Rüdiger Wolfrum: Extend the competence of the International Seabed Authority

The Fourth Hilding Eek Memorial Lecture was held Wednesday 2 October on the subject “Who is responsible for the protection of the ocean floor?” by Rüdiger Wolfrum, Professor of international law at the Heidelberg University, Faculty of Law – The regime for the environmental protection of the ocean floor in UN the Law of the Sea Convention is from today’s perspective, frankly speaking, outdated. The Convention was up to date in 1982, but everything has changed dramatically since then, says Rüdinger Wolfrum.

The whole lecture was filmed and can be viewed here.

According to Rüdinger Wolfrum, the Convention is regulated on assumptions that are no longer valid. Since it was signed, science has developed. The Rio Conference in 1992, ten years after the adoption of the Law of the Sea Convention, changed modern international environmental law. Thus, the Law of the Sea Convention does not contain some of the traits of modern environmental law such as the principle of sustainable development. Moreover, economic use of the sea, including the seabed, has intensified dramatically.
Another deficiency of the Convention is its division of the sea into territorial zones.

– From the point of view of the protection of the sea, this was a disaster. The ocean is an ecological unit. To chop it up makes it impossible to provide for a comprehensive environmental regime. There is also a functional division of environmental law for example into fishery, mining, dumping and scientific research. This is of course not optimal.

A chaotic conference

Rüdinger Wolfrum points out that the regional approach was not to serve the environment but to serve the economic interests of coastal states, distance fishing nations and industrialised countries that wanted to become independent on copper, nickel and cobalt from the deep seabed. His final remark on the background of the Law of the Sea Convention is that the conference that drafted the Convention was very chaotic.

– We met in sessions with many participants but without proper preparatory documents. We could hardly speak to each other. Occasionally we had states that misbehaved such as the USA when President Reagan decided that the US delegation had no mandate to participate.

The Law of the Sea Convention is outdated according to Rüdiger Wolfrum.

According to Article 192 of the Convention, all States have an obligation to protect the marine environment. The article is applicable on all regions of the sea, including the territorial waters. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has argued in its advisory opinion on fisheries from 2015 that other States are obliged to endorse and implement the coastal States’ laws on the protection of fisheries.

– The Tribunal has decided that all issues concerning fisheries are part of the environmental regime. This is an example of how the loopholes in the Convention are being filled with a very progressive interpretation of those who are engaged in the administration and management of the ocean.

Many legal gaps in the Convention

The seabed is under surveillance and management of the International Seabed Authority. The Authority has a rather complicated mandate. It has jurisdiction over the mineral resources but not over the seabed as such. Therefore, the protection of the environment is done in connection with seabed mining.

During his lecture, Rüdinger Wolfrum displayed the legal gaps of the Convention due to the technological, economic and societal changes that have occurred since the Convention was adopted. One major challenge is the ongoing UN conference on an international legally binding instrument under the Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). The aim to incorporate the BBNJ into the Law of the Sea Convention meets serious obstacles since it will demand a legal distinction of biological resources in different sections of the sea and various levels of water column.

– Due to scientific and legal development, we need to fresh up the Law of the Sea Convention. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has shown that it can be easily freshened up by a progressive interpretation of existing rules.

The negotiators of the legal regime for the BBNJ believe that the best way to go about this is to sign a new treaty. Rüdinger Wolfram is not in favour of such a solution because he thinks there might be a risk that the new treaty will have other parties than the Law of the Sea Convention and thus you will end up with two different sets of parties with two different regimes.

– The International Seabed Authority is a modern international organization. Nobody can blame it for not trying to protect the environment. I would recommend extending the competence of the Authority, but I know that this is not going to happen.

Rüdinger Wolfrum was introduced by Deputy Vice Chancellor Henrik Cederquist and Director of SCILJ Pål Wrange. Afterwards, Hans Corell, Chair of the Board of SCILJ, concluded the event by making some comments on the subject of the lecture.

Stockholm Centre for International Law and Justice (SCILJ)

was established on February 20, 2012 with the mission to develop research in international law and to strengthen the links between academia and practice. The Centre shall have an interdisciplinary and practice oriented character and should make international law visible in public discourse. The Hilding Eek Memorial Lecture is given every other year in the memory of Hilding Eek, the distinguished Professor of International Law at Stockholm University 1956-1974.

