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.

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

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

Humanizing the Laws of War: The Red Cross and the Development of International Humanitarian Law

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Over the past 150 years, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been one of the main drivers of progressive development in international humanitarian law, whilst assuming various roles in the humanization of the laws of war. With select contributions from international experts, this book critically assesses the ICRC's unique influence in international norm creation. It provides a detailed analysis of the workings of the International Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement and ICRC by addressing the milestone achievements as well as the failures, shortcomings and controversies over time. Crucially, the contributions highlight the lessons to be learnt for future challenges in the development of international humanitarian law. This book will be of particular interest to scholars and students of international law, but also to practitioners working in the field of international humanitarian law at both governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Andreas Zimmermann
Stefanie Haumer

Human Rights Watch v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office : victim status, extraterritoriality and the search for principled reasoning

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In Human Rights Watch v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal found that the relevant standard of ‘victim status’ that applies in secret surveillance cases consists in a potential risk of being subjected to surveillance and that the European Convention on Human Rights does not apply to the surveillance of individuals who reside outside of the UK. This note argues that the Tribunal's finding regarding the victim status of the applicants was sound but that the underlying reasoning was not. It concludes that the Tribunal's finding on extraterritoriality is unsatisfactory and that its engagement with the European Court of Human Rights case law on the matter lacked depth. Finally, the note considers the defects of the Human Rights Watch case, and the case law on extraterritoriality more generally, against the backdrop of the place of principled reasoning in human rights adjudication.

Modern Law Review, 80(3), pp. 510-524. (doi:10.1111/1468-2230.12268)