20 February 2013

CALL FOR PAPERS: Beyond Responsibility to Protect

Beyond Responsibility to Protect: 
Towards Responsible Use of International Law?

University of Hull Law School

McCoubrey Centre for International Law4- 5 July 2013, Hull, UK

Keynote Speaker: Professor Andre Nollkaemper, Professor of International Law, University of Amsterdam

The McCoubrey Centre for International Law is hosting a two-day conference for research students and early career scholars. The theme of the conference is "Beyond Responsibility to Protect: Towards Responsible Use of International Law?"

OVERVIEW: The key idea is that international law increasingly requires states not only to abstain from breaking the law, but also to pro-actively protect common interests or values of the international community. Seen from this perspective, sovereignty is not merely about rights, but also (perhaps, primarily) about duties; in particular, that States have a responsibility to take steps to prevent breaches of international law, especially the commission of heinous crimes.

The principal aim of the Conference is to explore these ideas in greater depth. An equally important goal is to critically evaluate and challenge the concept of R2P. Two approaches are of interest. One way would be to reject the narrow definition of R2P and question why R2P is only considered in the context of States, as an attribute of sovereignty. Today, the world is dominated by the action of the so-called "other" subjects of international law. Be they actors, subjects or, simply users of international law, these "players" are proven to be significantly influential at the international level. This opens the debate to the role of the private factor - and especially of multinational corporations - of international organisations entrusted with the responsibility to safeguard fundamental values, such as peace and security, as well as of the states that are hidden behind the institutional veil of the organisation. A second critical approach is to question the entire legal basis for R2P. Such a deconstructive approach could challenge the legal basis in positive international law of what may be seen as another expression of the ideology of droits-de-l'hommisme. Consideration may also be given to the principle of due diligence or the absence of a concept of state fault for failure to comply with obligations of means in the ILC Articles on State responsibility.

TOPICS: The conference will:
- investigate the legal foundations of R2P;
- assess the ways this concept is developing in international law;
- identify the areas or the regimes of international where this applies;
- examine the more technical questions surrounding the concept, such as jurisdiction and state responsibility;
- consider the means for the fulfilment and the limits of the obligation;
- explore critical challenges for the notion of R2P.

In addition to considering these themes, proposals are welcomed on topics including theories of the humanisation and the constitutionalisation of international law, and on how the themes relate to specific fields of international law, such as jus ad bellum, criminal law, humanitarian law, human rights, environmental law, cultural heritage, law of the sea, trade law, international organisations, EU law and investment law.

The McCoubrey Centre is very pleased to have Professor Andre Nollkaemper giving the keynote speech. In addition, all panels will be chaired by leading academics, who will be invited to comment on the papers.

PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE: Interested participants should provide an abstract of no more than 500 words by the 18th of March, 2013 to MCIL@hull.ac.uk. If you wish to discuss topics or ideas informally please contact the organising committee at this email address.

Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes in duration. Speakers will be informed of acceptance of their papers by the 15th of April and will be expected to submit either a full or outline paper by the 15th of June.

THE ORGANISING COMMITTEE: Professor Richard Barnes; Dr. Vassilis P. Tzevelekos; Mr Carmino Massarella; and Ms Nneka Okechukwu.

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