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.

UNCLOS: fit for purpose in the 21st century?

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Written evidence (UNC0043), House of Lords, International Relations and Defence Committee inquiry

Between facts and principles: jurisdiction in international human rights law

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In international human rights law ‘jurisdiction’ is the centre of the debate on extraterritorial obligations. The purpose of the present paper is to a) analyse how facts and principles contribute to the explanation of jurisdiction in international human rights law and b) to show how this analysis could help sharpen the debate in this area by making the grounds of disagreement between different accounts explicit. It first describes international practice regarding jurisdiction and shows that it is committed to jurisdiction being a principle that responds to facts on the ground. Second, the paper describes two academic views on jurisdiction in detail. Next, it introduces the framework on facts and principles developed by Jerry Cohen. The idea is that facts only support principles if their relevance is explained by another principle that does not depend on facts. Finally, section 4 combines the framework with our insights into jurisdiction. If jurisdiction is best understood as a principle that responds to facts, this implies that jurisdiction cannot be explained by facts alone. It must instead reflect principles that are themselves not fact-dependent. Adhering to this framework allows for better explanation of jurisdiction and a clearer understanding of the different views on jurisdiction.

Human rights

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The original critique of human rights is well known. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, scholars drew attention to various blind spots in the human rights project. Feminists demonstrated its failure in representing and protecting women, just as parallel limitations were targeted by queer and disabled activists, finding powerful institutional battlegrounds in the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations. TWAIL and post-colonial scholars critiqued the colonial imagery of ‘victims, savages and saviors’ that underpinned the movement, and many critiques intersected multiple communities.

The politics of the moot court

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Scholarship has generally represented moot court competitions in one of two ways: either as a beneficial way for students to develop practical skills prior to the Bar, or as a reproducer of hierarchy and exclusion. This review essay attempts to plot a third way of thinking about moots, one that finds critical potential in the exercise of mooting while remaining attentive to its conservative biases. Building out from a critique of the common law focus of Thomas and Cradduck’s The Art of Mooting, the essay reflects on how critical approaches to international law can be used to teach moot skills more effectively. The essay then turns to the limitations such a critical pedagogy must be aware of within the actual practice of the competition, considering how these limits can be navigated and even flipped into teachable moments for critically inclined students. The essay closes with a call for a more nuanced discussion about the use of experiential learning, of which moots are only one example, for fostering critical engagement with international law.

Soirila, U.

UN Efforts to Make ISIS Accountable for International Crimes: the Challenges Posed by Iraq’s Domestic Law

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Following the military defeat of isis in Iraq in December 2017, it has become clear that a logical next step would be to hold members of isis accountable for crimes committed during the capture of a number of principal Iraqi cities between 2014–2017. The unsc, accordingly, decided to investigate isis crimes internationally by establishing unitad to document isis violations whilst leaving any proposed prosecutions to be conducted internally by Iraqi courts. The practical implementation of this hybrid international mechanism for prosecuting isis members has generated some legal challenges caused particularly by the national laws of Iraq. Some of these legal issues arise in relation to unitad’s subjective jurisdiction to collect evidence concerning isis terrorist acts that might amount to evidence of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Others arise in relation to whether unitad’s criminal investigation procedures align or conform with Iraq’s criminal procedure laws. This paper examines these challenges and will propose some appropriate solutions.

Alfatlawi, A. A.

In re Arbitration between the Italian Republic and the Republic of India concerning the ‘Enrica Lexie’ incident

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On May 21, 2020, a Tribunal established under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) rendered an Award regarding the 2012 Enrica Lexie incident, which involved the death of two Indian fishermen at the hands of Italian Marines. The Award is lengthy and wide-ranging, finding that: (1) Italy and India had concurrent jurisdiction over the incident; (2) the Tribunal had incidental jurisdiction to determine the immunity of the Italian Marines; (3) the Marines enjoyed immunity as state officials; but nevertheless that (4) India was entitled to compensation for the loss of life, physical harm, damage to property, and moral harm. The Award has been received more positively by Italy than India, but neither party has indicated that they intend to do anything other than comply with it.