ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

vrijdag 16 november 2018

JOURNAL: Droits 66/1 2017?2 [Special issue: impérialisme]

(image source: cairn)


  • Annie Lacroix-Riz, Impérialisme français et partenaires dominants dans la construction européenne
  • Michel Elperding, La notion de civilisation dans la pratique conventionnelle des États aux xixe et xxe siècles
  • Olivier Jouanjan, Justifier l’impérialisme : Carl Schmitt et le droit des gens national-socialiste
  • Robert Charvin, L’impérialisme et le devenir du droit international
  • Alexis Le Barbier, Impérialisme et monnaie : de la livre sterling au dollar
  • Benjamin Torterat, Miguel Angel Asturias, un écrivain face à l’impérialisme capitaliste
  • Alexandre Desrameaux, Impérialisme et orientalisme dans l’œuvre d’Edward Saïd : le choc des consciences
  • Sébastien Darbon, La diffusion des sports et du système sportif via l’impérialisme anglo-saxon
Other articles (outside of the special issue):
  • Frédéric Charlin, Isabelle Moine-Dupuis, La « religion d’État » dans le droit pénal moderne, de l’ordre moral à la tranquillité publique
  • Caroline Cohen, Autonomie de la volonté, prévisibilité et droit international privé (réflexions sur les règles permissives)
  • Maël Notez, Anthropologie de l’aliéné au point de vue de la sanction pénale
  • François Bonneville, Le capitalisme : fin ou moyen de l’État ?
  • Marie-Aimée Bastid-Latournerie, Retour sur l’idée de primaire citoyenne
Access all the articles on CAIRN.

donderdag 15 november 2018

BOOK: William A. SCHABAS, The Trial of the Kaiser (Oxford University Press, 2018). ISBN 9780198833857, $34.95

(Source: OUP)

Oxford University Press is publishing a book on the failed attempts to bring Kaiser Wilhelm II to justice in the aftermath of World War I.


In the immediate aftermath of the armistice that ended the First World War, the Allied nations of Britain, France, and Italy agreed to put the fallen German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II on trial, in what would be the first ever international criminal tribunal. In Britain, Lloyd George campaigned for re-election on the slogan 'hang the Kaiser', but the Italians had only lukewarm support for a trial, and there was outright resistance from the United States. 

During the Peace Conference, international lawyers gathered for the first time to debate international criminal justice. They recommended trial of the Kaiser by an international tribunal for war crimes, and the Americans relented, agreeing to a trial for a 'supreme offence against international morality'. However, the Kaiser had fled to the Netherlands where he obtained asylum, and though the Allies threatened a range of measures if the former Emperor was not surrendered, the Dutch refused and the demands were dropped in March 1920.

This book, from renowned legal scholar William A. Schabas, sheds light on perhaps the most important international trial that never was. Schabas draws on numerous primary sources hitherto unexamined in published work, including transcripts which vividly illuminate this period of international law making. As such, he has written a book which constitutes a history of the very beginnings of international criminal justice, a history which has never before been fully told.


William A. SchabasProfessor of International Law, Middlesex University in London

William A. Schabas is professor of international law at Middlesex University in London. He is also professor of international human law and human rights at Leiden University, distinguished visiting faculty at Sciences Po in Paris, and honorary chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Professor Schabas holds BA and MA degrees in history from the University of Toronto and LLB, LLM and LLD degrees from the University of Montreal, as well as several honorary doctorates. He is the author of more than twenty books in the fields of human rights and international criminal law. Professor Schabas drafted the 2010 and 2015 United Nations quinquennial reports on the death penalty. He was a member of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Professor Schabas is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Royal Irish Academy since 2007.


1. The Power of the Beaten Path
2. 'Hang the Kaiser'
3. Kaiserdammerung
4. Making the Case in International Law
5. Britain, France, and Italy Agree to Try the Kaiser
6. The Dutch are Divided
7. Aborted Kidnap
8. The Commission on Responsibilities
9. Prosecuting Crimes Against Peace
10. International Law and War Crimes
11. An International Criminal Court
12. The Council of Virgins
13. Finalising the Treaty of Versailles
14. Implementing Article 227
15. Readying the Case for Trial
16. The Kaiser in Limbo
17. Demand for Surrender
18. Was he Guilty?

