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  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: I think it is difficult to contest that the most important state player in world affairs over the last one hundred years – and consistently so over this period – has been the United States of America. World War I – into which, to borrow from Christopher Clark's justly celebrated book, we 'sleepwalked' – marks a useful starting point. It is not only the fairly important role America played in bringing WWI to an end that signals the beginning of this era, but also the no less important role it played in shaping the aftermath. Wilson's 14 points were considered at the time 'idealistic' by some of the yet-to-be 'Old Powers'. But by dismantling the Ottoman Empire through the principle of self-determination (not at that time a universal legally binding norm) it was an early swallow to the demise, a mere generation later, of all other colonial empires and the truly decisive reshaping of the balance of power in the post-WWII world. The US played an equally cardinal role in ideating and realizing the United Nations Organization and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – two lynchpins of our current world order.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Gaza
  • Author: Michelle Leanne Burgis-Kasthala
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: This study employs a select ethnography of Palestinian workers in the field of international law and human rights to explore how an epistemic community gives content and meaning to international law in its professional and personal life. Through a series of interviews conducted in the West Bank in the wake of the Palestinian attempt to gain full United Nations membership in September 2011, the article constructs a meta-narrative about the nature of international legal discourse as spoken on the Palestinian periphery. It shows how speakers of international law are required to restate or over-state the distinction between law and politics so as to sustain their hope and desire for Palestinian statehood in the face of despair about its protracted denial. The article then is an exploration about the politics of meaning making through international law and a call for methodological hybridity within the discipline of international law.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Politics, United Nations
  • Author: Sara De Vido
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Water has been a challenging issue over the centuries. From questions of national boundaries and navigation, quite common in the past, to the development of a human right to water, this essential element for human life has always spurred debate among international lawyers, economists, political scientists, geographers, and anthropologists. The reason may be found in the scarcity of water, a phenomenon which affects both developed and developing countries. Much has been written on the topic, but the three books under review significantly contribute to a critical analysis of some pertinent legal issues related to water. The title of each monograph reflects the purpose of the respective study. Hence, International Law for a Water-Scarce World by Brown Weiss starts from the acknowledgement that 'the fresh water crisis is the new environmental crisis of the 21st century' (at 1) and provides an integrated analysis of water law, which considers climate implications, river basins, and the availability and quality of fresh water. Boisson De Chazournes' Fresh Water in International Law investigates the status of fresh water in international law. The choice of the titles of the chapters is particularly evocative. Thus, after a chapter on regulation of fresh water use, the book continues with chapters on the 'Economization' of the law applicable to fresh water, its 'Environmentalization', followed by its 'Humanization', and 'Institutionalization Trends in Fresh Water Governance', before focusing on dispute settlement mechanisms. The use of the ending '-zation' gives the immediate impression of the evolution of the law on fresh water resources, which now includes several separate but clearly interrelated aspects. The title of the third book, written by Thielbörger, deserves attention for two elements, the first being the letter 's' inside the parentheses and the second being the adjective 'unique' used for identifying the human right to water. The Right(s) to Water. The Multi-Level Governance of a Unique Human Right pursues a different purpose from the two other books under review which adopt a more comprehensive approach. Thielbörger's book (based on his doctoral dissertation) studies the human right to water from a comparative and international perspective, emphasizing the complexity of a right which is strictly linked to other rights but constitutes at the same time a right of its own.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, International Law
  • Author: Stéphanie Hennette Vauchez
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Building on the heightened attention that the optic of judicial selection receives in the world of international courts, this article focuses its attention on one particular criterion that is gaining in importance in that respect: gender. By choosing the European Court of Human Rights as a case in point, the article provides a unique analysis of the history of the 2004 Resolution of the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly that formulated a rule of gender balance on the list of candidates presented by states for the post of judge at the Court. It first unearths the dynamics that allowed the adoption of the rule as well as all of the fierce opposition it triggered as well as the ways in which counter-mobilization eventually prevailed and watered down the initial rule, with the help of states, the Committee of Ministers and the Court itself (which delivered its first advisory opinion on the topic in 2008). It then looks beyond the static analysis of the rule as a mere constraint and addresses in a more dynamic fashion the multiple interpretations, strategies and, ultimately, politics it opens up. By providing a unique qualitative, comparative and exhaustive analysis of the curriculum vitae of all the 120-odd women who were ever listed as candidates to the Strasbourg judicial bench (1959–2012), the article delivers original data and analyses both the features that women candidates put forth when listed for the job and the strategies of states with regard to the gender criterion. It concludes that while there is a strong proportion of candidates that support the notion that states do not differentiate according to gender or require different qualities from men and women candidates, there is a comparable proposition that contrarily indicates that the world of international judicial appointments is far from gender neutral.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Françoise Tulkens
