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Public Lectures and Other Events

28 October 2021: Thomas Franck Lecture by Cathryn Costello

"The 1951 Refugee Convention at 70: Whither the Convention in the Global Refugee Regime?”

"When you do have a clear norm, you cannot say, let us dismantle non-refoulement, as we are going to get called out for that and you don’t want other states to violate non-refoulement either. But you reframe the issue [as hybrid attack]. And maybe this is so patiently transparently illegal that it is not going to catch upon. But on the other hand […] Ursula van der Leyen explicitly recognised that the EU was facing […] a hybrid attack.“

26 September 2019: Panel Discussion "What Type of International Law?"

Panel Discussion "What Type of International Law?"

13 May 2019: Thomas Franck Lecture by Alain Pellet

“Values and Power Relations – The “Disillusionment” of International Law”

“The most likely development I think we can expect will be the coexistence of two (…) “legal worlds”. On the one hand, an inter-State law brutally regulating political relations between human groups whitewashed by nationalism; on the other hand, a transnational or “a-national” law regulating economic relations between private as well as public interests. There are, I believe, two obvious victims (…) of this foreseeable evolution: the human being on the one hand, the certainty and effectiveness of the rule of law itself on the other hand.”

11 February 2019: Thomas Franck Lecture by Martti Koskenniemi

"International Lawyers and the Backlash against Global Rule"

"The reactionary backlash against everything international is the result of a status lost (...). It’s occasioned by developments in the West since the 1960’s, but peaking in the liberal hubris in the 1990s. The sharp end of the attack has been directed to a global expert culture that is seen as utterly hypocritical in two ways: it presents one part of its opinions as scientific or technical truths and another part of its opinions as human rights."

04 February 2019: Thomas Franck Lecture by Laurence Boisson de Chazournes

“The Paris Climate Change instruments as a blueprint for new legal approaches?”

"We have reached a point where States, in fact, are not any more willing to commit in a drastic manner. States are more and more challenging these commitments and when they do commit they emphasize their political nature. But on the other hand, we also have an international community composed of non-State actors who want States to do more, or the international community to do more. So shouldn’t we think about another way of doing it internationally?"

23 October 2018: Public Lecture by Mikael Rask Madsen

“The European Court of Human Rights: From Boom to Backlash"

25 June 2018: Thomas Franck Lecture by Sir Franklin Berman

"Authority in International Law"

"I’ve spoken about authority in the context laid out by Article 38 of the ICJ Statute, that is, where and how we look when subsidiary means are needed to determine already existing rules of law. […] I’ve suggested that when the need for law determination does occur, sources with appropriate authority are readily there to be found, that they stand in no hierarchical relationship to one another, nor do they need to. I’ve argued that rational criteria exist as to which ones deserve to be featured with greater authority in a particular case."

9 June 2018: Panel Discussion “Human Rights in Crisis – Challenged Human Rights Protection as Sign of a Transformation of International Law?”

“Human Rights in Crisis – Challenged Human Rights Protection as Sign of a Transformation of International Law?”

04. Juni 2018: Podiumsdiskussion "Recht und Sicherheit Global - Politische und völkerrechtliche Aspekte einer Mitgliedschaft Deutschlands im UN-Sicherheitsrat"

"Recht und Sicherheit Global - Politische und völkerrechtliche Aspekte einer Mitgliedschaft Deutschlands im UN-Sicherheitsrat"

23 April 2018: Thomas Franck Lecture by Terje Einarsen

"Decline of International Refugee Law?"

"Maybe the answer is still 'blowing in the wind' - we don't know yet what will happen. But it is possible that with the Global Compact and the follow-up mechanisms we are moving to a new stage - that international refugee law might eventually become at least a young adult. This means that I'm still cautiously optimistic about the future of international refugee law."

4 December 2017: Thomas Franck Lecture by Andrea Bianchi

“The Unbearable Lightness of International Law”

"It is by becoming aware of having a choice between possible options, by realizing one has discretion, that one experiences a moment of vertigo. This moment consists of the vertigo of professional freedom, when we realize it might well be the other way. After all, this is the unbearable lightness, the emotional experience we go through when we realize that international law might not be at all what we think it is."

30 November 2017: Thomas Franck Lecture by Angelika Nußberger

“From high hopes to disillusionment? Human rights protection in Europe in an ever more hostile environment.”

"What if you say you have accepted to play with a cat that might grow, but all of a sudden, the cat has turned into a tiger? What is development and what is metamorphosis?"

