New Peace Palace Library Website, interviews with Professors Yves Daudet and Rosalyn Higgins

The Peace Palace Library has a wonderful new website. I highly recommend that you have a look at it. It can be found at the old address:, or if you are in a hurry:

It has various brand new features, including a series of interviews. The first is an interview with Prof. Rosalyn Higgins. It is about her time as President of the International Court of Justice, the relationship between the Peace Palace Library and the Court, and the difference between men and women.

The second interview is with Prof. Yves Daudet, Emeritus Professor of the University Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne) and Secretary General of The Hague Academy of International Law. The discussion is about the Hague Academy, its relationship with the Peace Palace Library, and one of the paradoxes of modern life.

Goettingen Journal of International Law

A new issue of the Goettingen Journal of International Law has just been published. It is available for free on the journal’s homepage:

In Vol. 3 No. 3 (2011) GoJIL pays tribute to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and dedicates a GoJIL Focus to its legacy. Furthermore, the issue contains two articles about current developments in international law and an article discussing the legal status of the Holy See.

The Göttingen Journal of International Law is highly recommended!

Eleven International Publishing and the Peace Palace Library bring you… Boomdoc!

Eleven International Publishing and The Peace Palace Library embarked on a unique pilot project which gives free access to all Eleven publications in BoomDoc Academic, the online publication platform of Boom Publishers The Hague and Eleven international Publishing. The pilot will last till 11-11-’11. 

Clients of the Peace Palace Library will enjoy full text access to all Eleven publications in Boomdoc Academic.

They will also be able to download all Eleven publications in PDF and/or order it as a paperback free of charge, as long as they access BoomDoc Academic at the Peace Palace Library. 

Paperbacks that have been ordered via BoomDoc can be picked up at the information desk of the Peace Palace Library within five days.  

Brand new issue of the Goettingen Journal of International Law

By Otto Spijkers

A brand new issue of the Goettingen Journal of International Law is now available on the website of the journal. In Volume 3, No. 2 (2011), the editors have compiled nine great articles about questions and current developments in general public law, international criminal law, refugee law and the law of international organizations. These include an article on the politics of deformalization in international law, by my former colleague Jean d’Aspremont; an article on the myth of ‘international crimes’ by Mayeul Hiéramente, and an article on genocide, the ‘Crime of Crimes’.

Launch of new Website on Shared Responsibility in International Law

By Dov Jacobs 


Since September, I have been involved in a new project at the University of Amsterdam which addresses issues of Shared Responsibility in International Law. The project has just launched its new website. Here is the annoucement:

The Research Project on Shared Responsibility in International Law (SHARES) is pleased to announce the official launch of the SHARES website: The website includes a detailed description of the SHARES project and its project members. The website also features news, events, publications, blog posts and resources on shared responsibility in international law.

 The ambition of the SHARES project is to examine an unexplored and largely unrecognized problem: the allocation of international responsibilities among multiple states and other actors. It seeks to uncover the nature and extent of the problem of sharing responsibility in an increasingly interdependent and heterogeneous international legal order. SHARES will therefore offer new concepts, principles and perspectives for understanding how the international legal order may deal with shared responsibilities. The project will address general issues of Responsibility in International law, of States, as well as other entities, such as International Organizations, individuals and other non-State actors, which will impact various fields of law, such as refugee law, environemental law, human rights law or the laws of armed conflict. 


The SHARES project is a research project of the Amsterdam Center for International Law, led by Professor André Nollkaemper, and funded by the European Research Council.

French Legislation on Arrests at Sea: Comments at ECHR News Blog

By Tobias Thienel

France has recently passed a law on arrests at sea, concerning in particular the arrest of suspected pirates by the French Navy. This legislative action was in response to the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Medvedyev and Others v France.


The European Court of Human Rights News (Coverage of the European Court of Human Rights with a focus on Belgium, France and Switzerland) blog now has a post on whether France has succeeded in complying with the Grand Chamber judgment. I am happy to say that they have asked our opinion on this matter, and that some comments by yours truly, on behalf of The Invisible College, are included in their post.

Some thoughts on expert blogging: a Response to Jean D’Aspremont

By Dov Jacobs

(partially cross-posted from Spreading the Jam)


Happy new year to everyone! To start the year on a light note, I’d like to put forward some comments on Jean D’Aspremont’s thoughful discussion of legal blogging over at EJIL Talk. Given Invisible College’s status as an "expert’s blog", I think it is interesting that we contribute to the debate and I look forward to reactions from our co-bloggers.


Jean has a generally positive assesment of this practice, and I share most of his conclusions. I propose here some additional food for thought as a counter-point to Jean’s argumentation.


For one, I find it difficult to make comments on legal blogging in general. Some of them have a purely informative ambitions (publications, call for papers, recent decisions…). Others tend to be more analytical. A blog is just a medium of communication that can be used for several purposes, and is not per se hazardous or not. In the same way, there is good quality and bad quality blogging out there and it is for the reader to decide on this. Arguably, given the volume of legal blogging (and I agree with Jean that keeping track is an extremely time-consuming activity), it is harder to sift the good from the bad, but the idea remains the same.


Which leads me to a second point. the analysis should invite a mirror analysis of traditional legal scholarship. Not to sound facetious (and probably proving Jean’s point that blogging may lead to comments that "the author of the post may subsequently regret"…), but we’ve all come accross journal articles and books, even in established and reknowned publications and from esteemed publishers, which have "hasty treatment of the information" and disseminate "half-baked ideas". What we do daily, is exercise judgment, based on our previous experience of a Journal or a specific author, to decide whether to give credit to a particular piece.


The same is true of the blogosphere, which is a far more organised (or at least not any less so than the traditional legal scholarship world) than Jean seems to suggest. There is a handful of established legal blogs out there and I don’t think it is that much harder for a jurist in the field to identify them, than to know what traditional journals have a certain reputation or not.


