I have uploaded a new paper on the Judgment of the International Court of Justice in Jurisdictional Immunities of States (2012). It was written for the Conference ‘The ICJ’s Judicial Year in Review’, which took place in 25-26 April 2013 at the European University Institute. The conference was superbly directed by professors Andreas Zimmermann and Eyal Benvenisti. Here is the abstract of the paper which will be publish with the rest of the presentations in the next issue of the Journal of International Dispute Settlement (October 2013).

Of Plumbers and Social Architects: Elements and Problems of the Judgment of the International Court of Justice in Jurisdictional Immunities of States

Carlos Espósito


This analysis of the judgment of the International Court of Justice in the Jurisdictional Immunities case is conducted in two parts. The first briefly presents the basic elements of the judgment of the Court in Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v Italy: Greece intervening); the second part identifies and discusses some problems raised by the judgment. These include the legal character of the rule of state immunity, the limits of the positivist methodology to establish state practice as evidence of customary international law and its exceptions, and the troubles with a strictly procedural approach to consider a possible exception to immunity for serious violations of international law and international humanitarian law. The comment concludes with a brief general assessment of the judgment of the Court, its role and the future development of the law of state immunities by national courts.


Guantánamo – Joan Fontcuberta

El lunes 4 de marzo a las 17:00 horas tendremos en el seminario de derecho internacional de la Facultad de Derecho de la UAM (Sem DI-UAM) a Nicolas Lamp (London School of Economics), para discutir su artículo «Conceptions of War and Paradigms of Compliance: The ‘New War’ Challenge to International Humanitarian Law». El artículo ganó en 2012 el premio Francis Lieber, que otorga la American Society of International Law a un trabajo de excelencia sobre el derecho de los conflictos armados. El artículo se puede descargar gratuitamente desde el sitio web del Journal of Conflict & Security Law, en «2012 ASIL Lieber Prize»). La presentación será en inglés, pero se podrá formular preguntas en español, porque Nicolas entiende nuestra lengua. Aquí está el abstract:

The article argues that the so-called ‘new wars’ pose a fundamental challenge to international humanitarian law (IHL). Although not historically new, this type of war differs in crucial respects from the conception of war that underlies the traditional paradigm of compliance of IHL. At the heart of this paradigm lie certain assumptions: that IHL embodies a compromise between the interests of the warring parties and humanitarian concerns, and that the warring parties face a number of incentives to comply with the law. The article argues that these assumptions lose their plausibility under the circumstances of the ‘new wars’. As a result, the traditional enforcement mechanisms of IHL invariably fail in these conflicts. The second part of the article discusses the international legal response to the ‘new wars’. In particular, it considers international criminal prosecutions, the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross and measures by the United Nations Security Council. In the common elements of these measures the article identifies the contours of a new paradigm of compliance in IHL that shifts the emphasis from voluntary compliance to external enforcement.

Sin mayor transcendencia mediática, la Corte Penal Internacional (CPI) festejó ayer su primera década de existencia. La CPI fue creada por el Estatuto de Roma en 1998 y entró en vigor el 1 de julio de 2002. Actualmente, 121 Estados han reconocido el rol de este foro de justicia internacional, aunque no lo han hecho países relevantes como Estados Unidos o Israel.

El establecimiento de una Corte de carácter permanente representó un avance decisivo en el ámbito de la justicia internacional, ya que se trata del primer tribunal internacional de carácter permanente que tiene jurisdicción para intervenir en los crímenes internacionales mencionados en el Estatuto de Roma (crímenes de genocidio, de lesa humanidad y crímenes de guerra). Pero la CPI puede ejercer su jurisdicción sólo si el Estado que también pudiera tenerla se encontrara impedido, imposibilitado o sin voluntad de llevar adelante una investigación o un proceso judicial por la comisión de tales conductas criminales.

El Estatuto de Roma significó una promesa a las víctimas de violaciones masivas a los derechos humanos y al derecho internacional humanitario en el sentido de que recibirán justicia y que la rendición de cuentas de quienes las hayan cometido contribuirá a la reconstrucción de sociedades afectadas por la violencia.