13 November 2017: Thomas Franck Lecture by Bardo Fassbender

“The International Rule of Law and the United Nations Charter - Original Design and Present Challenges”

"Notwithstanding the changes in language and style, the drafters of the UN Charter would have subscribed almost 500 years later to Nicholas Upton’s thought: ‘The annoying and hurtful appetite of men for power and gains must be controlled by the Rule of Law which informs mankind of how to live honestly’ and, they would have added, ‘peacefully’."

4 July 2017: Public Event "International Law in an Era of Populism" - Indiana University Joint Speaker Series

"International Law in an Era of Populism" - Indiana University Joint Speaker Series

24 June 2017: Panel Discussion “International law in crisis – On the challenges caused by terrorism and populism”

"International Law in Crisis – On the Challenges Caused by Terrorism and Populism"

21 June 2017: Thomas Franck Lecture by Campbell McLachlan

“Acts of State and the Principle of Legality in International Affairs - The law’s response to withdrawal from international adjudication”

"We must defend international courts against a tide of withdrawal that, calling forth a siren song of nativism, would seek to criticize international adjudication as intervening in national self-determination, when in reality the international court is seeking to protect other states and individuals from unbridled executive power by applying the principle of legality in international affairs."

6 February 2017: Thomas Franck Lecture by Jean d'Aspremont

"International Law as a Belief System"

"The suspension of the belief system teaches you that the interpretation of a doctrine is not the interpretation of the fundamental authoritative text where they are nested. What you interpret when you intervene to adjust a doctrine is not the text itself. In doing that, it makes you more powerful reformers, it makes you more aware of how you can intervene in the making, remaking, unmaking of these fundamental doctrines."

15 December 2016: Thomas Franck Lecture by Andrew Hurrell

"The End of the Global Rule of Law?"

"We can imagine a world in which some big power bargains are done between governments whose concerns are not particularly attractive; we can imagine a world where there is a withdrawal from much of the solidarist law and activity in human rights and democracy; we can imagine a world in which there is a lot more sovereigntism in international regimes and institutions. And we can plausibly say that that might not be a completely unstable world. It would not be a defeat for the idea of the Global Rule of Law, it would be a defeat for a particular idea of what law should achieve."

12 December 2016: Thomas Franck Lecture by Robert McCorquodale

"Defining the International Rule of Law: Providing Reality to a National Legal Idea"

"It is inappropriate to use the type of institutions found in most national systems to determine if there is a rule of law in the international system and to seek to find the same procedural aspects of national law in an international rule of law. The rule of law remains about values or meta-principles within a system, and constraints on the use of power […]."

17 October 2016: Thomas Franck Lecture by Pierre-Marie Dupuy

"Are we facing a 'Disenchantment' (Entzauberung) of the International Legal Order?"

"The pursuit of peace and the renunciation of recourse to force today still constitutes a crucial direction of travel, together with the promotion of human rights and the right of humanity. In order to give the Charter back its messianic dimension, however, we need to add to it the inherently universal cause of guarding and restoring the health of the planet."

18 June 2016: KFG at the ICON-S-Conference 2016 on "Borders, Otherness and Public Law"

Panel on "The International Rule of Law - Rise or Decline?"

15 June 2016: Thomas Franck Lecture by Jutta Brunnée

"The Global Climate Regime 1992-2016: Shifting Norms, Changing Structures and Moving Targets"

"What we have now in the Paris Agreement is in part shaped by three big longer term developments: The first one is a shift in the collective understanding of common but differentiated responsibilities. The second one is the change in the structure of the climate regime and the blending of the traditional treaty based modes with other, more bottom-up, approaches. The third on is a range of movements with respect to the emission targets."

18 April 2016: Thomas Franck Lecture by Angela Kane

"Abrüstungsverträge in der UN: Erwartungen und Chancen"

"Die gegenwärtige Stimmung ist abwartend bis negativ, die Unzufriedenheit groß, die Kluft zwischen Nuklearstaaten und Nicht-Nuklearstaaten erweitert sich mit jedem Jahr und der Wille, zugunsten des Gemeinwohls nationale Abstriche zu machen ist - um es vorsichtig auszudrücken - kaum vorhanden."

14 April 2016: Inaugural Thomas Franck International Law Debate

"The International Rule of Law: Rise or Decline in a Changing Global Order?"

24 September 2015: Opening of the Wengler library

On September 24th, the Wengler library at Humboldt University Berlin was officially opened.

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