“Specially Affected” States and the Formation of Custom: A Concept in Search of a Meaning

with Kevin Jon Heller

Stockholm Center for International Law and Justice invites you to a seminar with

Kevin Jon Heller


“Specially Affected” States and the Formation of Custom: A Concept in Search of a Meaning

Although powerful states in the Global North have consistently relied on the concept of “specially affected” states to claim that they play a privileged role in the formation of customary international law, the concept itself has been almost completely ignored by legal scholars. This presentation is designed to fill that lacuna. In particular, by focusing on debates over the scope of the jus ad bellum and jus in bello, I will attempt to answer two questions: (1) what makes a state “specially affected”? and (2) what exactly is the importance of a state qualifying as “specially affected”? I will argue that the most theoretically coherent understanding of the concept of specially-affected states would privilege the opinio juris of the Global South in a manner that the Global North would never find acceptable.

Kevin Jon Heller is Associate Professor of Public International Law at the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Professor of Criminal Law at SOAS, University of London. His books include The Nuremberg Military Tribunals and the Origins of International Criminal Law (OUP, 2011) and The Hidden Histories of War Crimes Trials (OUP, 2013) (edited with Gerry Simpson). He is currently writing a book entitled A Genealogy of International Criminal Law and co-editing the Oxford Handbook of International Criminal Law, both of which will be published by OUP in 2018. He is also a permanent member of the world’s oldest international-law blog, Opinio Juris.

Registration: scilj@juridicum.su.se, preferably by 1 September 2017