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 Genocide Convention. Article-by-Article Commentary

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75 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the first universal human rights treaty of the United Nations era and the keystone of the international legal regime against genocide. In the second edition of their work, Lars Berster, Björn Schiffbauer and Christian J. Tams engage with the Genocide Convention's provisions on an article-by-article basis and elucidate how they contribute to the global fight against genocide. Their Commentary offers an in-depth analysis of the Convention's nineteen provisions. It offers authoritative guidance on the definition of genocide, on the duties of States to prevent and punish it, and on the Convention's implementation regime. Building on the success of the first edition, the Commentary will be of interest to academics, students and practitioners working in international law, criminal law, genocide studies and human rights.

Lars Berster
Björn Schiffbauer

International Legal Universalism: A Reactionary Ideology of Disciplinary Self-Aggrandizement

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The Territorial Scope of Application of EU Law: A Private International Law Enquiry into the EU’s Constitutional Identity

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This article offers a reconstruction of how the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU) justifies the territorial scope of application of EU law. Scholarship on this issue tends to advocate for an expansive projection of EU norms in the pursuit of global values, subject to the external limits of public international law. This article will develop a critique of this approach by pointing to its underlying assumptions as to the territorial dimension of the EU's rule, the insoluble practical issues that it leads to, and the need to consider differently the EU's spatial identity and relation to the wider world. It will also be argued that, in fact, other case law sometimes already reflects an alternative vision, by imagining the EU implicitly, not as a ‘global actor’ promoting universal values, but as a concretely situated and spatially bounded community. It will be shown that this is so with the methodological help of private international law, and in particular three doctrines that are traditional to this discipline—the localisation of cross-border relations, international imperativeness, and the public policy exception. This will ultimately allow for a more sophisticated understanding of the EU's territory to emerge—irreducible to the physical coordinates of its acts of intervention, or the mere sum of the physical spaces under Member State sovereignty, but as a distinct space of social relations, informed and delineated by the particular axiology and structure of the EU legal system.

Allocating human rights obligations in the ECHR

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This article asks how to allocate human rights obligations stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights and defends an interpretivist account of human rights based on the values of integrity and equality to answer it. First, it considers the structure of rights and argues that human rights usually require a duty bearer who needs to be identified. Second, the article analyses interest-based theories of human rights and shows that they do not speak to the allocation of duties. Third, I argue that duties can only be allocated relying on a normative principle and that an interpretivist account of human rights allows for underlying values to be identified. Fourth, I show that these values should be understood to be integrity and equality. Finally, the article applies the framework to the judgment in Carter v Russia, showing that an explicitly normative account supplies principled distinctions where other approaches cannot.

Leaning from the steep slope; on coherence in response to Professor Jean d’Aspremont

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Response to D’Aspremont, J. (2023). The chivalric pursuit of coherence in international law. Leiden Journal of International Law, 1-8. doi:10.1017/S0922156523000481

Incorporating International Human Rights: The protection of Care Experienced People’s Rights in the Scottish Human Rights Bill

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The Human Rights Consortium Scotland commissioned this report in partnership with Who Cares? Scotland to explore the potential impact of the proposed Scottish Human Rights Bill for protecting the rights of Care Experienced people. The report focuses on the domestic and international law dimensions of this question, in order to understand how best to integrate Care Experienced people into the Bill as proposed. The report has three sections: • First, the report begins with an outline of the SHRB as it appears in the Consultation, identifying how it will change the actions of public authorities in Scotland and place human rights at the centre of decision-making and government. • Second, it considers evidence of the specific needs of Care Experienced people and the potential for the SHRB to better support the realisation of their human rights. • Finally, the report offers an analysis of four ways in which Care Experienced people could be offered specific protection under the SHRB. Care Experienced people, like many people who face disadvantage in Scotland, stand to benefit from the introduction of economic, social, and cultural rights into Scots law. Yet Care Experienced people also face specific forms of discrimination and embedded inequality which require particular consideration and targeted intervention. While recognition in guidance, international law, and outcome monitoring would go some way towards this goal, this report shows that the most secure way to ensure Care Experienced people’s rights are protected is to recognise them in the text of the Bill. To do so would be consistent with the Scottish Government’s wider efforts to keep its promise to Care Experienced people and make a real difference to the effective protection of their rights.