LCIL Friday Lecture ‘Kenya and the international criminal court: Insights for gravity, complementarity, and ‘positive complementarity’ by Chandra Lekha Sriram

Lecture summary:  In March 2013, Kenyans went to the polls to vote for president. Given the violence which followed disputed elections in late 2007, resulting in charges of crimes against humanity being brought at the International Criminal Court against two contenders for top office, the international community watched closely. The elections were relatively peaceful, and disputes over the election results this time resulted in litigation that reached the Supreme Court, rather than significant violence in the streets. Yet the two accused, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, became president and deputy president, respectively. Court proceedings to date have faced a variety of challenges, including increasing resistance by a state party, and circumstances which highlight the need for clarity regarding the interpretation of the concepts of gravity and complementarity. Further, resistance by the Kenyan state has heightened questions regarding the function of positive complementarity and the capacity of the ICC in the absence of genuine state cooperation.

My comments are based on field research in Kenya and at the International Criminal Court in 2010 and 2012, with support from the Nuffield Foundation, UK, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, in collaboration with Stephen Brown of the University of Ottawa, and subsequent research in 2014 with support from the British Academy, in collaboration with Thomas Obel-Hansen of the US International University in Nairobi and as part of a MacArthur-funded project, in collaboration with Iavor Rangelov of LSE and Phil Clark of SOAS.

The research to date is reflected in two articles:
Chandra Lekha Sriram and Stephen Brown, “Kenya in the Shadow of the ICC: Complementarity, Gravity and Impact,” International Criminal Law Review vol. 12 (2012), and
Stephen Brown and Chandra Lekha Sriram, “’The big fish won’t fry themselves’: Criminal accountability for post-election violence in Kenya,” African Affairs vol. 111, issue 443 (2012).

Chandra Lekha Sriram is Professor of International Law and International Relations, and Co-Director of the Centre of Human Rights in Conflict, at the University of East London, where she is founder and co-director of the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict at the University of East London. She is currently the principal investigator on an ESRC-funded research project on The Impact of Transitional Justice Mechanisms on Democratic Institution-Building, in partnership with Dr. Anja Mihr of the Hague Institute for Global Justice, who is the principal investigator on the Dutch counterpart of the grant, funded by NWO. She is also the principal investigator on a grant from the British Academy, in collaboration with Thomas Obel Hansen of the US International University in Nairobi, on the role of civil society in promoting accountability for serious crimes in Kenya. From 2010-2012, she was the principal investigator on a grant funded by the US Institute of Peace on victim-centred approaches to justice and reintegration of excombatants; from 2008-2011 she was a workpackage leader as part of a European Union Framework VII project on building a just and durable peace in the Middle East and Western Balkans , and from 2007-2009 she was the principal investigator of a large British Academy Grant on rule of law and peacebuilding in Africa. She is author and editor of various books and journal articles on international relations, international law, human rights and conflict prevention and peacebuilding. She is the author of three monographs: Peace as governance: power-sharing, armed groups, and contemporary peace negotiations (Palgrave 2008); Globalizing justice for mass atrocities: A revolution in accountability (Routledge 2005); and Confronting past human rights violations: Justice versus peace in times of transition (Frank Cass 2004). Professor Sriram received her PhD in Politics from Princeton University in 2000, her JD from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law in 1994, and her MA in International Relations and BA in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 1991.

Speaker: Chandra Lekha Siriam, Professor of International Law and International Relations, University of East London

Lecture: “Reflections on Eight Years on the ICC Bench: Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova” (postponed)

Postponed until further notice

Wednesday 12 November 2014, 7pm at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut


Outgoing Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova reflects on her eight years on the bench of the International Criminal Court (ICC), where she is involved with cases arising from a wide range of ICC situations – including the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya – at both the pre-trial and appeals stages of proceedings.

LCIL Friday Lecture ‘The Principle of Due Diligence: A Core Principle of International Human Rights Law?’ by Lorna McGregor

Lecture summary:  In a series of recent cases in regional human rights courts, the principle of due diligence appears to have finally overcome the restraints of the Osman case to become a principle capable of preventing and protecting individuals and groups in positions of vulnerability from abuse and discrimination by third parties. The principle is also frequently advanced when examining states’ obligations for the acts of corporations although less frequently in relation to third states. In this paper, I consider whether the principle of due diligence has – and should – fully move from a peripheral to central position in international human rights law, looking in particular at challenging and underdeveloped areas of analysis such as reparation and preventative frameworks that condition specific findings of state responsibility.