This event was organised in cooperation with the Stockholm Environmental Law and Policy Centre and the Swedish branch of the International Law Association and was funded by the Cassel Foundation.

Introduction and Words of Welcome to Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji by Ambassador (ret.) Hans Corell

Stockholm Centre for International Law and Justice

Introduction and Words of Welcome to Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji,
President of the International Criminal Court


Ambassador (ret.) Hans Corell
Former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal
Counsel of the United Nations

Juristernas hus, Stockholm University

21 October 2019

Dear Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji,

As Chairman of the Board of the Stockholm Center for international Law and Justice and former Legal Counsel of the United Nations it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Stockholm University to address the topic The Enduring Value of the International Criminal Court to Humanity. This is, in particular, since I was so deeply involved in the 1998 Rome Conference that adopted the statute of the International Criminal Court and also in the establishment of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Tribunal for Rwanda, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

For my part, all of this started in 1992, when I was appointed a war crime rapporteur in the former Yugoslavia by the then Conference on Security and Co-Operation in Europe. On 9 February 1993, my co-rapporteurs Helmut Türk of Austria and Gro Hillestad Thune of Norway and I delivered a proposal for a statute of an international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. This proposal was immediately transferred to the UN Security Council.

At this time the Council was also contemplating establishing such a tribunal. On 22 February 1993 the Council decided to do precisely this. On 6 March 1994, I took up my position as the Legal Counsel of the UN. Exactly one month later, the genocide in Rwanda broke out. On 8 November 1994, the Security Council decided to establish the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Since Rwanda, a member of the Security Council at the time, had voted against the resolution, I was sent to Kigali to convince President Bizimungo, Prime Minister Twagiramugo and then Vice President Kagame that they should cooperate with the ICTR.

At the same time, the UN General Assembly intensified its work to establish a permanent international criminal court. The International Law Commission had been asked to prepare a Draft Statute for an International Criminal Court, which they delivered to the General Assembly in 1994.

After further preparations, including by an expert committee, the General Assembly decided to convene a conference in Rome in the summer of 1998 to negotiate a statute. It became my responsibility to be the Representative of the Secretary-General at the Conference, basically responsible for its organisation. The Codification Division of the UN Office of Legal Affairs became its Secretariat.

The States succeeded, and the so-called Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court was adopted on 17 July 1998 by a solid majority of the participating States: 120 yes, 7 no and 21 abstentions. In April 2002, the 60 ratifications necessary for its entry into force became a reality. This meant that the Statute could enter into force on 1 July 2002.

Later, I was responsible for negotiating the agreement between the United Nations and Sierra Leone on the Special Court, which was signed in Freetown on 16 January 2002, and the agreement between the United Nations and Cambodia on the Extraordinary Chambers, which was signed in Phnom Penh on 6 June 2003.

It is against this background that it is such a pleasure for me to welcome you, Judge Eboe-Osuji, to deliver your lecture. You have been deeply involved in the work of some of these organs before you assumed your full time duty as a Judge of the ICC on 16 March 2012.

Judge Eboe-Osuji is a national of Nigeria. There he received his LLB degree from the University of Calabar. He also has an LLM degree from McGill University in Canada and a PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands.

He was called to the Bar in British Columbia, Canada, in 1982, to the Bar in Nigeria in 1986 and to the Bar in Ontario, Canada, in 1992, which meant that he practiced law as a barrister before different courts in Nigeria and Canada.

Judge Eboe-Osuji taught international criminal law as adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa, Canada, and has an extensive record of legal scholarship and publications. He is the editor-in-chief of the Nigerian Yearbook of International Law and he served as legal expert to Nigeria’s delegation to the ICC-ASP Special Working Group on the Definition of the Crime of Aggression.

Prior to joining the ICC, Judge Eboe-Osuji was the Legal Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He also served as principal appeals counsel for the Prosecution in the Charles Taylor Case at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and has held several posts at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, including Head of Chambers and Lead Prosecution Trial Counsel.

Since 11 March 2018, Judge Eboe-Osuji is President of the ICC and assigned to the Appeals Division. Earlier he served in the Trial Division.

