About Otto Spijkers

Otto Spijkers is Assistant Professor of Public International Law at Utrecht University. He is a member of the Committee on the Role of International Law in Sustainable Natural Resource Management for Development of the International Law Association, and guest lecturer for Amnesty International The Hague. He was a visiting professor at Leiden University, Xiamen University (China), University of Salerno (Italy) and the Université catholique d'Afrique Central (Yaounde, Cameroon). Previously, he was a PhD candidate and lecturer at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at the University of Leiden. His doctoral dissertation, entitled The United Nations, the Evolution of Global Values and International Law, was published with Intersentia in 2011. He worked as public services coordinator at the Peace Palace Library, as international consultant and coordinator for the United Nations International Law Fellowship Programme, as intern for the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and as intern for the Office of Legal Affairs of United Nations Headquarters. Otto Spijkers is editor and author of the Invisible College Blog, the blog of the School of Human Rights Research. Otto Spijkers studied the basics of international relations at the University of Sussex. He then studied international law at the University of Amsterdam, New York University School of Law (exchange student), and the Hague Academy of International Law (2009 session). He studied philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Malta (exchange). He obtained a Diplôme approfondi de langue française.

Master in Democratic Governance – Democracy and Human Rights in the MENA Region

Admissions to the second edition of the Master in Democratic Governance – Democracy and Human Rights in the MENA Region (DE.MA) are still open until the 16th November 2015. DE.MA was created thanks to the support of the European Union and of the Danish Institute for Human Rights. It is based on a partnership between EIUC and the following universities: International University of Rabat (Rabat, Morocco), Birzeit University (Birzeit, Palestine), St Joseph University (Beirut, Lebanon), Ca’ Foscari University (Venice, Italy) and a growing network of partner Universities in the Region.

DE.MA is a multidisciplinary curriculum offering courses in law, political science, sociology and other fields relevant to the study of democratic governance and Human Rights. Open to professionals and graduates, it will combine a theoretical and practical approach and it will deliver a professional Master’s degree (60 ECTS) from Ca’ Foscari University, Venice. The main language will be English, knowledge of French and Arabic is recommended.

The first semester from January to April 2016 is held at the EIUC premises in Venice and the second one from April to July 2016 takes place in one of the partner universities in the Master’s Consortium.

DE.MA aims at:

  • Creating high-profile experts in the fields of democratic governance and the protection of human rights, allowing them to act as promoters of a process leading to the affirmation of the democratic principles;
  • Fostering the creation of an élite group of people committed to the promotion of democratic institutions;
  • Building a network of experts to be active in political institutions, in national and international, governmental and non-governmental organisations in the Region.

Tuition fees amount to 3.750 euro. EIUC offers financial support in the form of a partial contribution towards living expenses and/or a full or partial tuition waiver. This type of financial support is awarded to a limited number of students on the basis of academic achievement, need and geographical distribution.

More information on the DE.MA, the professors and the programme can be found here: http://eiuc.org/dema

Movies that Matter On Tour Vertoning van “We come as friends”, gevolgd door nagesprek met Egbert Wesselink

De Movies that Matter On Tour vertoning van “We come as friends” luidt het begin van het Movies that Matter on tour programma in en na afloop van de film vindt er een nagesprek plaats met Egbert Wesselink.

Over de documentaire: Terwijl het kersverse land zich langzaam maar zeker in een oorlog begeeft, zoekt een stoet buitenlandse investeerders naar mogelijkheden om het grondgebied te exploiteren, onder het mom van het brengen van beschaving. De filmmaker bezoekt onder meer een Chinees oliebedrijf, dat door boringen de waterbron vervuilt. In een ander dorpje hebben Texaanse missionarissen zich ontfermd over de inwoners, die worden overgehaald om toch eens kleren te gaan dragen. De eerlijke verhalen van Soedanezen op microniveau, en ontmoetingen met VN-medewerkers en andere ‘weldoeners’ geven een onthutsend beeld van het moderne kolonialisme en de impact daarvan.

Over de spreker: Egbert Wesselink werkt met grote ondernemingen om de rechten en belangen van kwetsbare bevolkingen te verdedigen. Hij richt zich vooral op het veiligheidsbeleid van bedrijven en regeringen en het aanscherpen van internationale regels, zoals de Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. Bedrijven die zeggen maatschappelijk verantwoord te ondernemen, moeten hun beloften nakomen. Werkgebieden zijn (Zuid-) Soedan, DR Congo, en Colombia.

English: As war-ravaged South Sudan claims independence from North Sudan and its brutal President, Omar al-Bashir, a tiny, homemade prop plane wings in from France. It is piloted by eagle-eyed documentarian Hubert Sauper, who is mining for stories in a land trapped in the past but careening toward an apocalyptic future.

ICTY Open Day in The Hague on 20 September

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is hosting its Annual International Open Day on Sunday, 20 September, at the ICTY Main Building in The Hague as part of The Hague International Day. At the Open Day, there will be opportunities to interact with ICTY Judges and other key staff members, view documentaries produced by the ICTY Outreach Programme, learn about the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) and explore exhibitions and material from the ICTY Archives.

Speakers (with Q&A sessions) for the day include:

  • Judge Carmel Agius, ICTY Vice-President
  • Judge Christoph Flügge
  • Judge Alphons Orie
  • Michelle Jarvis, Principal Legal Counsel (Deputy to the Prosecutor and Head of Appeals)
  • Bob Reid, OTP Chief of Operations
  • Martine Durocher, Chambers Legal Officer

 Events will be held throughout the day from 11:00 – 17:00.

