalized. This is well shown in the Preamble of the Convention on the …

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SymposiumYoung Approaches to International Law

Rejuvenating international law

An introduction to an emerging field of research

Announcing a “Youthquake”, Time Magazine rang the bell of change, declaring that a new generation is on its way to power. International legal scholarship, however, has not yet recognised this dynamic as an emerging field of research.  In this light (or darkness), students of Freie Universität Berlin hosted a conference on the question of youth in international law this January. The event was shaped by questions such as “Is international …

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Current Developments

Human rights, criminal law: pas de deux ou faux amis?

Why international law acknowledges crimes without criminals

International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Criminal Law (ICL) may be historically entwined yet are unduly conflated. Teleologically, the division is clear: IHRL primarily deals with state responsibility, while ICL seeks to establish individual criminal liability. But as aptly illustrated by the standards of evidence respectively applied by human rights and criminal law tribunals, the disciplines’ shared vocabulary blurs that distinction. The IHRL-ICL divide is thus a tale of …

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Call for ContributionsCurrent DevelopmentsIL in Pandemic Times

Call for Contributions: International law in pandemic times

The current COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis of global dimension. With numerous countries imposing shut-downs, closing their borders and limiting international trade and cooperation, the crisis in some ways appears to have prompted a return of the nation state that seemed unimaginable only weeks ago and has already given rise to the question whether we are currently witnessing the end of globalization (see on this here and here). International …

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Book ReviewResponse

The “pseudo doctrine”, still a real problem

In her post “The ‘pseudo doctrine’ – a pseudo problem?” Raffaela Kunz reviews my thesis “Das Scheininstitut der unmittelbaren Anwendbarkeit“. Her friendly and well written review raises a few questions, so I am most happy to have the chance for a response. In general Kunz follows my line of arguments but she raises some conceptual doubts and moreover questions the relevance of the abolishment of the pseudo-doctrine of direct applicability …

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Book Review

The „pseudo doctrine“ – a pseudo problem?

On the (ir-)relevance of the doctrine of self-executing treaties for the domestic effect of international law

The question of the “self-executingness” or “direct applicability” of international law is in fact a question of domestic law, but still almost all textbooks on international law address it. The reason for this lies in the treatment of “self-executingness” by many domestic courts as a precondition for the application of international law in their proceedings. In other words, the doctrine is said to determine to a great extent the effects …

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