Dear Judge Eboe-Osuji,

I noted that during your time in the Trial Division you heard questions in the following two cases relating to Kenya: The Prosecutor v. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and The Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto. That reminded me of the time in 2008-2013 when I was a member of the team assisting the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, chaired by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to support the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation. In February 2008, I was chairman of its Legal Working Group on Governance that elaborated the draft legislation necessary to form a grand coalition government. William Ruto was a member of this working group.

My heart sank when I heard that he was a suspect in one of these cases. Time does not allow that I get into this matter. But I was very troubled by the fact that the manner in which these cases developed forced the prosecutor to withdraw or vacate the charges.

Under all circumstances, late Kofi Annan deserves the greatest respect for bringing the two competing sides together to negotiate and agree to form a coalition government. This agreement was later confirmed in the 2008 Kenya National Accord and Reconciliation Act, which entered into force on 20 March 2008 and would govern the coalition government in the
country for five years.

Dear Judge Eboe-Osuji, you are warmly welcome. The floor is yours!

Calender autumn 2019

 The Fourth Hilding Eek Memorial Lecture: “Who is responsible for the protection of the ocean floor?”
2019-10-02, 17.00. Reinholdsalen, Juristernas hus, Frescati, subway Universitetet. After the lecture there will be a reception.

with professor Rüdiger Wolfrum, Heidelberg University Faculty of Law, a judge at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in 1996-2017, and its president in 2005-2008

International investment law as a form of imperialism
2019-10-09, 16.15-18.00. Faculty room, floor 8, house C, Frescati

with professor David Schneiderman, University of Toronto

The Enduring Value of the International Criminal Court to Humanity
2019-10-21, 15.00-17.00. Reinholdsalen, Juristernas hus, Frescati, subway Universitetet. After the lecture there will be a reception.

with judge Chile Oboe-Osuji, president of the International Criminal Court

The Hong Kong crisis and international law
2019-10-29, 15.00-17.00. Faculty room, floor 8, house C, Frescati

with Professor Gregory Gordon, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Law Faculty

Freedom of expression in armed conflict: The silence between spaces – PhD mid seminar
2019-11-01, 13.00-15.00. Faculty room, floor 8, house C, Frescati

with PhD candidate Sally Longworth, Stockholm University

EU solidarity as collective self-defence? Constitutionalism and the public uses of coercion and force
2019-11-13, 15:00-17:00 Faculty room, floor 8, house C, frescati

with dr. Ester Herlin Karnell, Associate Professor in public law at Gothenburg University

The Right to Health Care in Armed Conflict at the The Swedish Forum for Human Rights 2019 (MR-dagarna)
2019-11-15, 13.00-14.00, Linköping Konsert & Kongress, Konsistoriegatan 7, Linköping

with PhD candidate Sally Longworth and Sara Fridlund, Senior Advisor, Swedish Red Cross, and Affiliated Research Advisor with the Red Cross University College

Borders rules
2019-11-25, 16.00-18.00. Faculty room, floor 8, house C, Frescati

with Professor Beth Simmons, University of Pennsylvania Law School


Retreat on critical research in international law (CRIL), Oxford 2019

During 10–12 June, SCILJ hosted its fourth doctoral retreat on critical research in international law (CRIL). This year the retreat took place at University of Oxford (UK). This year, the participants were very grateful to benefit from comments by Professor Sundhya Pahuja, the Director of Melbourne Law School’s Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH). The participants came from Peking University, Oxford University, Manchester University, the University of Helsinki (the Erik Castrén Institute), the University of Gothenburg, and Stocholm University. The event was organized by Pål Wrange, Mark Klamberg and Nikola Hajdin of SCILJ with generous support from the Thornstedt Foundation.

The previous CRIL retreats have been visited by David Kennedy (Harvard), Anne Orford (Melbourne) and Martti Koskenniemi (Helsinki).

