News & events 2019

Tom Ruys
Conference: 'What Room for Military Assistance on Request in the International Legal Order?'

On Thursday 5 and Friday 6 December 2019, the Journal on the Use of Force and International Law (JUFIL, Routledge) and the Ghent Rolin-Jaequemyns International Law Institute (GRILI) will host an international conference focusing on ‘military assistance on request’. Having regard to recent third-State interventions in Yemen, Syria and elsewhere, the conference seeks to explore the legal framework governing such interventions, including relevant uncertainties and shortcomings as well as proposals de lege ferenda.

The conference features a keynote address by Prof. Claus Kreß (University of Cologne), and separate expert panels will be devoted to the ‘authority’ to invite outside intervention on the one hand, and the permissibility of third-State intervention in situations of civil war on the other hand. Confirmed panelists include Prof. Inger Österdahl (Uppsala University), Prof. Eliav Lieblich (University of Tel Aviv), Prof. Gregory Fox (Wayne State University), Prof. Raphaël Van Steenberghe (Université catholique de Louvain-la-neuve), Prof. Karine Bannelier-Christakis (Université Grenoble-Alpes), Prof. Erika De Wet (University of Pretoria and University of Bonn), Prof. Alonso Gurmendi-Dunkelberg (Universidad del Pacifico), and Prof. Christian Henderson (University of Sussex).

You will find all information, including the full conference programme and registration link, here!

Tom Ruys
guest lecture by Steven Hill

On Wednesday 27 November 2019, Steven Hill (Legal Advisor and Director, Office of Legal Affairs at NATO) will give a guest lecture on NATO, his role as legal counsel and the relevance of international law in that context.  The lecture takes place in the framework of the course 'Inleiding tot het Europees and internationaal recht', and will take place from 16.00-17.30 in Auditorium 1, Ledeganck, Ghent. Persons that are not enrolled in the course are welcome to join, but are invited to signal their attendance beforehand to Ms. Kristien Ballegeer.

Mr Hill is Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s chief legal adviser and a member of his senior management team. He leads the multinational legal team in the Office of Legal Affairs, which provides legal counsel on issues on a wide range of issues, including the law of armed conflict, cyber law and the law of new technologies, privileges and immunities, status of forces, investigations, and the law of the international civil service. He also oversees litigation on behalf of NATO before the NATO Administrative Tribunal and in national courts.

Prior to joining NATO in February 2014, Mr Hill worked in New York as Counselor for Legal Affairs at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York. He represented the U.S. in Security Council and General Assembly negotiations on the rule of law, sanctions, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping, and the protection of civilians. He was also a member of the Management Committee for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the Principal Donors Group for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, and the U.S. observer delegation to the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court.


Luca Ferro
Conference on 'The well-being of the inhabitants of occupied territories: Limiting or gutting the duty of non-recognition?'

The Centre de droit international (ULB) and Ghent Rolin-Jaequemyns International Law Institute (GRILI), under the auspices of the Belgian Society of International Law, are hosting a conference on 'The well-being of the inhabitants of occupied territories: Limiting or gutting the duty of non-recognition' in Brussels on 14 and 15 November 2019. It will feature presentations by academics and practitioners alike. Here is the conference abstract:

When confronted with territorial situations resulting from the unlawful use of force or established in violation of peoples’ right to self-determination, States and international organizations are under the obligation not to recognize such situations as lawful. However, the precise scope of the duty and the exact obligations it entails for States are subject to continuous debate, which is of particular relevance in situations of long-term occupations and areas of contested statehood such as the Palestinian occupied territories, the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, the ‘Republic of Nagorno-Karabah’ and the ‘Moldovan Republic of Transnistria’. There, the exercise of legislative, executive and judicial powers has grown significantly over the years (if not decades), and produced acts the legal effects of which have on occasion been taken into consideration by States and international courts and tribunals. Such considerations do not necessarily defy the obligation of non-recognition. But how to strike such a balance in the context of protracted occupations? And to what extent can the duty of non-recognition be stretched for the purpose of guaranteeing the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories without stripping the duty of its raison d’être? These are the questions that the conference intends to tackle. 

The conference will consist of three panels (on non-recognition and the protection of individuals’ rights, the development of commercial/cultural activities) as well as a keynote speech (by Hans Corell, the Former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel of the United Nations) and roundtable devoted to the case of Western Sahara. Other well-known speakers include Ineta Ziemele (President of the Constitutional Court of Latvia, former Judge of the European Court of Human Rights) and Prof. Roger O'Keefe (Università Bocconi).

For more information, see the updated flyer here!

Luca Ferro
Guest lecture by Colonel Chris De Cock

On Thursday 31 October 2019, Colonel Chris De Cock (Legal Advisor at the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC)-Command Group of the European External Action Service) will give a guest lecture on the issue of 'targeting' in the framework of the course on the 'Law of Armed Conflict'.

