Friday, November 25, 2011

Shabtai Rosenne Memorial Lecture

On Thursday, 24 November the first Shabtai Rosenne Memorial Lecture, delivered by Professor Malcolm N. Shaw Q.C., Senior Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge, took place at the Peace Palace in The Hague, a little more than a year after Professor Rosenne’s death. The event was hosted by the Embassy of Israel in The Hague and Brill-Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, together with the Rosenne family.

The Hague and the Peace Palace were considered the obvious choice for this first Rosenne memorial lecture. Not only did Professor Rosenne devote an important part of his academic life to the study of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and its predecessor the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), he was also the first person to be awarded The Hague Prize for International Law in 2004. His study of the ICJ and PCIJ resulted in a series of authoritative writings on the law and practice of these courts. In addition Rosenne published extensively on a variety of legal subjects, e.g., the law of treaties, the law of the sea, the codification of international law, the law of Israel, etc., in many books and legal periodicals as can be witnessed from the bibliography which was compiled especially for this occasion by the Peace Palace Library (PPL) and published in the booklet on the Memorial Lecture. All publications listed (his early publications from the 1940’s go under the name of S.W.D. Rowson) are available at the PPL and many of them can be readily found through the online catalogue.

In his lecture entitled, “The Peaceful Settlement of Disputes: Paradigms, Plurality and Policy”, Professor Shaw gave an overview of where he thought dispute resolution was at the moment. He emphasised the need to see international law generally and peaceful settlement of disputes specifically within the context of the contemporary social, political and economic circumstances. Such a context with its resulting legitimacy principles would help explain current international law, assist with its interpretation and give some indications of future developments. Essentially, changing economic and political circumstances require changing laws, institutions and mechanisms. He drew attention to the current trend for dispute settlement by the use of multiple techniques, discussing as an example the resolution of the Bakassi dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria with the close involvement of the UN, following upon the decision of the International Court of Justice. Further, Shaw noted the tendency of the International Court to be more prescriptive in its orders and decisions, with what he termed an increasing "long reach", whereby the Court called upon the parties to adopt specific measures or methods in order to ensure full resolution of the dispute that had been before it. He concluded by emphasising that international law is about getting things done in the most convenient manner and thus building cooperation, but all with the purpose, as Shabtai Rosenne had stated in his acceptance speech for the Hague Prize in 2004, of seeking justice.

In a Comment to the lecture of Professor Shaw, Dr. Daphné Richemond-Barak, from the Inter-Disciplinary Center (IDC) in Israel, highlighted two trends in international dispute settlement, (i) the growing influence of non-state actors, and (ii) the proliferation of dispute settlement. Dr. Richemond focused in particular on the increasing participation of international/regional organisations and civil society in dispute settlement. She also elaborated on the growing number of non-traditional mechanisms for the resolution of international disputes.

Both the text of and the comment to the Shabtai Rosenne Memorial Lecture will be published in the near future by Brill/Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dag Hammarskjöld (1905 - 1961)

Fifty years ago, the former United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld tragically passed away in a plane crash, on his way to cease-fire negotiations with the leaders of Katanga province of conflict-ridden Congo.

When Dag Hammarskjöld became Secretary-General in 1953, the United Nations was heavily divided by the Cold War. In spite of great political hostility between the Super Powers, he proved to be undaunted by powerful governments and was able to generate a strong and welcoming feeling of hope within the international arena. From the beginning, Hammarskjöld was very aware that the UN was still in its early stages of development and needed to make a constant effort to search for new ideas as well as establish new precedents to effectively deal with contemporary problems. He went to great lengths to lay a strong foundation for new ideas and techniques. For instance, he personally engaged in laborious negotiations of a Status of Forces Agreement with Egypt to define the relationship of the first UN Peacekeeping Force with its host country. [1] Hammarskjöld believed that a just and fair world could eventually be achieved by the establishment of precedents and case law.

In his last Annual Report to the UN General Assembly, Hammarskjöld argued that the objective of International Peace and Security would only be achieved on the basis of four fundamental principles, namely: (i) equal political rights, both sovereign and individual; (ii) equal economic opportunities, through higher standards and also conditions conducive to economic and social advancement; (iii) a firm framework of the rule of law, which should underpin all activities of the international community; and (iv) the prohibition of the use of force, where it is contrary to the other three principles.

Today, these same principles remain at the core of the UN's efforts to maintain global peace and security, and the international institutions that emerged. The development of a collective security system raises intriguing questions as to what extent comtemporary approaches are still consistent with Dag Hammarskjöld's vision of the UN.

To commemorate his legacy, The Hague Institute of Global Justice organizes a Conference on the 9th and 10th of November 2011 titled: Peace Diplomacy, Global Justice and International Agency, Rethinking Human Security and Ethics in the spirit of Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961)

The Conference will pursue the following objectives:

1. To investigate Dag Hammarskjöld's ideas in shaping the future role of the United Nations

2. Learning lessons from concrete conflict situations in which the International community was or is involved .

3. Raising our understanding of the critical relationship between justice and peace.

4. Making national and international efforts and institutions more effective and sustainable.

[1] New Routes, Volume 16 (2), Special issue in collaboration between the Life & Peace Institute and the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Life & Peace Institute, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Abyei Arbitration between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement

The Peace Palace Library organizes an evening of lectures and discussion about the Abyei Arbitration between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement. The speakers are Mr. Brooks W. Daly, Deputy Secretary-General and Principal Legal Counsel of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), and Prof. Johan G. Lammers.

The lecture will take place Wednesday 30 November, 2011, at 17.30-19.30 (lecture starts at 18.00), in the Historic Reading Room of the Peace Palace Library.

On the 22nd of July, 2009, an Award on the delimitation of the Abyei Area was rendered, thereby settling a dispute between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army. The PCA acted as registry and provided administrative support. The rendering of the Award was meant to facilitate the organization of a referendum about the future of the area, where various oil fields are located. On the 9th of July 2011, South Sudan declared its independence, making the outcome of the referendum even more important. However, the referendum was postponed and despite the rendering of the award, the Abyei Area continues to be contested between the Republics of Sudan and South Sudan.

Brooks W. Daly is Deputy Secretary-General and Principal Legal Counsel of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). Before joining the PCA, Mr. Daly acted as Counsel at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration in Paris, France, and practiced with law firms in Los Angeles and London. He will speak about the Abyei Arbitration between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

Johan G. Lammers was Legal Advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Professor in International Law at the University of Amsterdam. In 1999 he was awarded the Elizabeth Haub Award for his exceptional contribution to the field of international environmental law. He will speak about the political “prehistory” of the Abyei Arbitration.

The Peace Palace Library Lecture Series consists of approximately four lectures a year about issues of international public law. Each lecture will start with a small reception in the library’s new reading room, followed by the lecture in the historical reading room. The Lecture Series are open to everyone and are especially interesting for researchers and students, as well as diplomats, international civil servants, journalists and other professionals working in the field of international public law.

Please register by sending an email to Otto Spijkers at We hope to see you there!