Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cultural Diversity

On Monday the 17th of August 2009 the Centre for Studies and Research in International Law and International Relations of the Hague Academy of International Law started. The Centre takes place annually at the Academy and Library building of the Peace Palace. The purpose of the Centre is to bring together advanced young scholars of a high standard from all over the world.

The Centre is a programme of the The Hague Academy for International Law. The Academy proposes a different research theme each year. This year the topic is 'Cultural Diversity'. Cultural diversity is however a very broad topic which touches many fields of law, such as for example private international law, family law and public international law, but also the legal status and rights of minorities.

The Centre only accepts a limited number of participants in order to ensure a high standard. The participants exchange ideas and views about their research regarding this year's topic, together with the two directors of studies for the coming three weeks. This will ultimately result in a collection of articles.

The director for the English speaking participants is Dr. Nadjima Yassari, Senior Research Fellow from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Germany. The director for the French speaking participants is Prof. Dr. Marie-Claire Foblets from the Faculty of Social Sciences Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

The best research work of the Centre participants about the topic of this year will be published collectively by the Academy.

On the website of the Peace Palace Library you can find a link to the wiki research guide and bibliography on Cultural Diversity which has been created for the Centre. When you visit the wiki you will be taken to a selection of related literature about cultural diversity that is part of the collection of the Peace Palace Library. The wiki research document about cultural diversity also contains links to the website and documents of international organisations related to cultural diversity.

Related links:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Georgia on his mind. From R2P toR2I?

Russian President Medvedev, also supreme military commander, introduced an amendment to the Russian Defense Law to allow Russian armed forces to intervene beyond Russian borders. If the Duma, the Russian Parliament, accepts the amendment, Russian troops can be used abroad to “rebuff or prevent an aggression against another state” or “protect Russian citizens abroad.” The amendment was required to clarify the present law regarding the situation in Georgia. Critical voices in Russia said there was no legal basis to send troops to intervene in South Ossetia in 2008. The problem was solved by saying that Russia did not send an army but peacekeepers to the region.

The anniversary of the conflict in South Ossetia and recent tensions in the Caucasus made President Medvedev react. Russia always maintained that its intervention in Georgia was justified by the principle of “responsibility to protect” (R2P).

Mr Gareth Evans, enthousiastic supporter of this rather new humanitarian principle of R2P, has serious doubts about this interpretation. R2P was accepted in 2005 by the world leaders in UN General Assembly as the principle that they have a general “responsibility to protect” human beings from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. See resolution “World Summit Outcome 2005”, A/RES/60/1 (October 24, 2005)., paras 138-9.
Although R2P refers to states responsible for their own people, with extreme exceptions, soon critics expressed their fears that R2P might legitimize armed interference, calling it R2I (right to intervene).

Mr Evans, former Australian foreign minister and campaigner for R2P, wrote a major work on this concept : “The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and For All.” (2008).

Monday, August 3, 2009

International Court of Justice sets date for public hearings on Kosovo independence

The Hague, 29 July 2009. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced that it will hold public hearings starting on 1 December 2009 on the question of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence early last year. The United Nations and individual Member States will be able to present oral statements and comments at the ICJ’s headquarters in The Hague, as will the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) of Kosovo.

On 8 October 2008, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 63/3 (A/63/L.2) in which, referring to Article 65 of the Statute of the Court, it requested the Court to render an advisory opinion on the following question :

"Is the unilateral declaration of independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo in accordance with international law?"

Some 36 Member States and the authors of the unilateral declaration of independence by the PISG have already filed written statements on the question, and they have until 15 September to indicate to the ICJ whether they wish to participate in the public hearings. Fourteen States and the authors of the unilateral declaration of independence by the PISG have also submitted written comments on the other written statements.

Peace Palace Library keywords : Kosovo and Independence

ICJ on this case, see website