The guest lecture will take place from 13.00-16.00 in room Paddenhoek 1.3, Paddenhoekstraat, Ghent. Persons that are not enrolled in the course on the 'Law of Armed Conflict' are welcome to join, but are invited to signal their attendance beforehand to Ms. Kristien Ballegeer.

An Cliquet
Guest lectures by Dr. Wybe Douma

Dr. Douma, a senior expert on European environmental law, will give two guest lectures:

Monday 28 October, 11:30 am (in room Paddenhoek 1.2.) on Free trade agreements and the environment

Thursday 31 October, 9 am (in Auditorium A) on the circular economy.

Tom Ruys
Lunch seminar: Trade Agreements and human rights - The case of the EU-Chile Association Agreement

GRILI and the UGent Human Rights Centre have the pleasure to invite you to a lunch seminar on trade agreements and human rights in Latin America, with presentations of José Aylwin (Universidad Austral de Chile) and Deborah Martens (UGent).

Trade Agreements and human rights: The case of the EU-Chile Association Agreement
José Aylwin, Human Rights Lawyer (Observatorio Ciudadano, NGO)

This presentation will provide information on Chile and on the impacts that trade agreements in general, and the EU- Chile association agreement in particular, have had on human rights, particularly on indigenous peoples’ rights. It will also analyze the international human rights standards and guidelines on business, trade and human rights and their potential implications  in the context of the renewal of the EU-Chile Association Agreement. Furthermore, it will refer to the process through which this agreement is being renewed, and to the lack of adequate participation of civil society as well of indigenous peoples and other sectors of society in Chile in this process.

Trade agreements and labour rights: the case of the EU-Central America Association Agreement
Deborah Martens (PhD researcher, Centre for EU Studies)

This presentation will explore whether and how the EU can improve labour conditions in third countries. The empirical focus is twofold: (1) the civil society mechanisms established in the chapter on trade and sustainable development of the EU-Central American Association Agreement and (2) their potential for the promotion of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining.

The seminar will take place on Wednesday 22 May from 12.30 until 14.00 in the IRCP meeting room (Campus Aula, Universiteitstraat 4, third floor). Attendance is free; sandwiches will be provided. Please notify your attendance to

Sebastiaan Van Severen
Studiedag: Het Migratiepact – kroniek van een crisis

Actuele vragen uit internationaal recht, grondwettelijk recht en migratierecht

English speakers: note that the first two parts of the programme are in Dutch, the third part will be in English.

Het Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, in eigen land ook bekend als het Migratiepact, heeft de afgelopen maanden nogal wat stof doen opwaaien. Het dossier was niet alleen politiek een heet hangijzer, het heeft ook tal van actuele vragen rond migratierecht, internationaal recht en grondwettelijk recht losgemaakt.

Voor deze studiedag brengt de Universiteit Gent deskundigen samen die het Migratiepact vanuit die drie invalshoeken zullen belichten. Wat betekent het Migratiepact concreet voor België en waarom ontstond er een crisis? Hoe kwam het Belgische standpunt tot ontwikkeling? Welk verschil had het compromis van een interpretatieve verklaring kunnen maken? Wat waren de gevolgen van het vertrek van een partij uit de Regering? En wat betekent het Migratiepact voor Europa en de rest van de wereld?

Experts verbonden aan diverse universiteiten en organisaties nemen de opeenvolgende fases van de crisis onder de loep en geven antwoorden op deze en andere vragen.

Het programma van de studiedag en informatie over inschrijving vindt u hier.

Luca Ferro
Lecture 'Palestine-Israel: One State or Two States?'

You are cordially invited to a public lecture by Gideon Levy on 'Palestine-Israel: One State or Two States?'  taking place on Tuesday 2 April 2019 (from 6-8 PM) at Filmzaal Plateau (Paddenhoek 3, Ghent).

The Oslo agreement was signed in September 1993 as a starting point for a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. According to the Gaza-Jericho accord that followed in May 1994, an agreement on the final status of the Palestinian occupied territories should have been reached after 5 years at the latest, i.e. by May 1999. Almost 20 years have passed since then, while the occupation and colonisation of the Palestinian territories have never ceased. The perspective for a two-state solution looks so gloomy that some have questioned the possibility of such a solution to the conflict, and have put forward a one-state solution for the two peoples as a viable alternative. Prominent Israeli journalist Gideon Levy is one of them. What is his perspective on this vexing issue? As a contributor to the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, Gideon Levy has a deep knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Please note that entrance to the lecture is free, but online registration is required.

Anemoon Soete
Guest lectures by Prof. Ashley Deeks on predicting your enemies and self-defence against non-State actors

On Tuesday 5 March 2019Prof. Ashley Deeks will honor  our Law Faculty with a guest lecture on 'the use of predictive algorithms in the US military justice', on which her  research paper is available online. The lecture will take place between 10.30 am and 12 noon at the Law Faculty (Universiteitstraat 4) in auditorium 'Rode Zaal'. 

