University of Georgia Professor Peters, of Grady College and School of Law, presents on digital freedom of assembly in EU-funded project supporting civil society in West Balkans and Turkey

Pleased today to welcome a contribution from our colleague Jonathan Peters, an associate professor who has faculty appointments in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Law at the University of Georgia. Dr. Peters teaches and researches in the area of media law and policy, and his post here discusses his participation November 4 in an online panel about freedom of peaceful assembly.

I had the opportunity last week to be part of an event hosted by Technical Assistance to Civil Society Organisations in the Western Balkans and Turkey (TACSO), which is a project funded by the European Union (EU) that provides support to civil society organizations (CSOs) in the region to help them contribute to public debate and democratic processes.

The two-day event, organized in cooperation with the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL), gathered dozens of CSOs and public institutions for panels about emerging issues and trends affecting civil-society work and for exchanges about best practices in monitoring and advocacy.

I spoke on the panel “Freedom of Assembly in a Digital Age: Monitoring Online Assemblies,” along with my colleagues Francesca Fanucci, senior legal advisor at ECNL, and Florin Gisca, legal expert at Promo-LEX. Francesca covered digitally-mediated assemblies in general, and Florin explained efforts in Moldova to monitor such assemblies, while I discussed my work for ECNL to develop a related monitoring tool for use in the region and beyond.

Traditionally, the definition of peaceful assembly included physical gatherings of individuals to protest, commemorate, exchange views, and so on. But our increasingly digital world has opened up new ways to organize assemblies and new spaces in which to hold them. Digitally-mediated assembly is the umbrella term for all types of assemblies with a digital component, of which there are basically three:

  1. Digitally-enabled assemblies: These occur in a physical space but are facilitated by digital communication technologies.
  2. Digitally-based assemblies: These are sometimes called online assemblies, and they occur entirely in a virtual space, typically on a social media platform.
  3. Hybrid assemblies: These have elements of digitally-based and digitally-enabled assemblies.

For example, people have gathered online during the pandemic to express common sentiments and to protest everything from public health mandates to abortion restrictions. This has happened all over the world and in particular in Europe: in Hungary, Moldova, and Poland. Where physical protests have been suspended or unsafe to organize, they have frequently moved online.

With that in mind, on last week’s panel I discussed my ongoing work to develop a monitoring tool to allow CSOs to collect data about digitally-mediated assemblies to provide understanding of how they take place and the extent to which they are enabled, facilitated, and protected by government and private actors—as well as any special opportunities and challenges that such assemblies present.

  • Among the opportunities: Digitally-mediated assemblies can be easier to organize, they can reduce physical dangers to participants, and they can simplify administrative procedures for organizers.
  • Among the challenges: Digitally-mediated assemblies can be disrupted by platform content moderation, they can be weakened by the digital divide, and they can be undermined by the viral spread of misinformation and disinformation.

This is just a selection of the issues that I hope monitors will be able to explore, and I’m eager to continue working with ECNL and others to support the CSOs that will do the actual monitoring.

Professor Natalia Pires de Vasconcelos to speak Tuesday on inequality and health litigation amid pandemic in Brazil

Professor Natalia Pires de Vasconcelos, who was a Visiting Scholar here at the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center earlier this year, will discuss legal challenges to inequities in health care in Brazil in an online presentation that our Center will host from 12 noon to 1 p.m. next Tuesday, November 9.

Pires is Assistant Professor of Law at Insper São Paulo, Brazil, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy, Yale Law School. She is a founding member of the Center for the Analysis of Liberty and Authoritarianism, a Brazilian thinkthank known by its acronym, LAUT. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Law from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and an LL.M. from Yale Law School. Her scholarship concerns social and economic rights in Latin America, with a focus on the right to health and health litigation.