On the interaction between legal blogging and traditional legal scholarship, I do not share Jean’s invitation to keep them entirely separate, both in terms of content, and career advancement. It all depends on what your evaluation standards are. Of course, I wouldn’t expect a scholar’s capacity for thorough research  to be assessed by his blog. In the same way, I wouldn’t judge a person’s capacity to write a book on a few paragraphs online.

However, legal blog writing is a skill and can show a certain capacity to express ideas succinctly and clearly, which can certainly be useful in a academic career, in terms of drafting short notes or abstracts, on which will often depend initial participation in a project or conference.

Moreover, in terms of content, I must admit that I do not share Xavier’s humility over at the International Jurist, who says he’s not trying to compete with some of the expert blogs. I don’t see why a good idea expressed in a blog should be less worthy of attention than a good idea developed in a lenghty article. Again, I’ve seen terrible ideas being developed over the course of entire books, and novel ideas be succinctly put forward in short blog posts.


In any case, I think that one shouldn’t oppose legal blogging and traditional scholarship. The former never had the ambition to replace the latter. They are just different means of communication, and they follow similar recognition patterns, in terms of repuation and expertise, as I point out previously. They also have different purposes which are actually complementary. Indeed, a cursory review of the list of contributors of some of the major blogs, such as EJIL Talk, or IntLawGrrls, shows that most of them are regularly published in traditional academic publications.


The bottom line is that what is important, is the author, not the medium. A poor jurist will produce poor scholarship, whatever the means. As regards a good jurist, his capacity to convey his ideas adequately through blogs will depend on the structure of his thought process. Some people need (and want) to cover every aspect of a topic before starting to communicate, others function better in perpetual debate to construct their ideas. Ultimately, as Jean points out, Blogs are a healthy platform for expert’s debate. At the end of the day, the quality of the debate will depend on what we, as active contributors, do with it. Any debate on this issue should therefore focus, as Jean does at the end of his contribution, at the shooter, not the gun.

Seminar on Climate Change and Human Rights in Utrecht, Netherlands

Dear readers,

Please find below an announcement for a seminar on climate change and human rights, organized by the Workgroup on Sustainable Development and Human Rights of the Dutch Section of the International Commission of Jurists (of which I am a member). The seminar is in Dutch. Some excellent speakers are included in the programme, such as prof. Ruud Lubbers, Prof. Cees Flinterman, Sylvia Borren and Liesbeth van Tongeren.

For the entire programme and registration, see the website of the Dutch Section of the International Commission of Jurists.  

Hope to see you there!

All the best,





Symposium: Klimaatverandering en Mensenrechten

Een jaar na Kopenhagen, een maand na Cancún: de menselijke kant van klimaatverandering

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” – Artikel 1, Universele Verklaring van de Rechten van de Mens

We leven nu één jaar na de klimaattop in Kopenhagen en op de dag van het seminar ruim acht weken na die in Cancún. Kopenhagen had geen echte uitkomst. Althans, zonder de duidelijke afspraken over CO2 reductie waar velen op hoopten. De voorlopige uitkomsten van Cancún lijken meer hoop te bieden op een effectievere mondiale aanpak van klimaatverandering.

Grote groepen mensen moeten nu al dagelijks omgaan met de gevolgen en risico’s van klimaatverandering voor hun fundamentele rechten, zoals die op leven, water, voedsel, gezondheid en eigendom.
Waar staan de aarde en haar bevolking nu op het gebied van klimaatverandering? Welke mensenrechten staan precies ‘op de tocht’? Zouden mensenrechten een basis kunnen vormen voor landen of de internationale gemeenschap om op te treden tegen klimaatverandering? En, hoe kunnen we meer doen, ‘in a spirit of brotherhood’? Deze en andere vragen staan centraal tijdens het seminar ‘Klimaatverandering en Mensenrechten. Een jaar na Kopenhagen, een maand na Cancún: De Menselijke Kant van Klimaatverandering’.

Key-note speaker:

  • Prof. Ruud Lubbers – Minister van Staat
    ‘Klimaat, Mensen, Rechten en Vluchtelingen’

Het seminar wordt afgesloten met een panel debat o.l.v. Prof. Cees Flinterman (UU, UM en VN Comité inzake Economische, Sociale en Culturele Rechten), met o.a. Sylvia Borren (Worldconnectors) en Liesbeth van Tongeren (Tweede Kamerlid GroenLinks).

In de plenaire sessie worden de problematiek van klimaatverandering en de verhouding tussen klimaatverandering en mensenrechten uiteengezet door deskundigen. Daarop volgt in de workshops verdere verdieping in de verschillende aspecten van beide onderwerpen, worden de reeds bereikte resultaten op dit gebied in kaart gebracht en vervolgstappen overwogen.

Het seminar wordt georganiseerd door het Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten, ICCO en Stand Up For Your Rights.

Datum: 11 februari 2011

Tijd: 13.00 – 17.15 uur (12 – 13 uur inloop met koffie, thee en broodjes)

Locatie: Joseph Haydnlaan 2a (3533 AE) te Utrecht

Christmas and Peace Palace Library Blog

Dear readers,

In my country (Nederland), the Queen delivers a Christmas speech at the end of each year. I think that is a nice idea, so I also wrote such a ‘speech’ and published it on the blog of my new employer, the Peace Palace Library. The speech – it is not a lecture or a sermon or anything of that kind!! – is entitled Facebook and the individual in the global village. I highly recommend not so much this speech of mine, but the blog in general. It is definitely worth reading if you’re interested in international law. I also want to use this opportunity of writing to you to wish all the readers a merry Christmas and a happy 2011!