Shorty after, from 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm, Prof. Deeks will participate in a GRILI lunch seminar which will focus on 'the “unable or unwilling” doctrine and the exercise of self-defence against non-State actors’. The seminar will take place in the Faculty Board Room of the Law Faculty (Universiteitstraat 4). Participation is free, but interested persons are requested to signal their attendance to Ms. Kristien Ballegeer (

Ashley Deeks joined the University of Virginia Law School in 2012 as an associate professor of law after two years as an academic fellow at Columbia Law School. Her primary research and teaching interests are in the areas of international law, national security, intelligence and the laws of war. She has written articles on the use of force, executive power, secret treaties, the intersection of national security and international law, and the laws of armed conflict. She is a member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law and serves as a senior contributor to the Lawfare blog. Deeks also serves on the boards of editors of the American Journal of International Law and the Journal of National Security Law and Policy. She is the supervising editor for AJIL Unbound, and is a senior fellow at the Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare.

Before joining Columbia in 2010, she served as the assistant legal adviser for political-military affairs in the U.S. State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser, where she worked on issues related to the law of armed conflict, the use of force, conventional weapons, and the legal framework for the conflict with al-Qaida. She also provided advice on intelligence issues. In previous positions at the State Department, Deeks advised on international law enforcement, extradition and diplomatic property questions. In 2005, she served as the embassy legal adviser at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, during Iraq’s constitutional negotiations. Deeks was a 2007-08 Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow and a visiting fellow in residence at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Peter Van Elsuwege and Tom Ruys
CERISE Lecture and GRILI Seminar by Lauri Mälksoo

The Centre for Russian, International Socio-Political and Economic Studies at Ghent University (CERISE) is pleased to announce a lecture on 'Russian Approaches to International Law', dealing with the question whether the understanding and application of international law has specific features in Russia that other actors in the international community should be aware of. Different areas of international law such as use of force, human rights as well as international investment law will be covered in the talk.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday 27 February 2019 at 19.30 in Zaal Vermeylen of Convention Centrum 'Het Pand' (Onderbergen 1, Gent). Please register through the following link.

On Thursday 28 February 2019, Prof. Mälksoo will moreover participate in a GRILI lunch seminar on 'Russian approaches to the use of force in international law'. The lecture will take place between 12am and 1.30pm at the IRCP meeting room. Participation is free, but interested persons are requested to register through this link.

Lauri Mälksoo is Professor of International Law at the University of Tartu in Estonia. He was sixteen years old when the USSR disintegrated and uses sources in the Russian language extensively in his research. He is a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences and associate member of the Institut de Droit International (established in 1873 in Ghent). He is co-editor-in-chief of the Baltic Yearbook of International Law (at Brill) and has published two monographs, Illegal Annexation and State Continuity (2003) and Russian Approaches to International Law (2015), as well as co-edited the volume Russia and the ECtHR: the Strasbourg Effect.

SDG's, Biodiversity and a Rapidly Changing World by Alexander Gillespie

The lecture "The Sustainable Development Goals, Biodiversity and a Rapidly Changing World" by Francqui Chairholder Prof. Dr. Alexander Gillespie will take place on Thursday February 14, 2019 from 11 - 12 a.m. in Rode Zaal, Universiteitstraat 4, Ghent.

This event is organised within the framework of the "SDGs & the Global South @ Ghent University" sessions.

Attendance is free, but registration is requested through the link


An Cliquet
Symposium 2050 - Challenges for Environmental Law

This symposium will take place on Tuesday 5 February 2019 in Auditorium C, Universiteitstraat 4 in Ghent.  It is organised within the framework of the International Francqui Professor Chair 2018 -19, which Alexander Gillespie holds at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of Ghent University (Department of European, Public and International Law), in collaboration with the SERES (UC Louvain).


13.30 - 14.00 Coffee

14.00 - 14.05 Introduction

14.05 - 14.20 Fresh Water, Prof . Alexander Gillespie, Waikato University, New Zealand

14.20 - 14.35 Climate change, Prof. Charles-Hubert Born, UCLouvain

14.35 - 14.50 Ecological restoration, Prof. An Cliquet, Ghent University

14.50 - 15.05 Biodiversity loss, Dr. Hendrik Schoukens, Ghent University

15.05 - 15.30 Coffee

15.30 - 15.45 Land degradation, Prof. Bernard Vanheusden, Hasselt University

15.45 -16.00 Land use change, Prof. Geert Van Hoorick, Ghent University

16.00 - 16.15 Air pollution, Prof. Delphine Misonne, UCLouvain Saint-Louis - Bruxelles

16.15 - 16.30 Marine pollution, Prof. Frank Maes, Ghent University

16.30 - 16.45 General principles of environmental law, Prof. Luc Lavrysen, Ghent University

16.45 - 17.30 Questions and discussion

Attendance is free and all are welcome, but registration is required before 29 January.