Research & publications 2019

Tom Ruys
Conference on 'military assistance on request'

Call for abstracts

At the conference, 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. In addition, the organizers are inviting promising scholars in an earlier stage of their academic career to submit an abstract for a dedicated ‘emerging voices’ panel.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • the link between intervention by invitation and ‘consent’ as a ground precluding wrongfulness under the law of international responsibility;
  • the impact of the complicity regime under the law of international responsibility;
  • the permissibility of military assistance on request in the pre-Charter era (in particular in 19th-century legal doctrine);
  • the distinction between direct and indirect military assistance;
  • the permissibility of so-called ‘non-lethal assistance’ under international law;
  • military assistance on request in the cyber-sphere;
  • the doctrine of counter-intervention and its relationship to collective self-defence

Abstracts are due by 15 March 2019 and should be accompanied by a brief curriculum. Applicants will be informed of the outcome by 15 April 2019, while full papers are due by 15 November 2019. Subject to the usual peer review, the papers presented at the conference will be published as part of a special issue of the Journal on the Use of Force and International Law.

For more information, including possible travel and accomodation funding, see the attached PDF file.

Tom Ruys

(2019) 68 International and Comparative Law Quarterly, pp. 67-90

In early 2018, the Polisario Front and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) obtained a favourable ruling from the South African Courts, granting the SADR ownership over a cargo of phosphate aboard the NM Cherry Blossom originating from a mine in the Moroccan-controlled part of the Western Sahara. Although hitherto largely unnoticed in legal circles, the Cherry Blossom case raises important questions concerning the outer bounds of State immunity and the scope of the act of State doctrine. In addition, the case holds potentially far-reaching ramifications for the international legal order if other domestic courts were to follow suit.

Alexandra Hofer
Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Qatar v. United Arab Emirates): Request for the Indication of Provisional Measures (I.C.J.)

(2018) 57(6) International Legal Materials pp. 973-1030

On July 23, 2018, the International Court of Justice (ICJ or Court) issued its Order on Qatar's request for provisional measures in the Qatar v. United Arab Emirates (UAE) case in which Qatar claims the UAE is responsible for violating the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD or the Convention). The Court has previously ordered provisional measures under CERD in the context of the Ukraine v. Russia case and in the Georgia v. Russia proceedings. As is already apparent in the Order and the dissenting and separate opinions, the Qatar v. UAE case raises important issues pertaining to the interpretation of racial discrimination on the basis of “national origin” under Article 1(1) CERD as well as to the reading of the procedural conditions under Article 22 CERD.

Gert Vermeulen Ellen Desmet
Essential Texts on European and International Asylum and Migration Law and Policy

This volume comprises the relevant legal instruments and principal policy documents in the area of international and European asylum and migration, including the latest versions of pending legislative proposals.

The range of issues covered is comprehensive: human rights; nationality and statelessness; equal treatment, non-discrimination, racism and xenophobia; citizenship, residence and free movement; borders, border management and entry; visa and passenger data; labour migration; family reunification; asylum, subsidiary and temporary protection; irregular migration; and trafficking in human beings.

The texts have been ordered according to the multilateral co-operation level within which they were drawn up: either the United Nations, the Council of Europe or the European Union (including Schengen-level instruments).

This edition provides practitioners, authorities, policy makers, scholars and students throughout Europe with an accurate, up-to-date and forward-looking compilation of essential texts on asylum and migration matters.

All texts have been updated until 20 December 2018.

An Cliquet & Kris Decleer
Linking Restoration Science and Law

Cliquet, A & Decleer K, Linking Restoration Science and Law, in B. Richardson & A. Akhtar-Khavari (eds.), Ecological Restoration Law: Concepts and Case Studies, Routledge, 2019.

Charalampos Paliogiannis, Nico Koedam & An Cliquet
The impact of the economic crisis on the implementation of the EU Nature Directives in Greece

Charalampos Paliogiannis, Nico Koedam & An Cliquet, The impact of the economic crisis on the implementation of the EU Nature Directives in Greece: an expert-based view, Journal for Nature Conservation, Volume 48, 2019, Pages 36-46.

Emre Turkut
Accommodating Security Imperatives v. Protecting Fundamental Rights: The Challenge of States of Emergency in the Context of Countering Terrorism in Turkey

Security and Human Rights, Volume 28, 2019, pp. 62-91

This article seeks to illuminate the use of exceptional national security and emergency powers in the fight against terrorism in Turkey. The article is organized in four parts. Section i looks at the role of terrorism in the activation and justification of a state of emergency and introduces the Turkish case within this context. Section ii explores the historical origins of the Turkish state of emergency regime and analyses the principles regulating emergency regime at the Turkish domestic level. Section iii examines the operation of governmental emergency powers by providing an analysis of the state of emergency practices in Turkey, both past and present. A principal focus is necessarily directed at the state of emergency and the measures deployed within this framework in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, where emergency rule was in force from 1987 to 2002, and the recent nationwide state of emergency in the wake of the 15 July attempted coup. Section iv presents concluding remarks.

