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.

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