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October 2015

The Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy grants the „Jerusalem – Doctoral Research Fellowship“

Janos Böszörmenyi, researcher at the Centre for Computers and Law, at the Section for International Law and International Relations, is for the academic year 2015/2016 in Jerusalem, assisting the Center for Austrian Studies at the Hebrew University as a doctoral fellow. The “Austrian Studies” focuses on Austria in a Central European context, it covers a wider geographical area as present-day Austria. In particular, the Jewish population of the Habsburg Monarchy is being examined. The Center promotes academic cooperation, arranges movie screenings, fosters the Austrian Library of the Hebrew University and provides grants to Israeli students for short term studies in Austria.
The Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy grants the „Jerusalem – Doctoral Research Fellowship“.

August 2015

August Reinisch elected membre associé of the Institut de droit international

The Institut de droit international/Institute of International Law founded in 1873 is one of the oldest and most prestigious, international academic societies devoted to the development of international law. It was set up in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War in order to further the “progress of international law” to serve peace. Since its founding the Institut has dealt with all questions of international law independent from state influence and according to its motto “iustitia et pace”. In 1904 the Institut was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  

According to its statutes, the Institut consists of not more than 132 which are elected by the existing members at the biennial sessions from persons who have distinguished themselves in theory and practice of international law. At the session of the Institut de droit international in Tallin, Estonia, taking place from 22 to 30 August 2015, the Head of the Section of International Law and International Relations and Dean for International Relations of the Law School of the University of Vienna, Professor August Reinisch, was elected as a member of the Institut together with distinguished scholars like Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Professor in Geneva, Georg Nolte, member of the International Law Commission of the United Nations, and Christopher Greenwood, judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.  

With August Reinisch the other two Austrian members of the Institut, Professor Gerhard Hafner, legal consultant to the Austrian Foreign Ministry, and Professor Franz Matscher, former judge at the European Court of Human Rights, together with the emeritus member, Professor Karl Zemanek, will from a national group at the Institut de droit international.   




April 2014

40 Years of a Divided Cyprus

2014 is witness to the tenth anniversary of Cyprus joining the EU. Still, ten years after this event, Nicosia is still the last militarily divided capital of the world. When Turkey intervened, following a coup d’état supported by the Greek military junta, by sending troops to the northern part of the island on 20 July 1974 and which later occupied a third of the island, international observers and the population assumed this to be a temporary situation. As Turkish troops closed in on Varosha, the most important Cypriot tourist destination of the 1960s and 1970s, the Greek-Cypriot population took with them only their most indispensable belongings. More often than not, provisional arrangements became the status quo: the so-called ‘Green Line’, a military buffer-zone, which runs from West to East across the whole island. Today, Varosha is probably one of the most (in)famous ghost town in Europe and still a restricted Turkish military zone. Following a number of unsuccessful attempts at solving the conflict – inter alia the so-called ‘Annan-Plan’, which failed at a referendum in 2004 – recent talks and a joint communiqué by both sides early 2014 bring new hope.

Against this background, the conference ‘1974-2014 – 40 Years of a Divided Cyprus’ faces the historical and political, as well as the legal and diplomatic aspects of separation and military occupation. In light of recent events such as the renewal of peace-talks in the Middle East by the US, the civil war in Syria, or the situation in the Ukraine and the Crimea, the topic as well as possible approaches to a solution appear more relevant and topical than ever. The history as well as the allocation of an EU Member State that is partially occupied by a NATO state, represents an early warning model in light of recent shifts in political and geo-strategical interests. How much weight do the political, legal, and historical aspects have? How may Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean be placed between ethno-centrism and globalised interconnection? Which geo-strategic and national political interests are brought forward by involved states, alliances, and international organisations and how is the situation in Cyprus instrumentalised therefor? What is the role of bi-, tri-, or multilateral attempts at solving the conflict? And what is the divergence in these assessments between theory and practice, or are there coherences?

