The publications listed here represent a small selection of the work of GCILS staff members. To see full listings of publications please click through to the University of Glasgow main webpages in each individual staff member profile.

The UN General Assembly as a security actor: appraising the investigative mechanism for Syria

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This article analyses the role of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as a security actor. With the creation of the ‘International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011’ (IIIM), through UNGA Resolution 71/ 2481 in 2016, the General Assembly creatively used its powers to strengthen international criminal justice. Although investigative or fact-finding missions itself are nothing new to the UN system, Resolution 71/ 248 is qualitatively different to any other mission before it. The IIIM was established without Syrian consent, which is a historic first for the General Assembly. It is also the first time that such a body is tasked with investigations that fulfil prosecution standards, that serves as an evidence repository as well as a connecting hub between different justice actors. The UN General Assembly filled a void where the UN Security Council found itself in a stalemate over Syria. The IIIM has since served as a blueprint for a new generation of investigative mechanisms that emerged in the UN system. Looking beyond the appraisal of the IIIM, the article argues that the UN General Assembly practice in maintaining peace and security has significantly evolved over time. The early UN General Assembly practice through Uniting for Peace allowed it to assert its proactive role in parallel to the Security Council, yet it failed in its claim of authority to recommend forceful, collective measures. The practice subsequently evolved towards the diverse use of non-forceful measures, of which the IIIM provides a recent example. Creative boundary pushing in the UNGA through non-forcible measures will hopefully contribute to peace and security beyond war.

Empathy in frontline humanitarian negotiations: a relational approach to engagement. Journal of International Humanitarian Action

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Humanitarian access—people’s ability to reach aid and aid's ability to reach people—is widely understood to be a central challenge in humanitarian action. One of the most important ways in which humanitarian access is practically secured in conflict settings is through frontline humanitarian negotiations. In this type of negotiation, humanitarians engage in face-to-face interactions with conflict parties to secure safe access to, and protection of, civilian populations in situations of armed conflict. An underdeveloped aspect of such negotiations that is ripe for further exploration is the role of empathy. The purpose of this article is thus to draw on the insights of the empathy literature to explore how empathy shapes humanitarian protection work in the specific domain of frontline humanitarian negotiations. Part one conceptualizes empathy, drawing on the interdisciplinary field of scientific research. Part two introduces the practice of frontline humanitarian negotiation and explains why empathy is critical, particularly in the increasingly fragmented environments that negotiators must operate. Adopting a relational approach, Part three advances a framework for analyzing empathy in frontline humanitarian negotiations. We theorize empathy's salience across four different axes of negotiation, drawing insights gleaned from scholarship and a systematic review of the grey literature on humanitarian negotiation, including field manuals, training materials, and operational guidance. We do not ultimately argue for ‘more empathy’ in this type of work, but rather a more thoughtful approach to empathy—one that entails the cultivation of core empathy-related skill areas, including: emotion regulation, perspective-taking, social awareness, and strategic conveyance of empathy. We contend that this approach could help to alleviate numerous problems in the humanitarian sector, including aid worker burnout.

Emily Paddon Rhoads

International Inspections

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International inspections are a common technique of international law. Inspectors visit prison camps, chemical factories, nuclear reactors, and research stations in Antarctica — to assess whether the provisions of international law are complied with. But notwithstanding this practical relevance, international lawyers have tended to neglect international inspections, at least as a general category: what studies exist, tend to focus on particular regimes, providing much detail but insufficient orientation. The present volume takes a different approach. It looks at a wide range of inspection regimes and seeks to identify cross-cutting issues. While reflecting their heterogeneity, its central aim is to situate international inspections in the wider field of international law’s means of control and to highlight elements of unity in diversity. Combining panoramic and kaleidoscopic perspectives, the volume’s sixteen chapters encourage international lawyers to engage more fully with international inspections.

Anne-Laure Chaumette

Research Handbook on Secession

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Combining both theoretical and practical insights, the Research Handbook on Secession addresses a wide range of legal issues and concepts surrounding secessions. It considers both well-known examples such as Kosovo and Bangladesh alongside less frequently discussed cases including Somaliland and Palestine. The Research Handbook offers state-of-the-art analysis of international law on – among other topics – statehood, secession, self-determination, as well as comparative constitutional perspectives.

Vidmar, J.
McGibbon,S.

Introduction to the symposium on incidental jurisdiction

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The doctrine of incidental jurisdiction has had significant bearing on some of the most important international legal disputes of recent times, challenging one of the truths that international lawyers hold to be self-evident: that the jurisdiction of international courts and tribunals is dependent on the consent of states. But what exactly is this doctrine and why does it deserve to be the focus of this symposium? The doctrine of incidental jurisdiction allows tribunals to bring within their jurisdiction “incidental” or “ancillary” issues that are crucial to answering the question over which the tribunal certainly does have jurisdiction. It is a useful device that in certain, limited situations allows international courts and tribunals to consider legal questions that are beyond the jurisdiction to which states formally consent.

Swords, Shields and Other Beasts: The Role of Countermeasures in Investment Arbitration

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"Our topic can be thought of as a meeting of the old and the new, and it can be approached via a straightforward question: is there room, in the contemporary world of investment arbitration, for countermeasures, that traditional means of self-help? Countermeasures—and more so the concept’s traditional label, reprisals—evoke an era of interstate international law of limited reach: an era which, for lack of adequate institutions, accommodated ideas of ‘private justice’ to a significant extent, notably by accepting the right of one State to respond to another State’s wrongful conduct by means of coercion. This right permitted the State to respond to wrongful conduct affecting State rights as well as rights of nationals, despite the obvious risk of abuse. As investment lawyers with a measure of historical awareness know full well, in the field of foreign investment, the risk of abuse regularly materialised, as ‘home States’ (in the contemporary parlance) reacted coercively against host States accused of having interfered with rights of foreign investors. (...)"

Eran Sthoeger