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Newsletter - Summer 2022
Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the Centre for International Law (CIL) has established a new Ukraine International Law Response initiative to respond to the multiple international law challenges created by this international armed conflict. Our team members have regional expertise in the area and can work in Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian languages to get information from primary sources.
 
So far, CIL members have jointly produced a Q&A on the war in Ukraine, as well as other blogs that addressed more specific points, such as economic sanctions, the responsibility of foreign companies to leave Russia, or cultural heritage protection. A webinar held on the 19th of May focused on Displacement in and from Ukraine. Its recording is now available for all to watch.
 
In addition to focusing on the situation in Ukraine, the CIL has continued with its research activities and programme of events. A recent highlight has been the Annual Harry Weinrebe Memorial Lecture, which was convened by the Dorset Senior Fellow and Director of the Centre for International Law, Kristin Hausler.

 

Professor Amal Clooney and Professor Philippa Webb jointly gave this special lecture, which was based on their recent publication of The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law (OUP). This event, which was supported by the Dorset Foundation and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, was chaired by The Rt. Hon. Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, the current President of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL), and included Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws QC and The Rt. Hon. Lady Arden of Heswall DBE as discussants. The recording of the event, which was held in a hybrid format on the 17th of May, is now available for all to watch.

In this newsletter, you will find more information about the activities that have been conducted by the Centre for International Law (CIL) of BIICL over the past couple of months. These activities are centred on applied research which is at the core of our work. In March, we were invited by the University of the West Indies St Augustine Faculty of Laws to participate in their seminar series focused on ‘Doing Applied Legal Research’. Dr Jean Pierre Gauci spoke at this event, outlining some of the opportunities and challenges for applied legal research, including in terms of process and impact, and discussed the Institute’s experience in the field.
 
Our activities are organised thematically below, highlighting the key legal issues addressed by the CIL team, including climate change, Covid-19, business & human rights, human rights & democracies, human trafficking & modern slavery, law of the sea, as well as the protection of cultural heritage and issues surrounding restitution. At the end, you will also find details of upcoming events for your calendars!
If you would like to jump to a particular section, please click on the links below:
Training Courses

Over the past months, the CIL has been engaged in various training courses including on business and human rights, artificial intelligence and climate change law.

In June we will be hosting a new intensive course entitled: Foundations of Public International Law (20-21 June), as well as our short course on the Law of the Sea (13-17 June). Registrations are still open for both of these courses. A further round of courses is planned for the autumn with courses including: climate change litigation, cross border dispute resolution, migration and refugee law,  and cultural heritage law amongst others. New courses are also being developed including on International Labour Law.

We remain open to suggestions for cooperation on further courses. For more information, please contact our Director of teaching and training, Dr Jean Pierre Gauci.
 
Below, you can read more about some of the key thematic activities of the CIL and the research conducted by our experts.
Business & Human Rights

On 13 April 2022, BIICL published its report entitled: 'Human Rights Responsibilities of multilateral enterprises and States in the Cuban tourism sector’. The report is the result of a project that focused on issues of labour exploitation in the Cuban tourism sector. The analysis relies on the relevant international and regional human rights treaties, ILO Conventions, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, as well as domestic legislation. It addresses: the State duty to protect the human rights of workers, the corporate responsibility to respect the human rights of workers and access to remedies for corporate-related human rights abuses. The report was authored by Dr Rosana Garciandia, Dr Jean Pierre Gauci, Lise Smit and Dr Irene Pietropaoli. A second phase of the project has just been agreed involving further efforts to disseminate and discuss the findings of the project with a wider audience.
 
On 11 May, Lise Smit spoke at the Oxford Bonavero Institute of Human Rights for the launch of the book ‘Civil Remedies and Human Rights in Flux: Key Legal Developments in Selected Jurisdictions’ (Hart Publishing, 2022). The book was edited by Ekaterina Aristova and Ugljesa Grusic as part of the Bonavero and Oak Foundation project on civil liability for human rights violations for which Lise is on the Advisory Board. Lise joined other speakers including Lady Arden, Humberto Cantu Rivera and the book’s editors for a panel chaired by the Director of the Bonavero Institute, Kate O'Regan.