In her presentation Tuesday, Pires will discuss “Business as Usual: Inequality and Health Litigation during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Brazil.” Here’s her précis:

Brazil’s active judicial system has the power to define the constitutional content of the country’s healthcare policy by forcing the government to embrace equal protection of the right to health. In this talk, I present the results of an upcoming chapter in which I compare the pandemic’s effect on the judicial protection of the right to health for those incarcerated and those who are free. In both cases, courts had serious incentives to take the pandemic seriously and consider its disproportionate impact on marginalized communities. The judicial system, however, has approached the COVID-19 pandemic as mostly ‘business as usual.’ For those who are free, courts endorsed a ‘right to everything,’ granting patients’ requests regardless of the potentially disruptive effects on public policy, unequal access to judicial services, and pressing priorities related to the pandemic. For those incarcerated, judges upheld a long-lasting ‘right to nothing,’ remaining indifferent to the public-health risks presented by overcrowded and unsanitary conditions of Brazilian prisons and denying thousands of early-release and house-arrest requests by people in prisons.

Register here to attend Pires’ online presentation.

Scholarly achievements, vibrant initiatives highlighted in newsletter of Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law

For a recap of the year’s research and global practice accomplishments, have a look at the just-published newsletter of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law. Features include:

► Welcome to our new professor, Zohra Ahmed, as well as scholarly achievements of our Center Director, Melissa J. Durkee, and our many other globally minded faculty, including Diane Marie Amann, Christopher Bruner, Jason Cade, Harlan G. Cohen, Walter Hellerstein, Thomas Kadri, Jonathan Peters, Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, and Laura Phillips Sawyer.

► The return of our International Law Colloquium in Spring 2022, a course featuring works-in-progress conversations with authors; this year’s edition will include international law scholars based in Latin America and Europe as well as the United States.

► Recent events, including our day-long conferences on international environmental law and on global healthcare governance cosponsored with the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law, our Consular Series of talks with diplomats, presentations by Visiting Scholars and other distinguished lawyers, our cohosting of International Law Weekend South with the American Branch of the International Law Association, and participation in panels at the American Society of International Law and other global meetings, as well as academic and civil-society roundtables.

Initiatives aimed at preparing our J.D. and LL.M. students for global legal practice, including our NATO Externship, our Global Externships, and the Global Governance Summer School we host in partnership with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance at Belgium’s University of Leuven, plus support for internationally minded students’ organizations, journal, and advocacy teams.

The full newsletter is here.

University of Georgia School of Law, School of Public & International Affairs scholars on panels at annual ASIL Midyear Meeting Research Forum

Scholars at the University of Georgia School of Law, as well as the university’s School of Public & International Affairs, will take part next week in the Midyear Meeting of the American Society of International Law.

This year’s Midyear Meeting will be held online. As an ASIL Academic Partner, we at the University of Georgia Dean Rusk International Law Center are honored to have hosted this annual event in Athens and Atlanta in 2012.

The 2021 Midyear, to take place November 11 and 12, will include a Research Forum featuring discussions among more than 70 international law scholars and a Practitioners’ Forum.

University of Georgia representation at the Research Forum includes these panels:

4:45-6:15 p.m., Thursday, November 11: Climate Change

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, who is Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor (pictured above left), will serve as discussant during this live panel for 2 papers:

  • “Climate Displacement: Revisions to the international legal framework to address refugees resulting from future climate crises,” by Christian Jorgensen and Eric Schmitz, American Red Cross
  • “A Parisian Consensus,” by Frederic Sourgens, Washburn University School of Law

4:45-6:15 p.m., Thursday, November 11: International Criminal Court

Diane Marie Amann, who is Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, and Faculty Co-Director of our Center (above second from left), will serve as discussant during this prerecorded panel for 3 papers:

  • “The Use of African Law at the International Criminal Court,” by Stewart Manley, University of Malaya
  • “From Hadžihasanović to Bemba and Beyond: Revisiting the application of command responsibility to armed groups,” by Joshua Niyo, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
  • “Dominic Ongwen: Sentencing and mitigation at the ICC,” Milena Sterio, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

2:45-4:15 p.m., Friday, November 12: Courts and Tribunals

Harlan G. Cohen, who is Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law (above right), and who holds a courtesy appointment at the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), will co-present a paper with a SPIA colleague, Professor Ryan Powers (above second from right), entitled “Judicialization and Public Support for Compliance with International Commitments.”

