Amsterdam Research Institute for Legal Studies

Specially-Affected States & International Organizations

Rising Actors in the Formation & Identification of Customary International Law

6 June 2018

The International Law Commission (ILC) adopted the Draft Conclusions on Identification of Customary International Law on first reading in 2016 (UN Doc. A/71/10). These Draft Conclusions are an important resource in a classic and thorny area of international law.

This workshop organised by ACIL aimed to explore the position of two actors in the process of forming and identifying customary international law: first, ‘specially-affected states’, as they have been famously termed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ); and, second, international organizations. Both of them play only a modest role in the Draft Conclusions.

Some of the questions discussed at this workshop included: have the Draft Conclusions, in terms of doctrine, theory and practice, properly accounted for specially-affected states and international organizations? Or should the final Conclusions – which are due to be adopted by the ILC later this year – accord them greater prominence?

Speakers at the event included:

  • Sienho Yee, Wuhan University (Specially Affected States in CIL Formation: Reflections on Criteria for Generality, Widespreadness, Representativeness, International Organizations in CIL Formation: Reflections on Possible Criteria for Possible Contributions);
  • Tullio Treves, University of Milan (Why the Draft Conclusions should not make reference to specially affected States)
  • Tom Ruys, University of Ghent (All States are equal, but some are more equal than others. Challenging the SAS doctrine)
  • Larissa van den Herik, University of Leiden (The UN and the use of sanctions and self-defence against non-state actors: Reporting requirements as a channel for custom formation)
  • Jean d’Aspremont, University of Manchester / Sciences Po Paris (International organizations and the formation of custom: mutualization or separate identification?)

The event was organised and moderated by Kevin Jon Heller and Catherine Brölmann, both of the University of Amsterdam.

  • mr. dr. C.M. (Catherine) Brölmann

    Associate Professor
    T: 0205252705
    T: 0205252632

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Published by  ACIL