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Climate Change

The CIL is close to finalising the project with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on a research and capacity-building project focusing on environmental and climate change litigation in EBRD countries of operation, which was introduced in the last CIL Newsletter. With the support of country consultants, the project builds on BIICL’s work on climate change litigation and identifies key trends in environmental and climate change litigation in Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, and Poland. The country consultants are experts in the field of environmental and climate change litigation in the respective countries, and include Kostantsa Rangelova and Maria Stoyanova from the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) on behalf of Bulgaria; Nurlan Kubenov and Artem Timoshenko from Unicase LLP on behalf of Kazakhstan; and Zuzanna Rudzińska-Bluszcz from ClientEarth on behalf of Poland. The project is being undertaken by Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci, Alina Holzhausen, and Dr Christine Bakker at BIICL.

On the same topic, Arthur Watts Senior Fellow Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci spoke at a webinar hosted by the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) about climate change dispute resolution including the role that the AIFC Court. In his contribution he focused on potential climate related claims likely to come to commercial dispute resolution, and the specific features and needs of such cases from a procedural and substantive perspective.

The recordings of the conference which had been organised with Hasselt University on Climate Change Litigation in Europe: Comparative & Sectoral Perspectives and the Way Forward are now available to watch here (1st day) and here (2nd day). This event focused on specific topics linked to climate change litigation including human rights, state responsibility, international trade & investment protection, procedural rights, and corporate responsibility.

In April, Dr Ivano Alogna, Arthur Watts Research Fellow in Environmental and Climate Change Law, contributed, with Dr George Barker, Visiting Fellow at BIICL and Director of the Centre for Law and Economics at the Australian National University, to a report on ‘Environmental Financial Assurance’ for the Government of British Columbia, composed of in-depth studies and cross-jurisdictional review on Western Australia, Wyoming and Peru in the mining sector. Dr Alogna also presented the results of its recently defended PhD research (Sorbonne Law School, University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) on ‘The Circulation of Legal Models in the Environmental Field. Towards a Global Environmental Law’ before the ‘Environmental Law and Policy’ Commission – French Committee of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

In May, Dr Alogna gave a lecture on ‘The Global Climate Governance and Climate Litigation in the Light of COP26’ at the ESPI in Lyon. Furthermore, he also spoke and chaired panels in various events, such as the Workshop on ‘Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Abuses and Natural Resources Governance: A Study in Global Law, Development and Justice’, organized by the Cardiff School of Law and Politics, or the PhD Workshop on ‘Responding to Complex Relationships in International Law’ organised by the Society of Legal Scholars.

Finally, Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci and Dr Constantinos Yiallourides are honoured to join the founding editorial board of the newly established ‘Environmental Rights Review’. The review is an open-access journal, seeking to provide opportunities for scholars and practitioners to write and engage with cutting-edge research on the urgent topic of environmental rights, where interdisciplinary approaches address practical applications, and where ideas can be presented discursively with opportunities for responses and evolution. It is hosted by the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment. More information is available here.
 
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Covid-19 Response

Dr Julinda Beqiraj, Maurice Wohl Senior Fellow in European Law, has co-authored, with Joelle Grogan, the chapter “The Rule of Law as the Perimeter of Legitimacy for COVID-19 Responses” in the Routledge Handbook of Law and the COVID-19 Pandemic, edited by Joelle Grogan and Alice Donald.

The volume takes stock after the onset of global emergency and offers key insights into how states and multilateral institutions should reform, adapt and prepare for future emergencies.

With 12 thematic commentaries and 25 country-focussed chapters representing the combined effort of more than 50 contributors worldwide, the volume provides unique and essential analysis on the best, and most concerning, practices adopted in response to COVID-19. The volume presents analysis across the themes of governance and democracy; human rights; the rule of law; science, public trust and decision making; and states of emergency and exception.


