The Lauterpacht Centre for International Law is the scholarly home of International law at the University of Cambridge. The Centre, founded by Sir Elihu Lauterpacht QC in 1983, serves as a forum for the discussion and development of international law and is one of the specialist law centres of the Faculty of Law.
The Centre holds weekly lectures on topical issues of international law by leading practitioners and academics.
For more information see the LCIL website at http://www.lcil.cam.ac.uk/
LCIL Friday Lecture:'The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law: Shining a light on a critical human rights protection' - Prof Philippa Webb, King's College London
Lecture summary: The right to a fair trial is a right that enables the recognition and protection of many other human rights. Its violation can be devastating to an individual defendant, but also damaging to entire societies as unfair trials are used to undermine democracy and oppress minorities. Although the right to a fair trial has been included in all international and regional human rights instruments since the Second World War and 173 states parties to the ICCPR have pledged to uphold it, the international standard for a fair trial can be elusive. Based on my book with Amal Clooney, The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law (OUP, Summer 2020), I will shine a light on certain aspects of this fundamental human right. We have attempted to explain, in granular detail, the meaning of the right to a fair trial, drawing on how the right has been applied by international bodies including United Nations committees, regional human rights courts and commissions, and international criminal courts. I will discuss the status of the right in international law, consider who enjoys the right apart from the defendant, and examine divergences in the case law on certain components of the right and potential methods of harmonisation.
LCIL Friday lecture: 'Emptied Lands: Bedouin rights, dispossession and resistance in the Negev' - Prof Alexandre Kedar, University of Haifa
Professor Kedar will present his book Emptied Lands (co-authored with Amara and Yiftachel). Emptied Lands investigates the protracted legal, planning, and territorial conflict between the settler Israeli state and indigenous Bedouin citizens over traditional lands in southern Israel/Palestine. The authors place this dispute in historical, legal, geographical, and international- comparative perspectives, providing the first legal geographic analysis of the “dead Negev doctrine” used by Israel to dispossess and forcefully displace Bedouin inhabitants in order to Judaize the region. The authors reveal that through manipulative use of Ottoman, British and Israeli laws, the state has constructed its own version of terra nullius. Yet, the indigenous property and settlement system still functions, creating an ongoing resistance to the Jewish state. Emptied Lands critically examines several key land claims, court rulings, planning policies and development strategies, offering alternative local, regional, and international routes for justice.
Professor Alexandre (Sandy) Kedar teaches at the Law School at the University of Haifa. He holds a Doctorate in Law (S.J.D) from Harvard Law School. He was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School as well as a Grotius International Law Visiting Scholar there and a visiting associate professor at the Frankel Institute for Judaic studies in the University of Michigan. His research focuses on legal geography, legal history, law and society and land regimes in settler societies and in Israel. He served as the President of the Israeli Law and Society Association, is the co-coordinator of the Legal Geography CRN of the Law and Society Association and a member of its international committee. He is the co-founder (in 2003) and director of the Association for Distributive Justice, an Israeli NGO addressing these issues.
The Eli Lauterpacht Lecture 2020: 'Women and Children and the Transformation of International Law' - Dr Radhika Coomaraswamy
Lecture summary: The lecture attempts to look at some important concepts and landmarks in international law and analyse how they have been impacted by developments in the field of women and children's rights. The sources of international law, sovereignty, state responsibility, human rights and the status of non state actors have all been transformed by issues concerning women and children. These developments have created a more intrusive international law framework while highlighting universal global values. The lecture will also look at the some of the critiques of this new approach to international law while looking to the future to see how these issues will unfold.
Welcome by Dr Ivan Berkowitz
Chaired by Professor Eyal Benvenisti
Radhika Coomaraswamy received her BA from Yale University, her J.D. from Columbia University and her LLM from Harvard University. In Sri Lanka, she was Director of International Centre for Ethnic Studies from 1982 to 2005 and the Chairperson of the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission from 2003 to 2006. Recently, from 2015-2018, she was a member of the Constitutional Council.
Internationally, Radhika Coomaraswamy served as UN Under Secretary General and as Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict from 2006 until her retirement in 2012.