Mark Pollack, Temple University Beasley School of Law, will serve as discussant during this live panel for the Cohen-Powers paper and these 2 others:

  • “Does the Court Really Know the Law? The jura novit curia principle in fragmented international adjudication,” by Barbara Bazanth, New York University School of Law
  • “The Habre Effect? How An African Trial Shaped Justice Norms,” by Margaret deGuzman, Temple University Beasley School of Law

Georgia Law professors also are scheduled to take part in ASIL leadership meetings during the Midyear: Associate Dean Durkee in the meetings of the ASIL Executive Council and of the Board of Editors, American Journal of International Law; Professor Amann, an ASIL Counsellor, in the Executive Council meeting; and Professor Cohen in the meeting of the Board of Editors, American Journal of International Law.

Details, including the full ASIL Midyear program, and registration, which is free to students at Academic Partner schools like Georgia Law, are available here.

International lawyers, including several Georgia Law graduates, to speak Monday on “Careers in International Law”

We at the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center are honored to welcome a group of distinguished attorneys, including several of our graduates, for an online discussion of “Careers in International Law” from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. this Monday, November 8.

David Hull (JD’84), who is a Partner at the Van Bael & Bellis law firm in Brussels, Belgium, will moderate a panel featuring:

  • H. Vincent Draa (JD’84), Of Counsel, Kochhar & Co. LLC in Chicago
  • Catherine Gordley, Senior Associate at Van Bael & Bellis
  • David Hegwood (JD’83), Senior Advisor for Global Engagement at the U.S. Agency for International Development, based in Rome, Italy

Together, they’ll lead a conversation on global legal practice in a variety of settings, including private law firms, corporate legal departments, and governmental organizations.

Register here to attend the careers session.

Stockholm Declaration conference: link for “Anti-Racism, Decolonization, Environmental Protection” panel video

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High-level speeches and other events at COP26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties now under way in Glasgow, Scotland, underscores the timeliness of “The 1972 Stockholm Declaration at 50: Reflecting on a Half-Century of International Environmental Law” conference that we at the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law at the University of Georgia School of Law hosted on October 8.

And so, following on last week’s post outlining the first part of our daylong conference, we’re pleased in this post to recap the second segment, video of which is available here. (The full series, meanwhile, is available here.)

Featured in this segment is the day’s second panel, “Anti-Racism, Decolonization and Environmental Protection,” moderated by Harlan G. Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law (pictured above, top right). Joining him were 4 panelists (pictured clockwise from middle right): Sumudu Anopama Atapattu, Director of Research Centers and Senior Lecturer at Wisconsin Law; Robin Bronen, Executive Director of the Alaska Institute for Justice; Usha Natarajan, Edward W. Said Fellow at Columbia University; and Sarah Riley Case, Boulton Junior Fellow at McGill University Faculty of Law in Canada.

Together, they consider the part of Principle 1 of the Stockholm Declaration that declares:

“In this respect, policies promoting or perpetuating apartheid, racial segregation, discrimination, colonial and other forms of oppression and foreign domination stand condemned and must be eliminated.”

In view of that statement, panelists ask inter alia: whether and to what extent the substantive protections of international environmental law addresses environmental racism; whether and to what extent indigenous peoples, racial and ethnic minorities, or formerly colonized peoples can access, use, or affect the development of international environmental law; and whether and to what extent international environmental law has incorporated the concept of consent by affected communities.

Stay tuned for our video recap of the final conference segment.

Georgia Law Professor Bruner presents “Comparative Analysis of Common-Law Countries” in University of Oslo PhD Seminar on Companies and Markets

Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, co-presented a seminar entitled “Comparative Analysis of Common-Law Countries” as part of the PhD Seminar on Company and Markets that was hosted online in October by the Research Group on Companies, Markets and Sustainability, a unit of the Faculty of Law, Department of Private Law, at the University of Oslo in Norway.

Joining Bruner in presenting the seminar was Professor Carol Liao, Director of the Centre for Business Law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Scholars from Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom also presented in the course of the weeklong University of Oslo event.

