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 Decline of the Big Five

Is the supremacy of the Big Five, inherited from the mid-20th century, on the brink of its decline? Have the Big Five started to lose informal privileges which have been bestowed upon them over the past 70 years? Will that be followed by the reduction in, or even total abolition of, formal privileges? While answering all these questions in the affirmative would certainly be too audacious, there are signs indicating that the privileged position of the Big Five is no longer accepted without reserves. Veronika Bílková analyzes this current trend in her reflection. (Veronika Bílková)

Czech version available here.

Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel – acknowledging the obvious, or an illegitimate act?

On December 6, 2017, the US president Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital city of the State of Israel and announced his plan to move the American embassy there. The majority of States have reacted with condemnation or unease to this decision; a minority, including the Czech Republic, have expressed their understanding or, in some cases, even support for it. The divide within the international community demonstrated itself also in the UN General Assembly. The resolution criticizing the attempts to change the status of Jerusalem unilaterally was adopted by 128 votes in favor, with 9 States voting against and 35, including the Czech Republic, abstaining. In the UN Security Council, a resolution with a very similar content got support from 1 States but could not be adopted due to the US veto. What makes the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel such a controversial issue? Is it not after all, as Trump said, just the recognition of the obvious? What led the General Assembly to express its deep regret at the US decision and label it as legally problematic? These questions will be addressed in the following International Law Reflection of the Centre for International Law of the IIR. (Veronika Bílková)

Czech version available here.

The American President Donald Trump and “The Worst” Deal

Donald Trump, as the Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 pre-election talks, began to call the agreement dealing with the Iranian nuclear program from June 2015 “the worst" political deal ever. Since his election in November 2016, this pejorative labeling of the agreement with its various variations has continued and he does not conceal his interest in its cancellation. This is an important part of Trump's overall assertive strategy towards Iran, which coincides with a similar policy of two major US allies in the region, i.e. Israel and Saudi Arabia. In addition to his declared concern about the possibility of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons after the expiry of the agreement, it appears that the main cause of his position is the growing Iranian influence in the Middle East region, particularly in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, and Iran’s support of the Islamic movements Hezbollah and Hamas, which are marked as terrorist groups. (Miroslav Tůma)

Kurdistan and Catalonia as new states? Caught between sovereignty and peoples’ right to self-determination

During recent weeks, two major referenda have taken place with serious ambition: to create new states by secession, one in Catalonia in Spain, one in the Kurdish territory in Iraq. The current analysis sheds light to the international legal background of similar situations and their possible consequence under the current legalpolitical circumstances. (Tamás Lattmann)

Czech version available here.

Preliminary legal opinion from the European Court of Justice – maybe green light to the emergency relocation system, hundred meters after having left the crossing

The Opinion of Advocate General Yves Bot, published on 26 July 2017 signals an important step towards closing the legal case initiated by Slovakia and Hungary against the provisional mechanism for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers, created by the Council in September of 2015 to assist Greece and Italy. It is not favourable towards the two member states’ arguments, it proposes that the Court shall dismiss them, and uphold the  Council’s decision. This Reflection analyses the original decision, the arguments and the possible political consequences. Read the International Law Reflection in Hungarian here. (Tamás Lattmann)

The Historically Important Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Was Adopted

Entirely unnoticed by the Czech media, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (NWT) was approved on July 7 2017, the last day of the second round of the UN Conference in New York.  The session was preceded by its first round, which took place in the second half of March of this year (see the following International Law Reflections no. 10, November 11, 2016, no. 1, March 1, 2017 and no. 5, May 2, 2017 and no. 8 June 23, 2017). (Miroslav Tůma)

Preliminary legal opinion from the European Court of Justice – maybe green light to the emergency relocation system, hundred meters after having left the crossing

The Opinion of Advocate General Yves Bot, published on 26 July 2017 signals an important step towards closing the legal case initiated by Slovakia and Hungary against the provisional mechanism for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers, created by the Council in September of 2015 to assist Greece and Italy. It is not favourable towards the two member states’ arguments, it proposes that the Court shall dismiss them, and uphold the  Council’s decision. This Reflection analyses the original decision, the arguments and the possible political consequences. Read the International Law Reflection in Hungarian here. (Tamás Lattman)

Does the Negotiated Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Contradict the Treaty on the NonProliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)?

As regards nuclear disarmament negotiations, the year 2017 has been exceptional so far. The main reason for such praise is that this year, the historically unprecedented two-stage negotiations regarding the Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons have begun at the UN conference in New York. The first round of the talks already took place on March 27–3, 2017, the second one began on June 15 and will finish on July 7, 2017 (see the following International Law Reflections no. 10, November 11, 2016, no. 1, March 1, 2017 and no. 5, May 2, 2017). (Miroslav Tůma)

What future for Peace? The changing nature of democratic governance and the military organization

Vincent Bernard, the editor in chief of the International Review of the Red Cross (ICRC), has recently written the ‘world seems to be entering a period of selfishness, of one-sided power grabs and of rallying around murderous identities.’ This post considers what hope there is for peace. (Pauline Collins)

Attack on the CEU in Hungary - Attack only on academic freedom?

In 2014, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has declared to build an “illiberal state” in Hungary, while constantly referring to leaders like Vladimir Putin in Russia or Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey as examples. This has been seen by many as a gradual march toward authoritarianism. While this – and many other policies – have been heavily criticized by many ever since, these have gained a new momentum with the prime minister and his circles turning against the Central European University. (Tamás Lattmann)

A promising beginning of negotiations of a convention banning nuclear weapons

(This reflection follows up on International Law Reflections no. 10 from November 10, 2016, and no. 1 from March 1, 2017.)

The first round of talks regarding the negotiations of a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons (their use, production, ownership, etc.) took place on March 27–31, 2017, at the UN Headquarters in New York under the presidency of Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica. The second, and final round of talks, during which the finalization and adoption of the proposed convention is expected, should take place in New York from June 15 to July 7, 2017. (Miroslav Tůma)

Do Two Wrongs Make a Right? The Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria and the US attack

On Thursday 6 April 2017, the US carried out a missile strike in Syria. It did so in response to the chemical attack which had taken place two days earlier in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, in the rebel-controlled part of the Idlib province, killing 80 and seriously injuring more than 200 civilians. The chemical attack has been uniformly condemned. The US attack, on the contrary, has attracted not only criticism but also statements of support and of praise. This is surprising provided that the two attacks both constitute a clear violation of some of the most fundamental norms of the international legal order. And that the latter attack may potentially threaten the stability of this order, and the values it protects, not less than the former one. (Veronika Bílková)

Read more here...

Our Team

Doc. JUDr. PhDr. Veronika Bílková, Ph.D., E.MA

Co-ordinator of the Centre for International Law

Tamás Lattmann JD PhD

Member of the Centre for International Law

JUDr. Miroslav Tůma (plk. v.v.)

Associate Member of the Centre for International Law





Up