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Having spent almost 14 years as a judge at the European Court of Human Rights, the author responds to and shares the critical view expressed by Hennette Vauchez in her article on the presence of women judges at the European Court of Human Rights. Some steps forward have admittedly been made through the voluntary action of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, but there has also been resistance in the implementation of these new rules. The gains are fragile and there are risks of regression. This situation confirms Kenney's analysis: women's progress is not natural, inevitable nor irreversible. A reaction is all the more necessary and urgent since, in the coming months of 2015 and subsequently, many elections of judges to the Court will take place, due in particular to the non-renewable nine-year term of office of judges introduced by Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: This article responds to a thoughtful intervention by Stéphanie Hennette Vauchez documenting the selection process for women seeking judicial appointment to the European Court of Human Rights. Written in the context of the author's experience as candidate for appointment to the Court, the analysis concentrates on the gendered dimensions of international institutional cultures, habits and practices that frame selection to judicial office as much as any formally applicable rules. I explore the ways in which ostensible access to international judicial bodies conceals the manifold ways in which Courts are coded masculine, and how female candidacy requires careful deliberation on performance, presentation and identity. Drawing on 'new institutionalism' theory, I underscore that female presence alone rarely undoes embedded institutional practices. Rather, transforming institutional practices and values must parallel female presence, thereby redefining the institution and the forms of power it exercises. The article concludes by reflecting on the importance of feminist judging, and argues that it is precisely the transformative political and legal changes sought by self-defined feminists that may stand the best chance of undoing the structures, habits and practices that continue to exclude women from being appointed and from engaging on terms of full equality when they arrive.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paolo Lobba
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Litigation concerning domestic restrictions on Holocaust denial has produced a 30-year-long jurisprudence of the European Court and European Commission of Human Rights. In spite of solemnly declared principles on free speech, the Strasbourg organs have progressively developed an exceptional regime in this regard based on the 'abuse clause' envisaged under Article 17. Had this detrimental treatment remained confined to its original sphere, it could have perhaps been considered as a negligible issue. However, the scope of the abuse clause was extended to encompass a growing class of utterances, including the denial of historical facts other than the Nazi genocide. This piece begins by examining the Strasbourg case law on Holocaust denial, with a view to enucleating the effects, scope and conditions of applicability of the special regime based upon Article 17. Once the shortcomings implied by this detrimental discipline have been exposed, it shall be argued that all expressions should be dealt with under the ordinary necessity test, in which the abuse clause ought to operate as an interpretative principle. In the alternative, and as a minimum, the Court should pay due regard to the political and social context of the country where restrictions on free speech were enforced, setting aside the uniquely harsh treatment reserved for Holocaust denial.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ineta Ziemele, Lasma Liede
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: This article addresses the issue of reservations to human rights treaties in the light of the work done by the International Law Commission and its Special Rapporteur, Mr Alain Pellet. Section 1 gives a short historical background for the topic. Section 2 provides a concise overview of the variety of arguments that have been raised in the debate on the character of human rights treaties and the permissibility of reservations to those treaties, as well as their relationship with the reservations regime established under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Section 3 gives a number of specific examples of reservations permitted under the human rights treaties and describes the approach taken by some human rights treaty bodies in that respect. It also depicts the manner in which some of these bodies have dealt with the intricate issue of the consequences of impermissible reservations. Section 4 analyses the guidelines adopted by the ILC and offers some reflection on their contribution to the development of international treaty law on this topic. Section 5 concludes by praising the comprehensive work of the ILC on the subject.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law
  • Political Geography: Vienna
  • Author: Andrew Williams
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The orthodox view of the ECHR and its Court as regime in the context of both the EU and UK has been that it has considerable value albeit with systemic flaws. The purpose of this article is to challenge this orthodoxy. Four inter-related submissions are made: that the ECHR has failed human rights conceptually (1); 'good' or lauded decisions of the ECtHR cannot remedy or sufficiently counter-balance this conceptual failure (2); 'bad' decisions further expose and exacerbate the failure (3); the procedural problems of the ECHR regime may contribute to the underlying failure of concept but their resolution cannot solve it (4). These submissions are to provoke a more intense assessment of value and how such value could be enhanced. It may be too late to see any influence on the accession process but this does not reduce the relevance of the critique for the future of human rights in both the EU and the UK. Ultimately an approach to the ECHR system needs to determine whether it continues to be lauded or its influence resisted (thus seeking reform or replacement - the alternative candidates being the EU Charter and/or a national Bill of Rights) and retained only as an iconic scheme of moral importance.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Stelios Andreadakis
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: This reaction piece responds to the article by Andrew Williams entitled 'The European Convention on Human Rights, the EU and the UK: Confronting a Heresy'. In his article, Williams contends that we should not further support the 'orthodox' view that the Convention (ECHR) has been very successful in protecting and promoting human rights across Europe, offering four submissions to that end. It will be argued that Dr Williams' submissions regarding the ECHR's success and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)'s role are not well supported and justified. The relationship between the ECHR and a future UK Bill of Rights will also be explored in the piece, as there is no sufficient link between the author's arguments about the ECHR regime and the UK legal system, making it rather artificial to refer to the UK as a possible model for human rights.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Europe