Commissions of Inquiry into Armed Conflict, Breaches of the Laws of War and Human Rights Abuses: Process, Standards, and Lessons Learned
Over the last decade, international commissions of inquiry have increasingly been used to conduct fact-finding investigations and report on alleged international law violations by states or other parties to conflicts. Recent examples include the UN expert panel to investigate alleged human rights abuses in the Sri Lankan civil war, and the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia. There have also been domestic commissions of inquiry into the Iraq war. Speakers will consider: When should such commissions be established? What should their guiding purpose be? What should be the structures of accountability and independence? What lessons have been learned about process? How does politicization occur and why? And, are these commissions effective?
Moderator: PHILIP G. ALSTON New York University School of Law
Speakers: AGNIESZKA JACHE NEALE University of Essex
HEIDI TAGLIAVINI Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Switzerland
International law, and the world in which it operates, are increasingly both harmonious and dissonant. The Society’s Annual Meeting in 2011 will focus on the evolution of international law in the context of this paradox.
The paradox of simultaneous segmentation and seamlessness raises important questions. Most broadly, when should international law be segmented, and when should it be seamless? What are the mechanisms for deciding this question, and what are the values that inform those decisions? What do these trends say about international law as a coherent system? To what extent are certain groups and their viewpoints excluded or ignored? What does this say about who the influential players within the international legal system are, and how that influence is exercised? What does the existence of competing conceptions of international law itself mean for ASIL's constituents, including judges deciding international issues, practitioners seeking to persuade courts and craft international policy, and scholars seeking to understand and propose solutions to global problems?
Society members are uniquely positioned to tackle these questions with their diverse perspectives, experiences, and areas of expertise, and their unifying commitment to investigating the limits and possibilities of international law. We look forward to an exciting and dynamic meeting that will examine such trends, and their implications for international law and legal institutions in the 21st century.
Philip Alston is an international law scholar and human rights practitioner. He is John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University School of Law and co-Chair of the law school's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice.
In human rights law, Alston has held a range of senior UN appointments for well over two decades, including, since 2004, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
Agnieszka Jachec-Neale holds a Masters of Science in Law and Administration from the University of Gdansk (Poland). In addition to her postgraduate studies at the same university specializing in international criminal law, she is currently pursuing doctorate studies in laws of armed conflict at the University of Essex.
Heidi Tagliavini is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Switzerland.