Desde sus inicios y debido a su propia y amarga experiencia, la Argentina apoyó el establecimiento de la CPI y defendió su independencia, efectividad e integridad, convencida de la necesidad de poner fin a la impunidad de los responsables de los peores crímenes. Asimismo, nuestro país aportó el primer Fiscal de la CPI, Luis Moreno Ocampo, y tiene actualmente  entre sus jueces a otro connacional, Silvia Fernández.

En su primera década de existencia, 15 casos en 7 situaciones han sido llevados ante la CPI. Tres Estados Partes del Estatuto de Roma –Uganda, la República Democrática del Congo y la República Centroafricana–, han remitido situaciones que ocurren en sus territorios a la Corte. Además, el Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas remitió las situaciones en Darfur (Sudán) y Libia, ninguno de ellos Estados Partes del Estatuto. Asimismo, en 2010 se autorizó a la Fiscalía para abrir una investigación de oficio en la situación de Kenia y, en 2011, para hacerlo en la de Côte d’Ivoire.

La segunda mitad del siglo XX observó una variación fundamental en el derecho internacional al reconocerse que el individuo es sujeto de este ordenamiento jurídico y que la dignidad de la persona humana es un valor fundamental. La CPI, al castigar las violaciones a esos derechos, representa un avance fundamental para la convivencia de toda la humanidad.

It is a great opportunity. The project is very interesting and the position is based at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law in Cambridge. The closing date for applications is 27 February 2012. Good luck with your applications! Here is the information:

British Red Cross Research Fellow

Location: Cambridge
Salary: Between £25,000 – £27,000 per annum
Contract: Fixed Term Contract until 31st December 2013
Hours: Full Time (35hrs per wk)
Closing Date: Midnight 27 February 2012


The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

This British Red Cross (BRC) is a part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (Movement). As such, we work to disseminate knowledge of and to encourage respect for international humanitarian law.  We co-operate closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in these areas.

In January 1995, the Intergovernmental Group of Experts for the Protection of War Victims met in Geneva and adopted a series of recommendations aimed at enhancing respect for international humanitarian law, in particular by means of preventive measures that would ensure better knowledge and more effective implementation of the law.

Recommendation II of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts proposed that:

 The ICRC be invited to prepare, with the assistance of experts in IHL [international humanitarian law] representing various geographical regions and different legal systems, and in consultation with experts from governments and international organisations, a report on customary rules of IHL applicable in international and non-international armed conflicts, and to circulate the report to States and competent international bodies.

In December 1995, the 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent endorsed this recommendation and officially mandated the ICRC to prepare a report on customary rules of international humanitarian law applicable in international and non-international armed conflicts.  The outcome of the research carried out pursuant to this mandate was published in 2005 and consists of two volumes. Volume I contains a list of 161 rules deemed to be part of customary law, and commentary thereto, while Volume II contains the supporting material.

Since 2005, Volume I has been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Turkish. Translations of Volume I into Japanese and Portuguese are expected to be published soon. Although there are no current plans to update Volume I, work has been continuing since 2007 to update Volume II. This work is being conducted through a joint project of the ICRC and BRC, based at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge.

The purpose of updating Volume II is for government and military lawyers, legal practitioners, judges, legal personnel of international organisations and non-governmental organisations, legal officers of the Movement and academics to have easy access to accurate, extensive and geographically diverse information on practice in the field of international humanitarian law. It will also facilitate a possible future update of Volume I.

Since August 2010, both Volume I and Volume II have been freely available online through the ICRC’s Customary IHL Database.


The post holder will be part of a three-person research team based at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge. The work is co-ordinated and overseen on a day-to-day basis by a team leader. The researchers are employed by the BRC and for these purposes, report to the Head of International Law of the BRC.

The substantive work of the researchers is carried out under the direct supervision of the head of project, i.e. the ICRC legal adviser in charge of the project on customary international humanitarian law. The head of project will be in regular communication with the team from Geneva via telephone and email and, from time to time, will travel to Cambridge to meet with the team and evaluate progress.

Overall Purpose of the Post

To up-date the collection of practice supporting the ICRC Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law.

Click here for more information on this vacancy:  Research Fellow IHL Job Description.Jan 2012.doc
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