These highly relevant topics – for Cyprus, Turkey, the EU, but also for Austria and Vienna with its manifold economic interests and political role as a provider of good offices as far back as the 1960s – will be addressed from various perspectives. The projection of the concepts, the implications for other crises and conflict, and the interrelation of ethnic and transnational interests provide the basis for a discussion that can only take place on an interdisciplinary level. Therefore, the conference presents itself as a place/platform for dialogue between Austrian and foreign academic experts, which are active in the fields of history, law, and the social sciences.

10th Anniversary Conference of the European Society of International Law (ESIL)

The 10th Anniversary Conference of the European Society of International Law (ESIL) will take place in Vienna, Austria, from 4-6 September 2014. The conference will be hosted by the University of Vienna and organised by its Law School’s Section for International Law and International Relations in cooperation with the European Society of International Law. The theme of this year’s conference is “International Law and … - Boundaries of International Law and Bridges to other Fields and Disciplines”.

Online registration is now available!

For further information see https://esil2014.univie.ac.at/home/


39thAnnual Austrian Symposium on Public International Law

The 39th Annual Austrian Symposium on Public International Law was organized by the Section for International Law and International Relations of the Faculty of Law at the University of Vienna and took place at the Klosterneuburg Monastery from May 22 to 25 2014, where leading experts discussed recent issues pertaining to International Law.

Faculty members Prof. Dr. Hafner, ret. and Prof. Dr. Wittich, first discussed the latest developments in the Crimean Crisis from the perspective of international law. The second day panels focused on the role of non-state actors in international relations and presided by Prof. Dr. Zagel, LL.M. from the Institute of Public and International Law at the University of the German Federal Armed Forces in Munich, Mag.a Karolina Januszewski (Vienna University) and MMag.a Andrea Bockley (Vienna University) presented their perspectives. Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Benedek, Head of the Institute of International Law and International Relations at the Karl-Franzens-University Graz, presided the next panel prepared by Mag.a Barbara Lindner (BiM) and Dr. Michael Postel (BmEIA) addressing recent issues relating to human rights protection, with an emphasis on transnational companies, the OECD guidelines and their implementation in Austria. In addition, Prof. Dr. Vranes, Head of the Institute of European and International Law at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, discussed the legal personality of EU-Agencies with presentations by Dr. Andreas Orator (VU Business and Economics) and Mag.a Melanie Fink (University) Leiden). Furthermore, under the presidency of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stadlmeier, LL.M., Head of the Institute of International Law and International Relations at the Johannes-Kepler-University in Linz, MMag. Ralph Janik (Vienna University) and Dr. Nicole Ehlotzky (VU Business and Economics) focused on several aspects of the principle of non-intervention.

Ambassador Dr. Reiterer, Senior Advisor at the European External Action Service, Ambassador Dr. Lehne, MA, visiting Scholar at Carnegie Europe and Mag. Toncic-Sorinj, envoy to the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, reported on four years of practical experience at the European External Action Service. Finally, practical insights were provided by Ambassador Dr. Tichy and envoy MMag. Schusterschitz from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, as well as Ambassador Dr. Zellweger, from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador Prof. Dr. Hector, from the Federal Foreign Office Berlin.

Many thanks to our Sponsors for their help to accomplish this event.



March 2014

Small Satellites: Chances and Challenges

The NPOC Space Law Austria organizes a conference on “Small Satellites: Chances and Challenges” which will take place on 29 March 2014 at the Faculty of Law of the University of Vienna. Small satellites have become more and more popular in recent years. The development of technology has made it possible to build, launch and operate satellites at rather low costs. 16 experts from various countries and institutions will speak about the specificities of small satellite missions from the practical, the legal, and the economic perspectives. Programme

February 2014

Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold

Prof. Manfred Nowak will be awarded the Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold 2014 (Otto-Hahn-Friedensmedaille in Gold 2014) by the United Nations Association of Germany in Berlin on 17 December 2014. Former laureates were Sandro Pertini, Michail Gorbatschow, Dr. h.c. Simon Wiesenthal, Sir Karl R. Popper, Hans Koschnick, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Gerd Ruge, Miriam Makeba, Mary Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Hans Küng, Daniel Barenboim and Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba.