Calender spring 2019

The Authority of Global Law”, in cooperation with the subject jurisprudence and within the framework of the research project Global Law,  Local Lives
with Neil Walker (University of Edinburgh)

Minorities on the Border between International and Constitutional Law
with Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark (Åland Islands Peace Institute)

“The Pure Theory of Law and Global Legal Pluralism”, (in cooperation with the subject jurisprudence,  and within the framework of the research project Global Law,  Local Lives)
with Keisuke Kondo (University of Kyoto)

“Two cases of self-determination (The Chagos Archipelago and Western Sahara) and the uses of ICJ advisory opinions”
with Pål Wrange (SU) & Stephen Allen (Queen Mary University of London)

“The Russian law on Refugees and the principle of non-refoulement: an analysis through the lens of the European Court of Human Rights”
with Maria Sole Continiello Neri (the National Research University Higher School of Economics,  Moscow,)

TBA, (within the framework of the research project Global Law,  Local Lives)
with Thomas Gammeltoft Hansen (University of Copenhagen)

“Understanding the Dynamic Complexity of Development: A Case Study of the Kenya Electricity Expansion”, (within the framework of the research project Global Law,  Local Lives)
with Andria Naudé Fourie (University of Toronto)

“A comparative approach to the use of force within the international and domestic contexts”
with Christopher Henderson (University of Sussex)

TBA, (within the framework of the research project Global Law,  Local Lives)
with Benedict Kingsbury

“Transnational Law”, (in cooperation with the subject jurisprudence,  and within the framework of the research project Global Law,  Local Lives)
with Roger Cotterrell

The International Legal Principle of Non-Interference and Cyber-Operations: Unjustified Expectations?
with Vera Rusinova (Higher School of Economics,  National Research University,  Moscow)

Legalisation of Mass Surveillance by the ECtHR: Is There a Right to Respect for Private Life After “Big Brother Watch and Others v. UK
with Vera Rusinova (Higher School of Economics,  National Research University,  Moscow)

2019- 06-10 with Sundhya Pahuja (University of Melbourne, at CRIL doctoral retreat at Oxford)


This Calender will shortly be updated with more details regarding the events.

The ninth International Law Day held in Stockholm 25 October

The ninth International Law Day was hosted by SCILJ on 25 October for 30 colleagues from Swedish universities and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The International Law Day is an annual event, alternating between Swedish law departments. It features discussions of academic papers and current events as well as updates on research and other scholarly activities in international law.

Folkrättsdagen – International Law Day, 25 October 2018

Stockholm University, Aula Magna, Spelbomskan


09:30 – 10:00 Coffee is served

10:00 – 10:10 Welcome Words

10:10 – 10: 50 Sweden in the Security Council: A Report and Appraisal ,
Ola Engdahl

10:50 – 11:10 Global Law, Local Life (GLLL),  Pål Wrange

11:10 – 11:30 ESIL Annual Conference in Stockholm – 2020,
Said Mahmoudi & Pål Wrange

11:30 – 12:30 Round-table Update of International Law Research

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch (Fakultetsklubben)

13:30 – 13:45 “FN-stadgan och världspolitiken:” – Book Presentation,
Ove Bring & Katinka Svanberg

13:45 – 14:10  Multilateral Investment Courts and the Democratic Dilemma, Claes Granmar

14:10 – 14:35 Artificial Intelligence: the Issue of Responsibility, Gregor Noll

14:35 – 15:00 Derogation of Human Rights under the ECHR: Lessons from Turkey’s Post-Coup State of Emergency,  Emre Turkut

15:00 – 15:20 Coffee Break

15:20 – 16:20 A Panel Discussion on Some Current International Law Issues, Ulf Linderfalk, Martin Ratcovich & Inger Österdahl (TBC)

Moderator: Ove Bring

16:20 – 16:30 Closing of the Meeting


SCILJ welcomes two visiting PhD students from Russia

SCILJ welcomes Kamila Shaibakova and Liliia Khasanova from the Kazan Federal University, who will  stay at Scilj for a period of three months, supported by the Sverker Åström Foundation. Ms Shaibakova’s research project is entitled Gender, Migration and Integration while Ms Khasanova’s interest is focused on women in international negotiations.

Damon Barrett defended his thesis on Drugs and the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Friday the 28th of September, SCILJ junior fellow Damon Barrett, defended his thesis “Drugs and the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Fragmentation, Contention and Structural Bias” at Stockholm University. Maria Grahn Farley (Uppsala) was the opponent and the examination committee consisted of Piet Hein van Kempen (Radboud University), Gregor Noll (University of Gothenburg) and Mona Samadi (Stockholm University). Damon Barrett was supervised by Pål Wrange (Stockholm, main supervisor), Manfred Nowak (University of Vienna) and Allyn Taylor (University of Washington).