More information here

(source: ESCLH Blog)

BOOK: Stanislas HORVAT, Belgian Courts-Martial. Prosecution of Military Law Offences during World War (Brussels: ASP/VUBPress, 2018), 404 p. ISBN 9789057188305, € 34,95

(image source: ASP)

Book abstract:
This publication is the first in-depth study of the Belgian military court during World War I. Martial law application and procedures are described in detail and evaluated on the basis of a comprehensive study of previously unexamined archive documents from the Attorney General's Office and the Military Court, including more than 300 Attorney General's circulars, about 5,500 judgments and nearly 1,000 Military Court cases. Criminal procedure, from inquiry to execution, is fully explained through statutes, jurisprudence, circulars and a large number of scientific publications. Martial law practice and its significance for the soldiers are briefly presented and analysed through a number of key questions addressing the language issue and social relations in the army, but also the legal impact of the war, the roles played by military authorities, the relationship between armed forces, etc. This volume contains an enlightening study for all those who want an insight into the prosecution of the military law crimes during World War I.
On the author:
Dr. Stanislas Horvat is professor and head of the Chair of Law at the Belgian Royal Military Academy and affiliated researcher at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the Free University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel). He is member of the board of directors and director of publications of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War, member of the managing board of the Belgian Military Law and the Law of War Centre and secretary of the Scientific Committee of Legal History of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. 
 More information here.

woensdag 14 november 2018

JOURNAL: European Journal of International Law XXIX (2018), Nr. 3

(image source: EJILTalk)

Editorial: Publish and Perish: A Plea to Deans, Faculty Chairpersons, University Authorities; In this Issue
Perpetrators and Victims of War
Sofia Stolk, A sophisticated beast? On the construction of an ‘ideal’ perpetrator in the opening statements of international criminal trials
Christine Schwöbel-Patel, The ‘Ideal Victim of International Criminal Law
Line Gissel, A Different Kind of Court: Africa’s Support for the International Criminal Court, 1993-2003
Alexandra Adams, The Legacy of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and its Contribution to the Definition of Rape
Symposium: International Law and the First World War
International Law and the End of War
Randall Lesaffer, Aggression before Versailles
Markus M. Payk, ‘What We Seek is the Reign of Law’: The Legalism of the Paris Peace Settlement after the Great War
 Roaming Charges
The Crucifixion – Do It Yourself
 Symposium: The Crime of Aggression before the International Criminal Court
Dapo Akande and Antonios Tzanakopoulos, The Crime of Aggression before the International Criminal Court: Introduction to the Symposium
Frédéric Mégret, International Criminal Justice as a Peace Project
Tom Dannenbaum, The Criminalization of Aggression and Soldiers’ Rights

Tom Ruys, Criminalizing Aggression: How the Future of the Law on the Use of Force Rests in the Hands of the ICC
Marieke de Hoon, The Crime of Aggression’s Show Trial Catch-22
Dapo Akande and Antonios Tzanakopoulos, Treaty Law and ICC Jurisdiction Over the Crime of Aggression

 EJIL: Debate!
Rosa Freedman, UNaccountable: A New Approach to Peacekeepers and Sexual Abuse
Devika Hovell, UNaccountable: A Reply to Rosa Freedman
Rosa Freedman, UNaccountable: A Rejoinder to Devika Hovell
Review Essay
Gleider Hernández, E Pluribus Unum? A Divisible College? Reflections on the International Legal Profession. Review of Anthea Roberts, Is International Law International?
 Book Reviews
Dianne Otto (ed.), Queering International Law: Possibilities, Alliances, Complicities, Risks (Louise Arimatsu)
Violeta Moreno-Lax, Accessing Asylum in Europe: Extraterritorial Border Controls and Refugee Rights under EU Law (María-Teresa Gil-Bazo)
Mavluda Sattorova, The Impact of Investment Treaty Law on Host States: Enabling Good Governance? (Velimir Živković)
Briefly Noted
Stefan Kadelbach, Thomas Kleinlein, and David Roth-Isigkeit (ed.). System, Order, and International Law. The Early History of International Legal Thought from Machiavelli to Hegel (Jörg Fisch)
The Last Page
The Quality of Mercy, Portia, in William ShakespeareThe Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1
More information on the journal's website.