November 2013

The Anatomy of the (Invisible) EU Model BIT

With the on-going negotiations of the first EU international investment agreements and in the absence of a definitive EU Model BIT, the debate on the scope, the standards of protection, investor-state dispute settlement provisions and on additional features to be included in new EU investment treaties has taken center stage in recent EU investment policy discussions

On 25 and 26 November 2013, Prof. Dr. Marc Bungenberg (University of Siegen) and Prof. Dr. August Reinisch (University of Vienna) hosted the second Vienna conference on the European Union and International Investment Law at the Law School of the University of Vienna. The focus of this year’s conference was the possible shape of future EU Model Investment Treaties. Various investment law experts dealt with questions concerning “The Anatomy of the (Invisible) EU Model BIT”. More than 110 participants from all over the world including attorneys, scholars, representatives of the EU institutions, of international organizations and of governments joined in an intensive discussion.

The conference started off with Prof. Dr. Frank Hoffmeister (EU Commission) who provided firsthand information in his presentation on the “Current State of Play in EU Negotiations”. After a vibrant discussion about Prof. Hoffmeister’s talk, the focus was turned to the scope of application of future EU BITs with Prof. Dr. Marc Bungenberg (University of Siegen) sharing his thoughts on “investors and investments” under future EU investment agreements. His lecture was followed by Prof. Wenhua Shan (University of Cambridge/Xi'an Jiaotong University) who addressed the issue of market access clauses. After the lunch break, the rest of the program was devoted to the following topics: Expropriation and FET (Prof. Dr. Ursulua Kriebaum, Universtiy of Vienna), National Treatment and MFN (Dr. Antonios Tzanakopoulos, University of Oxford), Umbrella Clauses and Transfer Provisions (Dr. Anna de Luca, Bocconi University) and Full Protection and Security as well as Arbitrary or Discriminatory Treatment (Dr. Catharine Titi, Université Panthéon-Assas Paris II).

The second conference day’s program initially addressed various procedural issues of possible future EU BITs. Dr. Markus Burgstaller (Hogan Lovells, London) talked about the “Division of Responsibilities EU/Member States and the Role of ICSID”. Prof. Dr. Christoph Herrmann (University of Passau) outlined the role of the CJEU in the context of EU investment agreements. Prof. Dr. Chistian Tams’ (University of Glasgow) lecture on “Coherence and Appellate Possibilities – Procedural Matters and Enforcement” revealed further interesting procedural matters. These presentations were commented on by Prof. Dr. Christoph Schreuer (University of Vienna).

Then, Prof. Dr. Karsten Nowrot (University of Hamburg) talked about the inclusion of environmental protection, human rights and sustainability in international investment law. Finally, N. Jansen Calamita (Investment Treaty Forum, BIICL/University of Birmingham) raised the question whether there is a need for more transparency in investment arbitration.

The conference was concluded by Prof. Dr. August Reinisch, who ‘put the pieces together’ and shared his thoughts on the yet invisible EU Model BIT.

The Lisl und Leo Eitinger Human Rights Award was bestowed on Prof. Manfred Nowak by the University of Oslo on 18 November 2013 for his achievements in the field of human rights. You find more information at http://www.uio.no/english/about/facts/human-rights/2013/ and in the flyer.

September 2013

Attention change of hours and location:
The course International human rights regime by Prof Nowak and Ass. Januszewski will take place from 1-3pm at the lecture room U18 (instead of 4-6pm at U21).
Thank you for your understanding.

