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.

Title to territory and jurisdiction in international human rights law: three models for a fraught relationship

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It is by now uncontroversial that states may owe human rights obligations to individuals outside their territory. The debate about extraterritoriality has, so far, focused on the concept and interpretation of jurisdiction. The role of territory in general, and title in particular, in the conceptual landscape has received less attention in comparison. This article aims to fill this gap by showing that (a) title to territory continues to shape interpretations of jurisdiction, and (b) that this should be avoided. To this end, the article first defines jurisdiction in international human rights law and title to territory. Jurisdiction is best understood as a threshold criterion that triggers human rights obligations of states towards particular individuals. Title to territory, on the other hand, is a set of claims to territory designed to uphold minimal stability. The article then introduces three models – the approximation model, the differentiation model, and the separation model – of the relationship between title to territory and jurisdiction in international human rights law and evaluates them in light of their fit with the relational nature of human rights. The result is that the approximation and differentiation models – that is, those that maintain title's influence on the interpretation of jurisdiction in various degrees – fail the success criterion, while the separation model satisfies it.

Leiden Journal of International Law, 31(2), pp. 315-334. (doi:10.1017/S0922156518000018)

The Legal Nature of the World Bank Safeguards

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Building on the Brunnée and Toope’s theory of interactional law and its use of Fuller’s criteria of legality, this paper argues that the World Bank safeguards, especially their reincarnation through the Environmental and Social Framework (ESF), is a source of law that is binding on all international legal subjects. The paper criticises categories such as ‘internal law’ and ‘soft law’ that are traditionally used to describe the status of non-treaty rules, arguing that such categories are theoretically opaque, thus leading to a ‘dead-end’ in the discussion about sources of normativity beyond the Article 38 of the ICJ statute. The core aim of this paper is to demonstrate that international legal obligations such as those created by the ESF can be understood in dynamic terms, and that we can only ascertain their legal nature by observing their impacts, operation and authoritativeness in practice.

VRÜ Verfassung und Recht in Übersee / Volume 51 / Issue 1 / 2018 / pp. 78-102

Imperium in Imperio: Sub-Imperialism and the Recognition of Australian Sovereignty in International Law

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This article retraces the role of sub-imperialism in the formation of the Australian state as a subject of international law. The discourse of sub-imperialism developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a means of characterising the British self-governing Dominions’ uncertain status in the international order, and drew explicitly on the United States Monroe Doctrine. The article revisits the significance of sub-imperialist posturing at two critical junctures in the historical formation of the Commonwealth of Australia. The first is the formalisation in the early 1880s of the movement toward federation of the Australasian colonies as a response to perceived British acquiescence to German imperialism in the Western Pacific. The second is the Commonwealth government’s attempt during the Versailles negotiations of 1919 to annex to its territory the occupied German Pacific territories of New Guinea and Nauru. The principal argument made in this article is that attempts to establish an Australian sub-empire in the Western Pacific were fundamental both to the federation movement and the recognition of Australian sovereignty in international law. The article concludes that Australian sub-imperialism warrants greater attention both in accounts of the history of Australia’s transition from self-governing Dominion to sovereign status in international law, and in accounts of contemporary Australian foreign policy in the Pacific region.

Melbourne Journal of International Law / Volume 19 / Issue 1 / pp. 335-368

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International Investment Law and History

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Historiographical approaches in international investment law scholarship are becoming ever more important. This insightful book combines perspectives from a range of expert international law scholars who explore ways in which using a broad variety of methods in historical research can lead to a better understanding of international investment law.

Stephan W. Schill
Rainer Hofmann

Discretion and the gravity of situations at the International Criminal Court

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This article offers a new perspective on the gravity notion in Article 17(1)(d) of the Statute. It demonstrates that it is impossible to determine gravity to ‘exacting legal requirements’, as the Pre-Trial Chamber in the situation of the registered vessels of the Union of the Comoros, Greece and Cambodia found. Instead, the Prosecutor is equipped with some ‘interpretative discretion’ that allows adjustment to the factually diverse situations that the International Criminal Court (icc) is confronted with. This form of discretion, however, is distinct from those procedural discretionary processes that have to be used to select which situations to investigate. Interpretative discretion nevertheless requires as much consistency as possible. As pathways to achieve that, this article challenges the concept of situational gravity. It further proposes to exclude any perpetrator-based element in the gravity assessment to harmonise the interpretation of gravity for potential and real cases before the ICC.

International Criminal Law Review / Volume 17 / Issue 5 / October 2017 / pp. 960-984

Towards the ‘Golden Hour’?: A critical exploration of the length of preliminary examinations

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Over the years, the conduct of preliminary examinations has gained increasing importance at the International Criminal Court (ICC). One notable aspect in this area is the hugely diverging length of such examinations, ranging from one week for the situation in Libya to 12 years (and rising) for the situation in Colombia. This article critically interrogates the repeated claim of the Prosecutor that the absence of any provisions regulating the length of preliminary examinations was a deliberate decision of the drafters of the Rome Statute, leaving her with unfettered discretion in that area. Instead, it is suggested that the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in prioritizing preliminary examinations is legally limited through the obligation to ensure effective investigations, demanding reasonably swift responses because evidence vanishes over time — witnesses disappear, memories fade, and data gets lost (the ‘golden hour’ principle). Furthermore, the conduct of preliminary examinations is also limited through the legal and policy commitment to impartiality, including the appearance of impartiality. A robust debate about a structured and transparent process of prioritization at the preliminary examination stage is thus overdue. It is proposed that the Prosecutor should introduce a policy commitment to conclude preliminary examinations within a defined time limit. Such a policy would be an important step towards a more structured method of situation selection, and would reduce the possibility that decision-making processes in more contentious situations are postponed for obscure reasons.

Journal of International Criminal Justice / Volume 15 / Issue 3 / July 2017 / pp. 435-453