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Cultural Heritage

In April and May 2022, Dr Elke Selter travelled to Nepal to collect fieldwork data for the “Beyond Restitution” project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Nepal’s cultural heritage has been confronted with massive looting in the 1970s and 1980s and only today, some of these objects, which are locally considered as living Gods, are making their way back to their communities of origin.

The specific aim of the fieldwork was to look at a statue of the God Shiva and his consort Parvati (Uma-Maheshwor) that was returned to Nepal by Germany in 2000. Since its return, the statue has been housed in the Patan Museum, near Kathmandu. Yet, it was originally from a village called Dhulikhel, outside of the Kathmandu Valley. Today, there is an intent by the museum and the authorities to bring the statue back to this community.

BIICL’s fieldwork allowed to follow closely the initial stages of this process. For instance, Elke travelled with the Director of the Patan Museum to Dhulikhel to follow the initial discussions with the community there and to assess the situation on the ground where the statue would be returned to, including the possibilities for securing it. The project will further follow up on this case in the coming months, as the statue is likely to make its way home.
 
New Project: The Role of Cultural Heritage in Strengthening Climate Resilience 
One of the world’s most vulnerable nations to climate change, Vanuatu is seeking to obtain an ICJ advisory opinion on the rights of present and future generations to be protected from climate change, hoping to secure enough votes at this year's UN General Assembly to secure a referral to the ICJ. Just as the international campaign backing Vanuatu's initiative is gaining strength, and policy and lawmakers in the Pacific are focused on advancing climate action, Kristin Hausler and Dr Berenika Drazewska have embarked on a relevant project jointly with the Institute of Small and Micro States (ISMS) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).

Given that intangible cultural heritage law has an impact on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and strengthens the resilience of communities, the project undertakes a multi-level analysis of the frameworks relevant to its protection in selected Pacific Island States. Applying a human rights lens, it will look at cultural heritage law, climate change and environmental law, disaster response and displacement to map out and examine the adequacy of those frameworks. Currently in its initial stage, the research will also include stakeholder interviews.

Cultural Heritage and the War in Ukraine
Kristin Hausler and Dr Berenika Drazewska published a blog specifically analysing whether cultural heritage may be the object of attacks during an armed conflict: How does international law protect Ukrainian cultural heritage in war? Is it protected differently than other civilian objects?

Dr Berenika Drazewska also wrote on military necessity and the link between the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflicts and sustainable peace: Destruction of Ukrainian cultural heritage vis-a-vis military necessity and lasting peace.

In May, Kristin Hausler participated in a webinar organised by the Institute of Art & Law which focused on the legal protection of cultural heritage in Ukraine. In her presentation, she focussed on the possible criminal prosecutions for crimes against cultural heritage. Proceeds from this events were donated to the British Red Cross – Ukraine Crisis Appeal.
 
Kristin Hausler also participated in the 22nd Congress of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War, which was held in Florence. Her presentation focused on the integration of cultural heritage in peace operations. The Congress gathered over 180 participants, including many international humanitarian law experts and members of armed forces.
 
Finally, Kristin Hausler and Dr Berenika Drazewska also responded to the call for input of the UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights, in preparation for her upcoming Report on sustainable development.


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Human Rights

New Project: Inter-state communications before UN human rights treaty bodies: awakening and potential
The CIL is delighted to be cooperating with the Centre for International Governance and Dispute Resolution (CIGAD) at King’s College London on a pilot project that aims to analyse how inter-state communication procedures before human rights treaty bodies have been designed, (under)used and perceived by international actors over time, with a focus on their aims: are they a mechanism for the protection of human rights, for dispute resolution, for State responsibility or do they fall into a hybrid category? The purpose of this research is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the aims of those procedures and of their evolution and potential. The project is led by Dr Rosana Garciandia, Lecturer in Public International Law at The Dickson Poon School of Law and Associate Director of the CIGAD, in collaboration with Dr Jean Pierre Gauci. It builds on an event hosted at BIICL in October 2021, a report of which is available here. The project is supported by The Dickson Poon School of Law Seed Funding Scheme.