Earlier, from 1994 to 2003, she was the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, an independent expert attached to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
In 2014, the UN Secretary General asked Radhika Coomaraswamy to lead the Global Study to review the fifteen year implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
In 2017 she was appointed to the UN Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar and also appointed as a member of The Secretary General’s Board of Advisors on Mediation.
She was been privileged to be asked to deliver the Grotius Lecture of the American Association of International Law in 2013 and has received numerous honorary degrees and honors.
These lectures are kindly supported by Dr and Mrs Ivan Berkowitz who are Friends of the Centre.
LCIL Friday Lecture: 'Reforming the International Criminal Court' - Dr Douglas Guilfoyle, UNSW
Lecture summary: Over the last two years the court has faced a series of unprecedented challenges. We have seen a run of acquittals, case collapses, and greater and lesser scandals involving judges and the Office of the Prosecutor. While the Court has been buoyed by a number of significant convictions of rebellion leaders, momentum for an inquiry into the Court’s functioning and serious reform is gathering in the Assembly of States Parties. How has it come to this and what are the options going forward?
Dr Douglas Guilfoyle is Associate Professor of International and Security Law and a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Visiting Legal Fellow (2019-2020). He publishes largely in the fields of law of the sea and maritime operations, international and transnational criminal law and history of international law. His publications include Shipping Interdiction and the Law of the Sea (Cambridge University Press 2009) and numerous articles and chapters on maritime security, Somali piracy, naval warfare, and the South China Sea dispute.
LCIL Friday Lecture: 'Minorities and the Making of Postcolonial States in International Law' - Dr Mohammad Shahabuddin, University of Birmingham
Lecture summary: While the Rohingya genocide is one of the worst incidents against minorities in recent times, ethno-nationalism and minority oppression in various forms and intensities are defining features of postcolonial states in general. Whereas most states, including Western liberal democracies, are not completely immune from ethno-nationalism and the minority ‘problem’, question remains, why are postcolonial states more vulnerable to this phenomenon? Also, why do postcolonial states respond to ethnic tensions in the manner in which they do? And, what role does international law play in all these?
Minorities and the Making of Postcolonial States in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2021) analyses the geneses of ethno-nationalism in postcolonial states, and articulates how the postcolonial state operates as an ideology to address the ‘minority problem’. The ideological function of the postcolonial ‘national’, ‘liberal’, and ‘developmental’ state inflicts various forms of marginalisation on minorities but simultaneously justify the oppression in the name of national unity, equality and non-discrimination, and economic development. International law plays a central role in the ideological making of the postcolonial state in relation to postcolonial boundaries, liberal-individualist architecture of rights, and neoliberal economic vision of development. In the process, international law subjugates minority interests and in turn aggravates the problem of ethno-nationalism in postcolonial states. With these arguments, the book thus offers an ideology critique of the postcolonial state and examines the role of international law therein.
Dr Mohammad Shahabuddin is a Reader in International Law and Human Rights at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham.
He is also a Faculty Member for Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP). He holds a PhD in international law from SOAS, University of London. Shahab is the author of Ethnicity and International Law: Histories, Politics and Practices (Cambridge University Press, 2016). He has recently been awarded the prestigious Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2018-2020) for writing his new monograph – Minorities and the Making of Postcolonial States in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2021).
LCIL Panel Discussion: 'Business and Human Rights in Domestic Courts - Contemporary Developments and Future Prospects'
Join us for a panel discussion on contemporary developments and future prospects in business and human rights litigation involving transnational corporations.
The expert panellists will discuss recent developments in UK courts, including legal and policy implications of the Supreme Court’s decision in Vedanta Resources (which paved the way for Zambian citizens to bring tort claims in English courts against UK-based Vedanta Resources) and the forthcoming Supreme Court appeal involving claims against Royal Dutch Petroleum in respect of environmental harm alleged to have been caused by its Nigerian subsidiary.
The discussion will involve comparative and practical perspectives and will examine the broader policy and normative concerns arising from business and human rights litigation for the responsibility of non-state actors, transnational corporate governance and international law more generally.