2024 Centre

The 2024 edition of the Centre will focus on International Institutions in the Face of International Crises. It will take place in The Hague from 19 August to 6 September 2024. The Directors of Research are Prof. Giulio Bartolini (University of Roma Tre) and Prof. Anne Lagerwall (Université libre de Bruxelles). 

The international legal order can be said to have partly been forged by crises, as experienced after the two World wars with the adoption of the Covenant of the League of Nations and the United Nations Charter. It is constantly engaging with them in order to address their causes and consequences, as for climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. The need for regulation generated by major crises, whether economic, environmental, political or social, is a foundational element of international cooperation which may strengthen the role and activities of international organisations. But upheavals may also prompt tensions that can undermine the functioning of international institutions and even question their legitimacy or relevance. For instance, the 2008 financial crisis exacerbated inequalities and brought globalisation under intense scrutiny, also nurturing populist and authoritarian politics. The decision to label certain events as crises can in itself be contested, as the UN Secretary-General did when he affirmed in 2022 that ‘there is no migration crisis.

To what extent are international institutions, understood as international organs or international legal norms, shaped by exogenous and endogenous crises? Are they reasserting their authority or do crises unveil their shortcomings? Are the principles of international law including their law-making processes and their interpretation being modified, if not marginalized, as a result of crises or are their raison d’être being reinforced? In case of modification, are the international legal rules becoming more stringent or more flexible for relevant actors? Is the international responsibility regime fit for addressing crises? What roles are played by States, international organisations, international courts and tribunals, but also private actors and informal groups in such contexts? Do they apprehend such challenges within the traditional fora or do they invest other venues? 

These questions relating to the ways in which institutions of international law and the international legal order face crises will be addressed by the participants of the Centre for Studies and Research in International Law and International Relations during the summer of 2024. The selected researchers will work under the guidance of the Directors of Research on these questions in relation to the following themes, which might be examined from specific angles such as branches of international law, particular institutions or chosen crisis:

  1. Crises and history of international law
  2. Crises and international legal scholarship
  3. Crises of legitimacy in international law
  4. Crises of multilateralism
  5. Crises and sources of international law 
  6. Crises and law-making processes in international law 
  7. Crises and international responsibility
  8. Crises and international organisations (e.g. UN; WHO; IAEA; regional organisations)
  9. Institutional crises (e.g. WTO dispute settlement; non-proliferation regimes)
  10.  Crises and international courts or tribunals (e.g. ICJ; ITLOS; human rights tribunals; international criminal tribunals)
  11.  Crises and civil society, social movements and non-state entities 
  12.  Crises and diplomatic means of dispute settlement
  13.  Crises and private international law