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

Youth-led peace: The role of youth in peace processes

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More than 600 million young people live in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Despite being deeply affected by violence in a myriad of ways, young people’s voices are not heard, nor included in the processes of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The ‘youth bulge’ is seen as a driver of instability, and young people are typically portrayed as perpetrators of violence or potential ‘spoilers’ who should be protected from radicalisation and extremism. The active role young people play as peacemakers, mediators and peacebuilders at grassroots and local levels are under-acknowledged and they are often not included in official peace processes. Beyond peacebuilding, young people display ownership, agency and leadership in diverse areas that are of significance to local, regional, national and international peace and security, ranging from climate change to tackling inequalities. Yet, the achievements of young people are hindered due to the absence of adequate recognition, protection, funding and meaningful partnerships. This report explores the diverse contributions of youth to peace processes and discusses the challenges and barriers young peacebuilders face while working towards peace, based on findings of a consultation with youth-led peacebuilding organisations and a workshop that brought together key actors in the field of Youth, Peace and Security. We then explore the multiple dimensions of inclusion in peace processes and chart potential avenues for future research, policy and practice in light of lessons learned from youth-led peace initiatives.

Yulia Nesterova
Graeme Young
Alex Maxwell

The Hidden Theology of International Legal Positivism

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This chapter is a study in the critical deconstruction of one of the most popular theoretical paradigms in modern international law and its basic ideological impact on international law as a discipline. The paradigm in question is voluntarist positivism, and the general thrust of its ideological impact on the discipline of international law, I am going to argue, has been to encourage within it the rise and spread of what one might call a theoretical culture of bad faith – a mix of false consciousness, self-censorship, and a “crooked attitude towards truth and knowledge”– particularly, in what concerns international law’s relationship with natural law and Christian theology. The last two sentences use a lot of notoriously ambivalent concepts. For the prevention of doubt, let me explain briefly how I understand them in these pages.

A chapter in "Christianity and International Law" book, Pamela Slotte and John Haskell (eds.), (Cambridge University Press, 2021)


Deep Cuts: Four Critiques of Legal Ideology

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This Article begins an effort to rekindle the intellectual tradition of critical legal theory. The context for the project is significant. On the one hand is the grip of a social crisis, the contours of which continue to confound the commentariat. Racism, xenophobia, gendered violence, migration and nation, climate change, health pandemics, political corruption. The parade is as intimidating as it is spectacular. On the other hand, the very tools of criticism we depend upon in identifying these characters in the parade, much less the spectacle of the parade itself, are themselves in crisis. There is, in a word, a crisis for critique itself. The working assumption of this Article is that these crises—crises in society and the crises of critique—are not unrelated. It is in this context that we believe in the need to revitalize the tools of critical legal studies, an intellectual songbook from the 1970s that deserves a 21st century reboot.

Yale Journal of Law and Humanities, Vol. 31:2, (2021)

ISSN: 1041-6374

Justin Desautels-Stein

The Humanitarian Civilian: How the Idea of Distinction Circulates Within and Beyond IHL

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Uses real-world examples and quotes from qualitative research to show how problems of distinction play out in practice Provides innovative, empirical analysis of how distinction operates for humanitarian actors Examines training in detail, to help readers understand how legal rules travel outside of law books to civil-military training spaces

monograph, OUP 2021

ISBN: 9780198863816

Proportionality as Procedure: Strengthening the Legitimate Authority of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

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The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has a new mechanism to receive individual complaints and issue views. This development makes the question of how the CESCR should interpret the broad articles of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights more pressing than ever. Most commentators on the legitimacy of the CESCR’s interpretation have argued that interpreters should make better use of Articles 31-33 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) in order to improve the legitimacy of their findings. In this article, we argue conversely that the individual communication mechanism should be evaluated and reformed in terms of legitimate authority. In the context of the CESCR’s process of interpretation, we contend that proportionality is better suited than the various interpretive options of the VCLT to offer a consistent procedure that is able to generate legitimacy by attenuating the tension between personal and collective autonomy.

GCILS Working Papers

Antoinette Scherz (PluriCourts, University of Oslo)

The Oxford Handbook of the International Law of Global Security

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The Oxford Handbook of the International Law of Global Security provides a ground-breaking overview of the relationship between international law and global security. It constitutes a comprehensive and systematic mapping of the various sub-fields of international law dealing with global security challenges, and offers authoritative guidance on key trends and debates around the relationship between public international law and global security governance. This Handbook highlights the central role of public international law in an effective global security architecture and, in doing so, addresses some of the most pressing legal and policy challenges of our time. The Handbook features original contributions by leading scholars and practitioners from a wide range of professional and disciplinary backgrounds, reflecting the fluidity of the concept of global security and the diversity of scholarship in this area.

Handbook, Oxford University Press: Oxford

ISBN: 9780198827276