International symposium on Precursors to International Constitutionalism: The Development of the German Constitutional Approach to International Law

The Goettingen Journal of International Law (GoJIL) in cooperation with the Institute of International and European Law, Georg-August-Universitt Goettingen, and the Minerva Center for Human Rights, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is pleased to announce its international symposium on Precursors to International Constitutionalism: The Development of the German Constitutional Approach to International Law
March 9-10 2012, Paulinerkirche, Goettingen, Germany

International constitutionalism is in the focus of contemporary international legal debate and practice, as evidenced by the recent Kadi-Jurisprudence of the European Courts and the burgeoning literature that employs constitutional as well as fragmentation terms with respect to modern international law — dealing with the pluralistic structure of modern international law, post-national law and constitutional pluralism. This seemingly new discourse is all-pervasive, with implications in international politics, law, trade and human rights.

However, this project maintains that this is not an entirely new discourse. Its precursors can be found in what could be considered to be a "German" constitutional approach towards International Public Law (Volkerrecht) that has been characterized by a strong constitutional understanding for centuries. While the roots of the discussion can be traced back to the Eighteenth Century, this has especially been the case in the Twentieth Century, as discernable in German and Austrian teachings, from the scholarship of Albert Verdross (with his 1926 ‘Verfassung der Volkerrechtsgemeinschaft’) to Bardo Fassbender’s contemporary analysis of the UN Charter as an international constitution.

The cooperation between the Minerva Center for Human Rights, Hebrew University Jerusalem, the Institute of International and European Law, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen and the Goettingen Journal of International Law (GoJIL) investigates the historical development and gradual crystallization of a "German" constitutional approach in both theoretical and practical aspects. The project also fosters the current debate on modern international law with regard to constitutionalization and fragmentation trends. European constitutional thinking with respect to international law will play a role as well as current ideas of international constitutionalization in international organizations and tribunals, mainly the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Justice and the WTO.
Provisional Timetable
March 9 2012, 14:00
Panel 1: Origins: The development of national and international federalism
Panel 2: The Historical and Philosophical Background of International Constitutionalism II: Neo-Kantian Universalism and International Law
March 10 2012, 9:00
Panel 3: Judicial Constitutionalism and its Limits
Panel 4: A fragmented Constitutionalism or a Pluralistic Postnational Order?
Conclusion and closing remarks

Interested scholars and students are invited to attend the conference in the audience and to contribute to the discussions following the presentation of the papers.

Registration fee: 15,00 euros (scholars) / 10,00 euros (students)

(including conference-materials, coffee and snacks during the conference)
Deadline: February 20, 2012

To register for the conference, please send an email to Please indicate if you would like to join at your own charge for dinner and/or lunch. Note that there is only a limited number of seats!

Further information is available on

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