Lorna McGregor is the Director of the Human Rights Centre and a Reader in Law at the University of Essex. She researches and teaches in the areas of public international law, particularly international human rights law, international criminal law and transitional justice. Her work has appeared in journals such as the American Journal of International Law, the European Journal of International Law, the International and Comparative Law Quarterly, the Journal of International Criminal Justice and the International Journal of Transitional Justice. In addition to her academic research, Lorna is a Co-Chair of the American Society of International Law’s Interest Group on Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law, a Co-Chair of the European Society of International Law’s Interest Group on Human Rights, a member of REDRESS’ Legal Advisory Council and a trustee of the AIRE Centre. Since 2012, she has led an expert group of academics and human rights practitioners working on the review of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Prior to joining Essex, she held positions as the International Legal Adviser at REDRESS, as a Programme Lawyer at the International Bar Association and in Sri Lanka at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies. Lorna holds an LL.B (First Class Honours) from Edinburgh Law School and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, where she was a Kennedy Memorial Trust Scholar and Henigson Fellow. She is admitted as an attorney in New York State

Speaker:  Dr Lorna McGregor, Director, Human Rights Centre, University of Ess

Justice Delayed, but not Denied: An Evening with Douglas Jones

Join us for reflections on re-opening the case of the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing by former U.S. Attorney Douglas Jones.

Decades after one of the most devastating attacks of the Civil Rights era, Jones led the prosecution team that brought justice to Birmingham. Jones’ efforts resulted in the indictment of former KKK members responsible for the murder of Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Public Justice Center and is free and open to the public.

LCIL Friday Lecture ‘The Power of Process: Procedural Fairness in Security Council Decision-making’ by Dr Devika Hovell

Lecture summary:  Dr Hovell will discuss the problem with formalist approaches to the development of a procedural framework for Security Council sanctions decision-making. By examining the values underlying due process protections, it becomes clear that the preferred procedural framework for sanctions decision-making is not the court-based process that many lawyers advocate.

Instead the UN Ombudsperson framework, that has been the subject of considerable criticism by the Court of Justice of the EU, the ECHR and the UN Special Rapporteur for Counterterrorism, holds greater appeal.

Devika Hovell is an Assistant Professor in Public International Law at the LSE. She holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford and a Master of Laws from New York University, where she was awarded the George Colin Award.

Devika graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours. She served as an Associate to Justice Kenneth Hayne at the High Court of Australia, and as judicial clerk at the International Court of Justice in the Hague

Speaker: Devika Hovell, Assistant Professor in Public International Law, London School of Economics

LCIL Friday Lecture ‘International Law’s Objects’ by Dr Jessie Hohmann

Lecture summary:  The legitimacy and authority of international law have traditionally been considered in terms of its normative and regulatory frameworks, its subject areas, subjects and politics. Cases, treaties, and volumes of academic writing are the legal sources through which most of us working in international law relate to the subject and, at times, we might feel these texts are our major project and output.

Yet international law has a rich existence in the world. International law is often developed, conveyed and authorised through objects or images. From the symbolic (the regalia of the head of state and the symbols of sovereignty), to the mundane (a can of dolphin-safe tuna certified as complying with international trade standards), international legal authority can be found in the objects around us. Similarly, the practice of international law often relies on material objects or images, both as evidence (satellite images, bones of the victims of mass atrocities) and to ground authority (for instance through maps and charts). Simultaneously, international law creates objects – or, more specifically, it appropriates material objects and claims or makes them its own. This final aspect of international law’s relationship with objects hints at how material objects relate to the objects as purposes of international law.

Despite the deep implications and infiltrations of international law in the material world around us, the relationship between international law and physical objects has not preoccupied international lawyers or international law scholars. Here, I will begin to unearth this relationship. I aim to provide a new way of thinking about international law in terms of its material and visual culture, interrogating the relationship between material objects and objects as purposes, and to reveal unexplored fixations with objects and images in the field.

Dr Hohmann took up a lectureship with Queen Mary in September 2012, after completing a British Academy Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge.

Dr Hohmann has broad research interests in the fields of human rights, international law, indigenous rights, theories of human rights and international law, and the role of human rights in social struggles.

Her research has explored these issues through the lens of social and economic rights, with a particular focus on the right to housing. Her monograph The Right to Housing: Law, Concepts, Possibilities explores these areas, and was shortlisted for the SLS Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship in 2013. The right to housing remains a strong focus for Dr Hohmann’s future research.

Dr Hohmann’s current research aims to explore the impacts of human rights on the broader field of general public international law, with specific reference to the ‘historical turn’ in critical international law. She is also pursuing projects on the material and visual culture of international law. In addition, her research on the right to housing, and on economic, social and cultural rights more generally, continues to inform and motivate her work.