Alexandra Hofer
The Efficacy of Targeted Sanctions in Enforcing Compliance with International Law

Essay published in AJIL Unbound, 2019, vol. 113, Symposium on Unilateral Targeted Sanctions, Anne van Aaken (ed.)

In the international legal order, sanctions are valued for their coercive and stigmatizing functions. Through the imposition of financial or other costs, these measures seek to induce compliance with international law by those who are targeted. They also aim to signal the sender's commitment to the violated norm and stigmatize an actor responsible for wrongful behavior. In light of these functions, this essay examines the factors to assess when evaluating the efficacy of unilateral targeted sanctions in enforcing international law. The issue is relevant not only for political scientists, but also for international lawyers interested in ensuring compliance with international norms.

Tom Ruys (editor) Nicolas Angelet (editor) Luca Ferro (assistant editor)
The Cambridge Handbook of Immunities and International Law

Few topics of international law speak to the imagination as much as international immunities. Questions pertaining to immunity from jurisdiction or execution under international law surface on a frequent basis before national courts, including at the highest levels of the judicial branch and...

The volume comprises 34 chapters including contributions by GRILI members Tom Ruys and Luca Ferro

Full list of authors: Tom Ruys, Nicolas Angelet, Luca Ferro, Hazel Fox, Lori Fisler Damrosch, Wenhua Shan, Peng Wang, Alexander Orakhelashvili, Yas Banifatemi, Sally El Sawah, Catherine Amirfar, Niels Blokker, Kristen E. Boon, Ramses A. Wessel, Jean-Marc Thouvenin, Victor Grandaubert, Ingrid Wuerth, Cedric Ryngaert, Matthew Happold, Eric De Brabandere, Mark A. Cymrot, Mathias Audit, Maria-Clara Van Den Bossche, Frédéric Dopagne, Sanderijn Duquet, Eileen Denza, Andrew Sanger, Michael Wood, Muriel Ubéda-Saillard, Rosanne Van Alebeek, Chimène I. Keitner, Christian Walter, Fabian Preger, Aurel Sari, Rosa Freedman, Nicolas Lemay-Hébert, Harmen Van Der Wilt, Pierre D'argent, Pauline Lesaffre, Phillipa Webb and David P. Stewart.

Tom Ruys Luca Ferro Tim Haesebrouck
Parliamentary war powers and the role of international law in foreign troop deployment decisions: The US-led coalition against “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria

International Journal of Constitutional Law, Volume 17(1), 2019, pp. 118–150

This article addresses the degree of parliamentary involvement in decisions to deploy armed forces abroad. It observes how the recourse to force by the US-led military coalition fighting against the so-called Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL, or Da’esh) in Iraq and Syria seems to fit into a broader trend of increased parliamentary control over war-and-peace decisions on both sides of the Atlantic. Inasmuch as international legal arguments can and do play a role in parliamentary debates and concomitant resolutions, this trend carries the potential of contributing to the compliance pull of the jus ad bellum. Against this background, the article explores to what extent newfound war powers on the part of national parliaments go hand in hand with recourse to international legal arguments. The article engages this question through an analysis of the dialogue between the executive and legislative branches in a number of countries (in particular Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Canada) pertaining to the participation in the US-led coalition against IS.

Ikboljon Qoraboyev Emre Turkut
Chapter 18: Turkey

in Fulvio Maria Palombino (ed.), Duelling for Supremacy: International Law vs. National Fundamental Principles, Cambridge University Press, 2019, pp. 336-354

This chapter offers a critical account of how the Turkish (high) courts have approached the complex questions that arise in domestic litigation concerning the relationship between international law and Turkey’s domestic law. The chapter first engages in a theoretical debate and doctrinal exploration on the place of international law in the Turkish domestic legal order. It also provides a brief account of the Turkish constitutional approach to its international obligations, which has been extensively interpreted, implemented and supplemented by the practices of Turkish national legislative and executive organs. Second, and more importantly, it maps the explicit and implicit influence of Turkish constitutional-national principles in Turkish case law vis-à-vis Turkey’s international legal commitments.

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

Full programme and registration link

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.