April 2013

Joint Meeting of the Department of International Law and International Relations of the University of Vienna and the Eötvös Loránd University

On 29 April 2013, the Department of International Law and International Relations of the University of Vienna hosted a Joint Meeting with the Eötvös Loránd University. Numerous distinguished academics from both universities, including experts from different branches of Public International Law, attended the conference, dealing with current debates and trends of international law. The first speaker, Gábor Kajtár, started off with a very contemporary issue, presented under the title “Self-defense against non-state actors: a critical analysis”, followed by Ralph Janik’s paper concerning “The Tension Between Human Rights and the Security Council Actions in the War on Terror – New Developments or Stalemate?”. This was followed by presentations of Zsófia Deli on „Trade and environment: Conflict of laws in WTO dispute settlement” and Karin Traunmüller on “Naturalization of persons living abroad – evaluation under public international law”. The Hungarian colleague, Prof. Boldizsár Nagy, presented his thoughts on “Why to protect refugees? Metalegal foundations of a legal obligation”. Finally, Markus Beham dealt with “The Gabcíkovo-Nagymaros case – The neverending story?”. The considerable number of participants and their positive feedback reflected the success of this bi-annual Joint Meeting.


January 2013

COST Policy Meeting on The Role of the EU in UN Human Rights Reform, 28 January 2013, Brussels

Following the international final conference of the COST Action IS0702 “The Role of the EU in UN Human Rights Reform” in September 2012 in Vienna, where the recommendations of the COST Action where finalized and presented, a meeting took place in Brussels now where these final recommendations where discussed with policy makers from the EU. Please find the final recommendations here.


November 2012

Argentina in the “ARA LIBERTAD” Case (Argentina v. Ghana) at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

End of November 2012 Prof. Hafner represented Argentina in the “ARA LIBERTAD” Case (Argentina v. Ghana) at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea as Co-Agent. Details see here https://www.itlos.org/index.php?id=46&L=

September 2012

EMPOWER HUMAN RIGHTS! – Final Conference of the COST Action IS0702 “The Role of the EU in UN Human Rights Reform”; 13th AHRI Conference, 10 – 12 September 2012, Hotel Schloss Wilhelminenberg/Academy of Sciences, Vienna

The high-level international conference “Empower Human Rights” on the role of the European Union in United Nations human rights reform was co-organized by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (BIM), the doctoral college “Empowerment through Human Rights” and the University of Vienna. It provided a forum where human rights experts from the leading European academic networks (Association of Human Rights Institutes–AHRI et al.) discussed the results of their research projects and respective policy recommendations with high-level representatives of the United Nations and the European Union. It also marked the closure of a four year-research project by AHRI financed by an EU-COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action based on the fact that the EU has been one of the most outspoken advocates of a stronger role of human rights in the UN architecture.

Welcome remarks by Prof. Manfred Nowak who is also Chair of the COST Action IS0702 and Co-Director of BIM, the then Chair of AHRI and director of the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights Prof. Nils A. Butenschøn and the Representative of the European Commission in Austria Mr. Richard Kühnel were followed by the high-level opening panel. The Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs Mr. Johannes Kyrle representing the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Michael Spindelegger discussed the Austrian perspective on UN human rights reform summarizing the involvement of Austria in UN‘s human rights mechanisms, highlighting the importance and remaining challenges of the Human Rights Council, treaty bodies, special procedures, the Universal Periodic Review and the need to strengthen the system.
The Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Ms. Vesna Pusic described the vision of Croatia about the EU foreign human rights policy. She emphasized the need of linking peacekeeping or peace-making missions, such as the EU peacekeeping missions, to civilian projects in the field, including the rights of women and girls in these areas. She also stressed that the EU is faced with the challenge of finding ways to implement the policy of human rights and democracy being the most important part of the EU external action in the field.

The UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Kyung-wha Kang presented her view on how to reform the UN human rights architecture in the coming years.  She highlighted the necessity to close the gap between resources and needs, capacity and expectations.  In this regard she explained that the "third pillar" rhetoric had to be turned into reality, hereby urging the EU to take the lead among development donors to fully integrate human rights as a key anchor of their policy thinking and implementation and stressing the importance that peace operations are given fully-fledged human rights mandates by the Security Council. She also emphasized the recommendations in the High Commissioner’s report for a strengthened, revitalized treaty body system and urged the EU to support them. Finally, she stressed that stronger protection is required for mandate holders of special procedures, human rights defenders and civil society actors in general.

The Chair of the Working Party on Human Rights (COHOM) of the EU Council Mr. Engelbert Theuermann discussed the EU foreign policy on human rights and the role of the EU in the UN. He stressed the EU’s commitment, such as the newly appointed EU Special Representative for Human Rights, elaborated the recent positive developments in the Human Rights Council and explained the EU’s improvement of its working methods (strategic planning, cross-regional cooperation etc.), its stronger advocacy for economic, social and cultural rights and demanded closer cooperation between the UN in Geneva and New York.

The member of the European Parliament Ms. Ulrike Lunacek spoke about ideas and initiatives of the European Parliament for UN human rights reform. She explained the importance of the respective Committees LIBE and DROI for human rights within the EU and in third countries, analyzed the EU’s reluctance when it comes to commitment for changes in human rights in North Africa etc., and the intention of the Parliament to create an early warning system.
After a presentation of a summary of the proposals of the working groups of the COST Action, which was finalized the next day, the afternoon panel commenced its proceedings with the head of the Human Rights Department of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Ms. Snježana Bokulic who presented the role of the EU in developing/strengthening the Human Dimension of the OSCE. She pointed out that there is not necessarily an overlap or duplication of EU and OSCE efforts, that both of them have their roles and that cooperation is increasing.

Prof. José Doria from the University of Angola and Peoples Friendship University of Russia dealt with proposals on UN treaty body reform. He explained that due to the fact that the treaty bodies were initially not intended to be a system it now has to be reformed. He illustrated several proposals for such a treaty body reform or strengthening, including the proposal of a World Court of Human Rights and a comprehensive reporting calendar – the “master calendar”.

On Tuesday and Wednesday morning the PhD training school on poverty and territory, asylum and migration, mental health and human rights, human rights in development, trafficking in human beings, criminal and social justice took place as well as internal meetings of AHRI, COST and the Nordic Network and final discussions of the COST working groups on their recommendations which were presented in the public panel on Wednesday in the afternoon chaired by the Deputy Director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights Ms. Charlotte Flindt Pedersen. The chair of COST working group I Prof. Nowak elaborated on the final recommendations concerning the reform of UN human rights mechanisms which includes the treaty body system, a World Court of Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, National Human Rights Institutions and the Responsibility to Protect. The chair of working group II and UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights Prof. Wouter Vandenhole together with his colleague Ms. Corinne Lennox from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies from the University of London presented the final recommendations on strengthening systems for human rights-based development, such as the need for a theory of change, longer project cycles, support to civil society organizations and governments and recommendations specifically addressed to the UN and the EU. The chair of working group III and director of the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy Prof. Wolfgang Benedek elaborated on the final recommendations on new perspectives on human rights partnerships including visions on the concept of human rights partnerships and on business and human rights and its implications.

Then the director of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies Prof. Jan Wouters was the first to speak in the final panel about the academic perspective of EU and UN human rights reform. He pointed out that the EU’s contribution on human rights in the UN should not only concentrate on the typical UN human rights bodies but on all UN organs. He also stressed the importance of cross-regional outreach and coalition-building by the EU and of more focus on the EU’s own human rights record.

Prof. Dubravka Šimonovic from the MFA Diplomatic Academy in Zagreb who is also a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women elaborated on her visions for the UN human rights reform. She focused on treaty body reform and explained the wish of harmonization, that civil society and UN agencies should be more involved and highlighted that treaty bodies should be permanent institutions involving professionals and independent experts and that a World Court of Human Rights would be welcome.