Stockholm Declaration conference: link available to video of conference start, including panel on rights-based approach

Miss the opportunity to see our “The 1972 Stockholm Declaration at 50: Reflecting on a Half-Century of International Environmental Law” live on October 8?

No worries: We at the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, University of Georgia School of Law, are happy to provide videolinks.

This daylong conference addressed, in the words of MJ Durkee, the Georgia Law faculty member who conceptualized it,

“one of the foremost challenges of our time: What the international community can do about the crises facing our environment and the link between environmental health and human flourishing.”

Durkee, who is Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor, further noted the timeliness of the conference:


“The Stockholm Declaration, in addition to launching the field of international environmental law 50 years ago, was also among the first to articulate the idea of a human right to a healthy environment, and to elevate this as a matter of world concern. Just today, in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council has been deliberating over a resolution recognizing that this human right to a healthy environment has matured into an internationally recognized human right.”

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Also in this segment is the first of three panels, entitled “The Rights-Based Approach to Environmental Protection,” and featuring a global array of panelists: Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, pictured at bottom center; Tyler Giannini, Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Harvard Human Rights Program and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law, top right; Kate Mackintosh, Executive Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA Law, middle left; Katie O’Bryan, Lecturer, Monash University, Australia, middle right; and moderator Diane Marie Amann, Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law, top left.

Her welcome, as well as introductory remarks from Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge and Eva Hunnius Ohlin, Senior Advisor for Energy and Environment at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C., appear in the first of three conference video segments, available here.

Principle 1 of the Stockholm Declaration begins:

“Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being …”

Considering that claim in relation to “humankind,” panelists explored a range of issues, including: the utility, or not, of the rights-based approach; comparison of the rights-based approach with others, including the rights of nature and harmony with nature; and the recent civil-society promulgation of a definition of the international crime of ecocide, with the aim of amending the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to include this crime.

Interested in other segments of our Stockholm conference? Stay tuned.

(Update: The full series of links is available here.)

Georgia Law Professor Harlan Cohen talks “Sources of International Law” in Borderline Justice podcast

Harlan Cohen, who is Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, discusses “Sources of International Law” in a podcast released this month.

He appeared on Borderline Jurisprudence, a podcast devoted to “philosophy and jurisprudence of international law,” in the words of its founders, Başak Etkin, Teaching and Research Fellow at Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas, France, and Kostia Gorobets, Assistant Professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

The conversation with Cohen covered an array of issues, including sources of international law, precedent, opinio juris, fragmentation, pluralism, and behavioral approaches to international law. Writings by Cohen and others, detailed in a bibliography available here, formed a foundation for the talk.

The 53-minute podcast may be accessed at Anchor FM, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

International Law Colloquium returns to Georgia Law in Spring 2022 semester

The International Law Colloquium, a time-honored tradition here at the University of Georgia School of Law, returns this spring semester with another great lineup of global legal experts.

This for-credit course consists of presentations of substantial works-in-progress on a variety of international law topics by prominent scholars from other law schools. In keeping with a tradition established when the series began in 2006, students will write reaction papers on the scholars’ manuscripts, and then discuss the papers with the authors in class. Leading the class will be Harlan G. Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center. Other Georgia Law and university faculty will join in the dialogues.

Further supporting the colloquium are staff at our Center; in particular, the Center’s Global Practice Preparation team, which includes Sarah Quinn and Catrina Martin. The colloquium further benefits from generous support from the Kirbo Trust Endowed Faculty Enhancement Fund and the Talmadge Law Faculty Fund.

Presenting at the Spring 2022 Colloquium (pictured above, clockwise from top left):

► January 21: Kristen Eichensehr, University of Virginia School of Law 

► January 28: Rebecca Hamilton, American University Washington College of Law 

► February 11: Asli Ü. Bâli, UCLA Law

► February 25: Rebecca Crootof, University of Richmond School of Law 

► March 4: Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg, Universidad del Pacífico, Perú  

► March 18: Sarah Nouwen, European University Institute, Italy, and University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

► April 1: Maggie Gardner, Cornell Law School

► April 15: Julian Arato, Brooklyn Law School