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The World Health Organization's (WHO) Constitution affirms, in its preamble, a fundamental and non-discriminatory right to health and health care. In doing so, it echoes a number of widely ratified treaties and other international legal instruments with a strong claim to having the status of customary international law, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the ILO Convention on Indigenous and Tribal peoples in Independent Countries, and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Most recently, the Institut de Droit affirmed that same fundamental right in Article 4 of its September 2021 Resolution on Epidemics, Pandemics, and International Law.
International lawyers study international law primarily through its written texts—treaties, official documents, judgments, and scholarly works. Critical to being an international lawyer, it seems, is access to the written word, whether in hard copy or online. Indeed, as Jesse Hohmann observes, “the production of text can come to feel like the very purpose of international law.”
I express my sincere thanks to the American Society of International Law and the International Legal Studies Program at American University Washington College of Law for the invitation to be this year's commentator. It is indeed an honor to respond to Judge Charlesworth's erudite Grotius Lecture: “The Art of International Law.”
Where's the Community? Contours, Place, and the Role of Communities in International Law and Participatory Governance
In my contribution today, I will focus on the role of the philanthropic community in promoting international law. For at least a century, philanthropists, mainly from the Global North, have been engaged in the discussions of the development of international law and its principles and sometimes, they even shaped these discussions. Yet, the contributions by the philanthropic community very often stay in the shadows, especially among international lawyers. Private foundations have been increasingly influential and very often if not for their support, we might not have seen the flourishing of some international institutions or international legal concepts. Here are a few examples.
The Climate Change Gap: Inequalities, Narratives, and International Law
The Sundarbans is commonly known as the delta area which lies between West Bengal in India and Bangladesh, and it is not only famous for the deltas, which are there, but also for the largest mangrove forest in the world. Indeed, the word “Sundarbans” comes from the Sundar tree for conservation. It is a very interesting area in terms of biodiversity but also a very important carbon sink. I found out the other day that mangroves are, for instance, a much better sink than even rainforests.
Thanks, Dan. First, I want to start by thanking the organizers and all of you for being here and being interested in this subject. Before I start, I must say that I wear two hats in this case. I was one of the plaintiffs in the case, but I was also one of the lawyers who worked on structuring the case. I will be going back and forth with these two roles.
Hi, Dan. Hi, Gabriela. I also wanted to thank the organizers for facilitating a hybrid format so I could be here with you today. I think in terms of that question, Dan, you and I have both been at negotiations where the plenary starts with all the countries there and a minute of silence for some victims of some typhoon in one of the countries that is there, or victims of a hurricane of a country that is there, and then the minute of silence ends. Then we swiftly move on to the business of negotiating. I think that it is not as much of a motivational factor in the outcomes of the negotiations. I think it does motivate some of the countries that are there, and of course, they are the more vulnerable countries, and they are the ones that have less influence in terms of crafting the outcomes of the negotiations.
ASIL Hudson Medal Conversation “Songs My Mother Taught Me: A Very Personal Account” A Conversation with Lori Fisler Damrosch
The Hudson Medal is given for “outstanding contributions to scholarship and achievement in international law.” For many of us, Lori is the personification of the American Society of International Law. The essential elements of her biography are deceptively simple. She grew up in California, entered Yale College in the fall of 1970, in only the second year of coeducation there, where she majored in Russian and East European studies—streaking through the place in only three years and graduating summa cum laude. She received her JD three years later from Yale Law School and stayed in New Haven to clerk for Judge Jon O. Newman. She served as an attorney-adviser in the U.S. Department of State from September of 1977 through January of 1981 and then worked at Sullivan & Cromwell through 1984. She has been at Columbia Law School ever since.
First, I am deeply appreciative of this honor, especially in the presence of so many who encouraged me along the way. I would like to acknowledge previous Hudson honorees who are present, including Charlie Brower, Edie Brown Weiss, and Bernie Oxman. Thanks to Catherine, Patrick, and the Allen & Overy law firm for sponsoring this event.
Territory, Tribe, and Trade: The Symbiotic Relations between State and Individuals in State-State Dispute Settlement
Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, and welcome to our panel: Territory, Tribe, and Trade: The Symbiotic Relations Between the State and Individuals in State-State Dispute Settlement. I am really glad to have the opportunity to reflect on such an interesting topic and discuss it with these excellent experts and look forward to contributing substantively to this important discussion.
Our panel is looking at the complex interactions between individuals and the processes for creating and applying international law. How do individual actions lead to state-state disputes? How do the rules and procedures for resolving these disputes impact affected people? As the panel notes says, the idea is to address a vital question: “what about me?”
This brief contribution contains some reflections on the relevance of the “what about me?” question in proceedings on compensation and maritime delimitation. The focus is on disputes at the International Court of Justice (ICJ or Court). My argument is that, as things currently stand at the ICJ, the Court is ill-equipped to address the “what about me?” question and that, as a result, ICJ proceedings remain very much state-centric. This view likely is not surprising because the Court was conceived, since its origins in the 1920s, as an interstate judicial organ. Other dispute settlement institutions have developed since then to bring dispute settlement closer to individuals, such as regional human rights courts and arbitral tribunals in the investor-state context. However, this situation does not mean that the ICJ should not take into account individuals in deciding disputes submitted to its jurisdiction. What this situation does mean is that one would need to rethink some procedural aspects of ICJ dispute settlement, which I will discuss in relation to compensation, and parts of the ICJ's jurisprudence, which I will discuss in relation to maritime delimitation.
Safeguarding Freedom of the Press: The Role of International Law
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the “Safeguarding Freedom of the Press: The Role of International Law.” Welcome to you all in the room. Welcome also to those joining us virtually from all around the world.
I would be happy to, and thanks, Can. You sketched out the beginnings of what I like to call a “multi-stakeholder thematic coalition” focused on media freedom. It was established three years ago almost, in July of 2019, at the initiative of Canada and the United Kingdom and announced its creation in London at the first Global Conference for Media Freedom.
Thank you very much, Can. I think it is a very good question that you had and an important issue that you raise. Coming from Pakistan, I have a lot to say on this subject because, obviously, as a human rights defender and a human rights lawyer, I have to deal with individual cases as well as the whole broader concept of safety for journalists in a country that is now declared as one of the most dangerous for journalists and for media to have freedom.
Thank you so much. Just to drive home how practical this work is, twice in the last twenty-four hours, I have been involved in moving journalists out of two separate countries because of risk. Neither of those countries were Russia or Ukraine, which has been occupying my attention. This is a real-world problem.
Yes, certainly, and thank you for the opportunity. The major development that the Panel was involved in by invitation from the Inter-American Court was to submit an expert amicus brief in the El Universal case, which was winding its way through the Inter-American Court system, and just before Christmas last year, the Inter-American Court ruled. This was a case that involved the heart of political speech. It was criticism in the form of an opinion by a journalist working for El Universal, of the then president of Ecuador. So it really was the locus classicus of political speech in a democracy.