Her current teaching at Queen Mary is in public law at the undergraduate level, and she offers courses on indigenous peoples and the law at LLM level. She has previously held teaching appointments at the University of Cambridge, King’s College, London and Macquarie University in Sydney. Dr Hohmann is a member of the Human Rights Collegium at Queen Mary, where among other roles she is deputy editor of the Queen Mary Human Rights Law Review. She is also a member of the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context (CLSGC). As a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, she is a fully qualified barrister and solicitor in Ontario. In addition, Dr Hohmann has held visiting fellowships at Osgoode Hall (York University) and at the University of Sydney.

Speaker: Dr Jessie Hohmann, Lecturer, Queen Mary

LCIL Friday Lecture ‘The Changing Structure of International Law and Its Normative Consequences: International IP Law as an Example’ by Dr Holger Hestermeyer

Lecture summary:  Much like international law as a whole, international intellectual property law has undergone significant structural changes since its inception. The presentation will conceptualize these changes as a fundamental paradigm shift: an initially sparsely regulated field with minimal obligations focusing on non-discrimination has turned into a densely regulated area of international law. The development of international IP law thus to some extent mirrors the development of international law as a whole, albeit with an accelarated time frame. The presentation will not only illustrate this development, but also draw normative conclusions from the development, which – as will be argued – are relevant for international law as a whole if the field wants to cope with its development over the last fifty years.

Holger Hestermeyer (Dr. (Hamburg), LL.M. (Berkeley), LL.B. equivalent (Münster)) is a Référendaire in the cabinet of Advocate General Cruz Villalón at the Court of Justice of the European Union and will, after his work at the court, join King’s College. Before working at the court, Holger was head of a research group at Heidelberg’s Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public and International Law. He has lectured at the universities of Heidelberg, Münster, UC Berkeley and the Heidelberg Center in Chile. He is a Co-director of the Red Latinoamericana de Derecho Económico Internacional and a member of the Executive Council of the Society of International Economic Law. He is a former Fulbright Fellow, German National Merit Foundation Fellow, recipient of an Otto Hahn Medal and an Otto Hahn Award. He publishes in the fields of international, European and constitutional law. Of particular interest for the presentation are Human Rights and the WTO (OUP 2007/2008), Reality or Aspiration: Solidarity in International Environmental and World Trade Law (in Hestermeyer et al. eds., Coexistence, Cooperation and Solidarity, Brill 2012), ESC Rights in the World Trade Organization (in Riedel et al., Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in International Law, OUP 2014), The Notion of „Trade-Related“ Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (IIC 2014).

Speaker:  Dr Holger Hestermeyer, Advocate General Cruz Villalón, Court of Justice of the European Union

Date: Friday 17 October 2014

Time: 1pm with sandwiches from 12.30pm

Venue: Finley Library, Lauterpacht Centre, 5 Cranmer Rd, Cambridge

Where Next for Food Law?: From Food as Sustenance to Food as Meaning

Despite the rapid growth of food law, the field has been governed to a great extent by the “food as sustenance” paradigm. This approach views food primarily as organic matter essential for the biological survival and physical well-being of humans and animals, but its monopoly leaves the field impoverished of the complex and myriad ways in which food functions in the lives of individuals and societies. Dr. Yofi Tirosh, a professor at Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law and pioneer in the field of food law, discusses her call for a shift from the “food as sustenance” paradigm to a “food as meaning” paradigm, stressing that food has important roles in sustaining social institutions and in creating meaning in the lives of legal subjects. She will argue that laws and doctrines designed without appreciating that food is not only a means of physical survival, but also that food has symbolic value attached to its preparation and consumption, are bound to be less effective and less just. More Info.

Humanitarian Diplomacy and Principled Humanitarian Action

Please register here.

The evolving global environment in which humanitarian actors operate is posing profound challenges both in terms of complexity of major crises and their impact on affected people.

Taking in consideration this environment, the ICRC, with its track record of a 150 years of humanitarian practice, has to consider how to address these challenges while remaining faithful to its humanitarian principles, notably, Humanity, Neutrality, Impartiality and Independence.

On the occasion of this Graduate Institute Lecture, the ICRC will inaugurate a series of conversations across the globe on the contemporary challenges to principles guiding humanitarian action, leading up to the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva in December 2015.

America Violates Human Rights at Home: How the US failures to implement human rights treaties are under scrutiny by the United Nations

September 30, 2014 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Location: Room 3-01, Fordham Law School, 150 W. 62nd St. New York, NY 10023
Contact: Zach Hudson |

Brown Bag Lunch Series

In August 2014, the U.S. Government was questioned by a panel of United Nations experts about the continuation of racism in the U.S. In October, it will be reviewed about practices that constitute torture and early in 2015 government representatives will question US officials about a full range of policies that impact human rights within our borders. Gay McDougall, Former UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues, member of UN Committee on Racial Discrimination and Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the Leitner Center, will talk about why these reviews of US practices are critical to the movement for human rights at home and around the world.

Kosher pizza will be served.