New Project: The state of local and regional democracy – a youth perspective
A report commissioned by the EU Committee of the Regions will look into the factors affecting young people's decisions on whether or not to participate in democratic processes. The study will explore how young EU citizens view the state of democracy at local and regional level and engage in it, and which specific tools could further encourage their participation. Research will also assess new and innovative practices supporting youth participation and identify challenges hindering active and meaningful participation. The Project team is composed of Dr Julinda Beqiraj, Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci and Anthony Wenton.


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Law of the Sea

Arthur Watts Research Fellow in Law of the Sea, Dr Constantinos Yiallourides, gave an in-person seminar at the Tohoku University, Graduate School of Law in Sendai, Japan. The seminar focused on the rights and obligations of States in undelimited maritime areas, drawing on BIICL’s earlier work on the topic. He also gave an invited online seminar at the University of Lincoln, Centre for Ecological Justice (LinCEJ), examining existing rules and principles of international environmental law and the law of the sea governing the protection of rare and fragile marine ecosystems and how these are applied to the conduct of States operating in disputed maritime areas.

Last month, Dr Yiallourides participated in a webinar panel titled Title to Oil and Gas in Disputed Maritime Areas as part of the prestigious Volterra Fietta seminar series on public international law. Dr Yiallourides’ presentation focused on possible institutional designs of inter-state cooperation over seabed activities and recommendations for the prospect of realising joint development regimes in disputed maritime areas. 
 
Note that BIICL’s highly successful Law of the Sea short course starts on 13 June 2022. Bringing together a distinguished cohort of law of the sea experts from academia and practice, the course provides participants with a solid working knowledge of the relevant legal and regulatory framework for the governance of the world's oceans, the main sources of the law of the sea, including treaties, customary law and judicial practice and how these elements are put to the test in different contexts, from protecting the marine environment and managing vulnerable species, to regulating deep-sea activities and, crucially, to peacefully resolving disputes between States. 

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Migration, Anti-trafficking and Labour Rights

The findings of the Determinants of Anti-Trafficking Efforts project were presented and discussed at a launch event on Thursday 26th May. The results, which reflect on the complex web of factors that influence States’ anti-trafficking efforts, were presented at a webinar by Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci and Dr Noemi Magugliani in discussion with Prof Siobhan Mullaly, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, Martina Vandenberg of the Human Trafficking Legal Centre and Marika McAdam, an Independent Anti-Trafficking Consultant. The findings were extremely well received and described as ambitious, novel and hugely important.  A recording of the event is available here. The outputs of the project will be published on the BIICL website in the next month. The project included desk research, a global survey and 14 case studies. In addition to Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci and Dr Noemi Magubliani, the project team also included Victoria Wyndham and Iris Anastasiadou.  
 
New Project: Impact of lack of access to legal advice for survivors of modern slavery
We are also delighted to announce the launch of a new project which started in early May addressing the impact of lack of access to legal advice for survivors of modern slavery. The research team, which is composed of Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci, Dr Noemi Magugliani and John Trajer at BIICL and Lauren Saunders at UNSEEN UK (BIICL’s partner on this project), will map relevant obligations and standards to the delivery of available, accessible, and quality legal assistance to people with lived experiences of modern slavery, as well as law firms, law centres, NGOs and others that are providing or facilitating access to legal advice for people with lived experiences of modern slavery. It will also assess the impact on the recovery and wellbeing for people with lived experiences of modern slavery and identify promising practices promoting access to legal advice for people with lived experiences of modern slavery. Data will be collected through desk research, surveys, interviews and focus groups with stakeholders and people with lived experience of modern slavery. This project was funded through an open call, under the Policy and Evidence Centre on Modern Slavery and Human Rights' Responsive Research mechanism.