(source: EJIL!Talk)

dinsdag 13 november 2018

ARTICLE: Boyd VAN DIJK, "Human Rights in War: On the Entangled Foundations of the 1949 Geneva Conventions", AJIL XCII (2018), Nr. 4, 553-582

(image source: ASIL)

Article abstract:

The relationship between human rights and humanitarian law is one of the most contentious topics in the history of international law. Most scholars studying their foundations argue that these two fields of law developed separately until the 1960s. This article, by contrast, reveals a much earlier cross-fertilization between these disciplines. It shows how “human rights thinking” played a critical generative role in transforming humanitarian law, thereby creating important legacies for today's understandings of international law in armed conflict.
Access the article on Cambridge Core.

maandag 12 november 2018

REMINDER: CALL FOR PAPERS: The rule of law and international law in historical perspective (IGHIL Event, ESIL Research Forum Göttingen, 4-5 APR 2019); DEADLINE 30 NOV 2018

(image source: ESIL)

The question of how to settle and enforce norms in the international sphere without a central authority has been a key debate in international law for centuries. While the gradual extension of an international order supported by multilateral treaties and courts was seen as a natural and logical development of international society in the decades following the end of the Cold War, the recent challenges to the very idea of a rules-based international order call for fresh perspectives on the idea and development of the rule of law in the international sphere. How did the concept emerge, how did it evolve over time, and how different is its history in the domestic and the international context?
Moreover, the Rule of Law can be envisaged under a double perspective. On the one hand, it expresses a philosophical and theoretical construct, whose intellectual genealogy conforms to that of the development of international legal thinking over time and in several legal cultures. On the other hand, the rule of law can be used instrumentally as an ideological discourse to legitimate far more basic political instincts and interest. Its invocation is not always conformable to actual legal practice. The Interest Group especially welcomes papers addressing the complex articulation of these two strands in historical cases, illustrated through primary source-research.

Possible topics might include:
·         How have international institutions responded to previous challenges of the very idea of the rule of law in international affairs?
·         How has the extent to which a state respects the rule of law in the domestic sphere influenced their behavior within the international community?
·         Has the meaning of the term ‘rule of law’ changed over time, and is it a universal concept? Does it have different connotations in the natural law or the positivist tradition? How have regional attempts to establish the rule of law influenced the international level?
·         When did we begin to have the ambition to regulate and enforce matters at a global level? How has the creation and enforcement of rules changed since the UN system was set up after the Second World War?
·         What was the impact of the rise of arbitration and international courts? Were they the consequence of a growing belief in the rule of law or drivers of this development?
·         How effective has the rule of law been in defining and protecting global commons (e.g. the success or failure of legal efforts to protect the environment)?
·         Has the ‘rule of law’ evolved differently in different policy areas such trade and investment law, communications or the laws of war?
Abstracts must be submitted no later than 30 November 2018 to on behalf of the Steering Committee of the Interest Group, which shall collectively supervise the blind peer-review process. All those who take part in the ESIL Research Forum, at an Interest Group event and/or in the main Forum, are expected to be ESIL members at the time of their participation. Selected speakers will be expected to bear the costs of their own travel and accommodation. Some ESIL travel grants will be available to offer partial financial support to speakers who have exhausted other potential sources of funding. Please see the ESIL website ( for information about travel grants offered to ESIL members and other relevant information about the Research Forum.

vrijdag 9 november 2018

LECTURE: Martti KOSKENNIEMI, International law and the far right: Reflections on law and cynicism (The Hague: Peace Palace, 29 NOV 2018)

(image source: Asser)

The fourth Annual T.M.C. Asser lecture will be delivered by Prof. Martti Koskenniemi on 29 November at the Peace Palace. In his lecture, Prof. Koskenniemi will address the role of international law in dealing with the rising far right, as the backlash against global rule and the international institutions of the liberal 1990s continues. 

Lecture abstract:
"Since the emergence of the profession in the 1870s, international lawyers have lent themselves to supporting various political projects, from ruling of empire to decolonisation, from supporting national self-determination to arguing in favour of global governance of the transnational economy. They have celebrated sovereignty and supported human rights. The recent backlash against global rule and the international institutions of the liberal 1990s should be viewed as a political attack from a relatively privileged part of the world on the system of values and distributive power that have governed post-1968 internationalism. This backlash is often treated as a social pathology, arisen from the anger felt by European and American middle classes “left behind” by globalisation. I do not share this analysis. Whatever the social composition of the “backlash”, the policies of its leaders are neither reformist nor “conservative”. They are reactionary, and the question is, how to devise an effective policy to counter them. The coming struggle will be about whether reactionary, colonialist, white and male supremacist values will play a role in the international world after globalisation. If international law is not to become a servant to far right policies, or fall into irrelevance, it had better sharpen its strategic insights. Alongside self-criticism, this involves taking a break from the interminable production of minor reforms. Greater openness is needed. Not to “populist” leaders, but to problems of global inequality."
Registration here.

(Source: Asser Institute)