Centre for International Law
Centre for International Law of the Institute of International Relations
International law is the main normative tool regulating the relationships among states and other international actors (international organizations, individuals, non-state actors). Changes in international relations bring about changes in international law, which has to react to new challenges. Since the end of the Cold War, a lot of new challenges have arisen – globalization, the increased role of non-state actors, the new emphasis placed on human rights, new approaches to the protection of the environment and mass migration waves.
The new Centre for International Law (CIL), which was established within the Institute of International Relations in spring 2016, endeavours to analyse these challenges and the way in which international law responds to them. The Centre will deal with various international law issues. Reflecting, however, the research profiles of its members and the long-term priorities of the foreign policy of the Czech Republic, it will place particular emphasis upon the following areas of international law: human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, the fight against terrorism, the use of force in international relations, and international organizations.
The Centre will produce three categories of outputs: academic articles contributing to the debate in a specific area of international law; policy-oriented papers addressed to the representatives of the Czech public institutions, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and popularizing articles that would expound international law issues to the general public in the Czech Republic. The Centre has the ambition of being international in terms of the quality of its outputs, and national in terms of its capacity to contribute to the national debate and spread knowledge about international law in the Czech Republic.
International Law Reflection
The Hague-based International Criminal Court, the world’s first temporary judicial forum, created in 1998 by the adoption of the Rome Statute, has been living difficult times during the past months. After years of struggle since its operations have started in 2002, the second half of 2016 has brought withdrawals, threats for withdrawals, and even a visibly collective strategy for a mass withdrawal of African states from the system. What keeps states in a similar structure, what makes them seriously consider a withdrawal, and what is the possible future of the International Criminal Court (ICC)? (Tamás Lattmann)
The answer to this question can, to a certain extent, be found in the significant resolution of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security Committee), which was approved within the framework of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly at the end of October this year. The title of Resolution A/C.1/71/L.41 calls for progress in multilateral negotiations (Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations). Its significance, and we could also say its historically unprecedented character, lies in Article 8 of the operative part, which contains the decision …to convene in 2017 a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. The conference should take place in New York during two time periods (from 27 to 31 March and from 15 June to July 7) with the participation of UN member states, unspecified international organizations and civil society representatives. The mentioned article was added to the resolution based on a recommendation of the conclusion report of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG), which held talks in Geneva during the first half of 2016 on the evaluation of new legal measures and necessary norms to attain a nuclear-weapon-free world. To demonstrate their disagreement with the OEWG mandate, none of the nuclear-weapon states participated in the negotiations. Any disagreements were thus presented by representatives of allied or partner countries of the nuclear-weapon states (as the nuclear-weapon states provided the allied or partner countries with a so-called nuclear umbrella) which were taking part in the talks. (Miroslav Tůma)
In 2015, two new conceptual documents were adopted in the Czech Republic, under the Government of Bohuslav Sobotka – the general Concept of the Czech Republic´s Foreign Policy and a more specific Concept of Human Rights Promotion and Transition Cooperation. The former document replaced an older text entitled Conceptual Basis of the Foreign Policy of the Czech Republic which had been adopted in 2011 by the Government of Petr Nečas. The latter document builds on the 2010 Concept of Transition Policy but it is broader in scope, covering not only transition policy/cooperation but also human rights promotion. (Veronika Bílková)
The migration crisis has stirred up political debates within the EU and its member states regarding not only possible solutions, but also about the future of the organisation. The first shock has come in the form of the Brexit referendum, the second one could have been the referendum in Hungary “against the quota system”, as the initiating government has calculated. The current analysis gives information about the referendum, and examines its possible effects in the near future. (Tamás Lattmann)
Co-ordinator of the Centre for International Law
Member of the Centre for International Law
Associate Member of the Centre for International Law