On 19 April, the CIL hosted a webinar entitled: Displacement in and From Ukraine: Risks, Responses and Legal Dimensions. This event sought to unpack and critically engage with some of the key concerns that have emerged in the context of displacement, with legal questions that have arisen regarding international and other forms of protection, and with the way in which displacement is addressed across different areas of international law. Speakers included, amongst others, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons; Dr Anton Korynevych, Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea; Dr Yulia Ioffe, University College London, Dr Maja Lysienia, AIDA National Expert (Poland), Dr Meltem Ineli-Ciger, Suleyman Demirel University and BIICL’s Dr Noemi Magugliani,. It was chaired by Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci. The recording of the event is available here.

Arthur Watts Senior Fellow, Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci also spoke about the displacement situation in Ukraine during a guest lecture at Connecticut College entitled: Ukraine Refugees in Context: EU Law and Politics. In the conversation with Prof Karolin Machtans, he spoke about the way in which the displacement of Ukrainians has been received in the EU, some of the critical concerns that remain (including with regard to safeguarding vulnerable persons and discrimination at the borders), and how the response has been different from that to other displaced persons arriving in Europe. He outlined the legal framework around the temporary protection directive which was activated for the first time by the EU to deal with the arrival of displaced persons from Ukraine. Dr Gauci also gave a number of other presentations over the past months including a guest lecture at Royal Holloway University of London, focusing on human trafficking law and policy and at the Centre for Access to Justice at Anglia Ruskin University presenting about determinants of anti-trafficking efforts.

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The CIL is delighted to welcome John Trajer who joined BIICL as Research Fellow in Anti-Trafficking Law and Policy working with Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci and Dr Noemi Magugliani on the Legal Advice for Survivors of Modern Slavery project. John holds a BA from the University of Oxford, a joint MA from the universities of Göttingen and Groningen, and an LLM from the European University Institute. He has also acquired professional experience in the field of anti-trafficking and refugee law at various NGOs and international organisations, including the AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe), the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, and the Council of Europe. Alongside his work at BIICL, John is in the process of finalising his PHD at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.

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The Climate Case against Total in France: Lessons Learned and Future Prospect
29 June 2022

Dr Mathilde Hautereau-Boutonnet, Visiting Fellow at BIICL and Professor of Law at Aix-Marseille University, and Dr Ivano Alogna will convene this online workshop, with outstanding speakers discussing comparative perspectives from the Netherlands (Milieudefensie v. Shell) and other legal systems on climate litigation involving business.

 
Global Governance at a Crossroads: In Search for Solutions to Challenges Facing the Multilateral Trade System
29 June 2022

The 12th session of the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) will take place on 12-15 June 2022 at WTO headquarters in Geneva. Right after the conclusion of MC12, this BIICL event will bring together experts at the WTO and in academia to discuss the results of the Conference and the challenges facing the multilateral trade system. 
22nd BIICL Annual WTO Conference 
Climate Change: Border Carbon Approaches and the WTO

15 July 2022

This year’s event will address and discuss issues such as: Why is Carbon Border Approach being considered by an increasing number of countries? What are the factors to be accounted for to design a legitimate CBA in terms of both international trade and climate law? How can we utilize CBA as a means of pursuing legitimate interest?
What Next for the International Law Commission?
27 September 2022

Last November, 18 new members were elected to the International Law Commission (ILC), a body of 34 experts responsible for helping develop and codify international law. The new members elect include: Professor Dapo Akande, Professor Phoebe Okowa and Dr Martins Paparinskis. This event will be an opportunity to hear their views on the future work of the Commission. 
If you would like to know more about our activities or ways to support our work, please do get in touch with Kristin Hausler, Dorset Senior Fellow and Director of the Centre for International Law. 
Stay tuned for our next newsletter, which will be out in October!
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