For more information or to register, please visit https://www.evite-sendmail.nl/gem_dh/opend15/web/opend15_aanmelden_zndr_uit_en.php .

Call for papers Socio-Legal Review

The Socio-Legal Review, a student-edited, peer-reviewed journal which is published by the Law and Society Committee, National Law School of India University, Bangalore, is going into its twelfth year of publication.

The Socio-Legal Review is currently inviting submissions for its twelfth volume to be published in 2016 and since it is now a biannual publication, it will be published in two issues this year. The deadline for sending in submissions is November 1st, 2015.

The necessary details about the journal and how to get published can be found here (PDF-file).

Utrecht Journal of International and European Law has issued a Call for Papers on ‘Intellectual Property in International and European Law’

The Utrecht Journal of International and European Law is issuing a Call for Papers for its upcoming Special Issue on ‘Intellectual Property in International and European Law’. With technological advancement and innovative practices occurring ever more frequently, individuals and undertakings often turn to intellectual property law to protect their ideas and seek remedies where appropriate (e.g. the recent Apple v Samsung design dispute).

Recent developments in intellectual property are now a regular feature in popular media and a much-discussed topic amongst the general public. As such, the Utrecht Journal will be dedicating its 2016 Special Issue to ‘Intellectual Property in International and European Law’.

The Board of Editors invites submissions addressing legal issues relating to intellectual property law from an international or European law perspective. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • the influence of patenting on the competitive process;
  • the use of IP holding companies to take advantage of favourable tax regimes;
  • patent-trolls;
  • copyright infringements;
  • trademark protection;
  • the ethics of IP (e.g. GMOs), etc.

All types of manuscripts, from socio-legal to legaltechnical to comparative will be considered. However, please note that any analysis solely limited to a national legal system will fall outside the scope of the Journal. An international or European legal dimension is imperative.

The Board of Editors will select articles based on quality of research and writing, diversity and relevance of topic. The novelty of the academic contribution is also an essential requirement.

Prospective articles should be submitted online via the Journal’s website
(www.utrechtjournal.org/about/submissions) and should conform to the Journal style guide.

Utrecht Journal has a word limit of 15,000 words including footnotes.

For further information please consult our website or email the Editor-in-Chief at utrechtjournal@urios.org.


Utrecht Journal is the student-led, peer-reviewed biannual law journal of Urios, the Utrecht Association for International and European Law. The Journal was founded in 1981 as Merkourios. In the years since, the Journal has expanded its readership and is now distributed all over the world through databases such as HeinOnline and the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Conference on Urgency and Human Rights, 29 & 30 May 2015 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Dear readers,

A Conference on Urgency and Human Rights will take place 29 & 30 May 2015 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. This is the announcement:

Could the tool of interim measures be used to order states to halt cooperation with drone attack operations, protect persons against death threats, or ensure access to basic facilities for undocumented persons? In Europe the tool of interim measures is mostly used to halt expulsion and extradition. How to enhance the legitimacy and effectiveness of these measures? How to assess issues such as implementation of interim measures and political pressure to limit their use? And what if urgent litigation is not a feasible option? The conference on Urgency and Human Rights, taking place on the 29th and the 30th of May 2015, will deal with these and other pressing questions.

Among others, the conference will feature Dinah Shelton (the expert on remedies in international law and on regional human right protection), Sacha Prechal (EU judge), Philip Leach (director of EHRAC), Cees Flinterman (former member UN Human Rights Committee and CEDAW), Theo van Boven (former UN Rapporteur against Torture and Rapporteur on the Principles and Guidelines on the Right to Remedy and Reparation).

There will be debates with representatives of important civil society organisations such as the International Commission of Jurists, Redress, Open Society Justice Initiative (the lawyer in the extraordinary rendition case Al-Nashiri v. Poland before the European Court of Human Rights) and European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC); Brian Griffey of the OSCE and Professor Philip Leach of EHRAC will discuss urgent cases in the Ukraine.

The roundtables which are organized during the conference will discuss:

(1) New and traditional urgent situations warranting the use of provisional measures?

(2) Urgent complaints in contexts of armed conflict and counter-terrorism measures

(3) Urgent cases and challenges to the individual complaint systems

Conference fee: only €20 euro a day. For more information and registration see: Conference Urgency and Human Rights

Thessaloniki Summer Course on International Energy Law

The Kalliopi Koufa Foundation on the Promotion of International Law and Human Rights organizes the inaugural session of the Thessaloniki Summer Courses on International Law and Human Rights from 1 to 10 July 2015 in Thessaloniki, Greece, on the topic of “International Aspects and Issues of Energy Law”. The programme is open to advanced law students, researchers and practitioners.

The Faculty of this 10-day intensive course on international energy law is the following: Catherine Redgwell (Oxford), August Reinisch (Vienna), Andreas Ziegler (Lausanne), Andrea Bjorklund (McGill), Anastasia Strati (Brussels and MFA, Greece), Danae Azaria (University College London).

Seminars will be given by Emmanuel Karagiannis (King’s College), Angelos Syrigos (Panteion University, Athens) and Alexandra Sdoukou (Ministry of Reconstruction of Production, Greece).

The inaugural speech will be given by Professor emeritus Christos Rozakis (President of the Administrative Tribunal of the CoE).

The registration deadline has been extended until 15 May 2015.

For more information including applicable fees and the provisional programme, visit the webpage of the Foundation.

Utrecht University Summer School on Human Rights

From the summer of 2015, Utrecht University will begin offering three summer school options:

International Human Rights Law: An Introduction (one week course)

International Law from a Gender Perspective (one week course)

Specialty Track: Human Rights and Gender (two week combined course)

Please click on the links above to find out more and to register!

Many thanks,