Please download the PDF for the full programme (including registration link)!

Luca Ferro
Western Gunrunners, (Middle-)Eastern Casualties: Unlawfully Trading Arms with States Engulfed in Yemeni Civil War?

Journal of Conflict & Security Law, 2019

According to the United Nations Secretary-General, Yemen today constitutes the worst man-made humanitarian crisis in the world. It is fuelled by extensive third-state involvement, with none of the warring parties championing respect for international human rights and humanitarian law (to put it mildly). Conversely, primary rules of international law already prohibit arms transfers from the moment there is a significant risk that they could be used to commit or facilitate grave breaches, with the recipient’s past and present record of respect for international law qualifying as the crucial factor to predict future transgressions. From that perspective, it appears deeply disingenuous for western states to continue transferring military equipment to members of the multilateral coalition in Yemen while maintaining adherence to the international legal framework. This article thus aims to examine whether the legal framework lives up to its noble goals or rather serves to defend state decisions that primarily serve their economic interests. It is structured as follows: Section 1 starts with an overview of the facts, and the focus and aim of this article. Section 2 then sets out the international legal framework as it applies to the trade in conventional arms with states that are involved in a non-international armed conflict. Section 3 analyses key domestic judgments (in the UK, Canada, Belgium and France) to test the available facts against the legal framework as elaborated. Finally, Section 4 concludes.

Charting environmental law futures
An Cliquet
Ecological Restoration as a Legal Duty in the Anthropocene

Ecological restoration provides an important way to address the ongoing biodiversity crisis and other exceedance of safe planetary boundaries. However, the Anthropocene poses challenges for ecological restoration, such as determining the (historical) reference system. In light of these...

This concept however lacks clarity and seems superfluous. It could also be abused to undermine restoration commitments. The Anthropocene also makes restoration more challenging from a legal perspective. Although there is a legal duty to restore in international law, restoration commitments have not been reached. The international legal framework lacks concrete definitions and guidance for ecological restoration. In order to fulfill their duty to restore, states are obliged to take sufficient measures to attain a high level of restoration. Possible ways to advance ecological restoration in the  Anthropocene could include new legislation and principles and standards for restoration. Also, bolder steps are necessary, such as a substantial increase in the protection and restoration of nature towards half of the planet.

Ellen Desmet
Children's Rights and the Environmental Dimension of Sustainable Development

(2019) Children's Rights and Sustainable Development. p.192-215

Children often fare the worst when communities face social and environmental changes. The quality of food, water, affection and education that children receive can have major impacts on their subsequent lives and their potential to become engaged and productive citizens. At the same time, children often lack both a private and public voice, and are powerless against government and private decision-making. In taking a child rights-based approach to sustainable development, this volume defines and identifies children as the subjects of development, and explores how their rights can be respected, protected and promoted while also ensuring the economic, social and environmental sustainability of our planet.

Tom Ruys
CONFERENCE - The well-being of the inhabitants of occupied territories: Limiting or gutting the duty of non-recognition


Detailed information on the upcoming two-day international conference - programme, venue - can be found in the attached flyer!

Balanced Options for Access and Benefit-Sharing: Stakeholder Insights on Provider Country Legislation

Front. Plant Sci., 01 October 2019

The over-arching aim of the access and benefit-sharing (ABS) of genetic resources is to enable fair distribution of benefits between the users (such as universities and biotech companies) and providers (such as biodiversity rich countries) so as to both open the doors for innovation and create incentives for biodiversity conservation. Access to genetic resources is crucial for research related to conservation of plant genetic resources as well as R&D for agricultural products and evolved crops that can attain to the new weather conditions climate change brings. Therefore, access to genetic resources in general as well as benefit-sharing from that access is a key element for sustainable development in order to secure research as well as environmental sustainability and resource availability. ABS is currently a rapidly developing and evolving field that is shaped by each and every implementation of the Parties. This means that the national implementation of the Parties determine how ABS goals are realised and how ABS principles find form within regulatory mechanisms. These principles are found in international legal documents such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as well as Nagoya Protocol. Additionally, decisions and guidelines drafted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity shape these principles that are then to be fulfilled by the Parties when drafting their ABS laws by means of implementing regulatory mechanisms that comply with the international law. This article reviews 20 provider country’s ABS frameworks as well as one regional law with the aim of identifying the common regulatory mechanisms that find place in these legal texts. This descriptive approach is then followed by an empirical comparative analysis through semi-structured stakeholder interviews in order to identify the most beneficial regulatory mechanisms according to ABS experts that belong in four different stakeholder groups (provider countries, academic users, industrial users and collections)