The Vice-President of the Human Rights Council Mr. Christian Strohal spoke about the recent developments in the Human Rights Council. He elaborated on the reasons why the Council now acts beyond expectations, such as the positive influence of the Universal Periodic Review, of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, re-engagement of the US, better internal preparation and outreach of the EU, the Arab Spring etc. and gave an outlook.

The director of the Research and Right to Development Division of OHCHR Ms. Marcia V. J. Kran disclosed UN perspectives and action on a human rights-based approach to development. She provided an overview of how mainstreaming human rights and the human rights-based approach are anchored in the UN system. She then highlighted examples of what has worked and what needs to be strengthened. Finally, she shared some ideas on how the EU can play a part in the UN human rights reform and human rights based-development.

Mr. Theuermann closed the panel by elaborating on EU perspectives on UN human rights reform where he explained the development and challenges in this regard, such as strategic planning and building coalitions within and with the Human Rights Council and Security Council, the involvement in matters like CSR, economic, social and cultural rights, migrants’ rights, and gave examples of good practices.
The conference was then closed by final remarks by Prof. Butenschøn and Prof. Nowak.

The publication of the conference proceedings and final recommendations is envisaged by early spring 2013 by Neuer Wissenschaftlicher Verlag.

April 2012

Transnational Judicial Dialogue of Domestic Courts on International Organizations

On 23 April 2012, the Head of the Section for International Law and International Relations of the University of Vienna, Prof. August Reinisch, hosted the Conference "Transnational Judicial Dialogue of Domestic Courts on International Organizations". The conference which was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (Project I581-G15), formed part of an international collaborative research effort within the project “10-ECRP-028 International law through the national prism: the impact of judicial dialogue” sponsored by the ESF (European Science Foundation).

On this one-day event, 16 legal scholars from research institutions in Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Russia and Switzerland were joined by over 80 participants, including practitioners and representatives of international organizations. The aim of the conference was to discuss domestic court decisions concerning the domestic legal personality as well as the privileges and immunities of international organisations, also from the perspective of a possible "transnational judicial dialogue". All contributors were able to provide an overview of the most important legal issues and methods used by courts on the basis of an exhaustive analysis of the available cases. In addition, they analyzed the available jurisprudence also from the perspective of a possible judicial dialogue. In his introduction to the conference, Professor Reinisch defined transnational judicial dialogue broadly as "the willingness of domestic courts to look beyond their own jurisdiction and to take into account decisions rendered by other national or by international courts or tribunals (i.e. horizontal or vertical dialogue)." Indeed, most contributors were able to identify some instances of indirect/implicit judicial dialogue. Moreover, in a smaller number of cases, direct/explicit invocation or discussion of foreign or international court decisions by domestic courts could also be identified. The active participation of practising lawyers and legal advisers to international organizations during the conference greatly contributed to an exchange of views and experience.

The conference was part of a larger book project. The volume, to be edited in 2013, will include and build on the insights gained and networks established during the conference. In addition, three authors who were unable to attend the 23 April 2012 conference will contribute to the edited volume by examining the available cases in India, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom.



EU and Investment Agreements - Open Questions and Remaining Challenges

International Conference organised by The University of Halle, University of Siegen & University of Vienna in association with the Canada­ EU Strategic Knowledge Cluster. The transfer of FDI competence to the EU with the Treaty of Lisbon opened the way for a more coherent EU international investment policy. Two and a half years on, the EU and Investment Agreements conference assesses crucial issues that remain open. The role of the Member States in the negotiation and conclusion of future EU investment agreements, the inclusion of investorstate dispute settlement provisions, as well as the status of national investment insurance systems in the wake of the Treaty of Lisbon are key topics that leave unresolved questions and challenges that need to be successfully tackled in order to achieve the dynamic EU international investment policy desired by the EU Treatymakers. 18 June 2012. Vienna, Austria. Program and Registration you can find here.


January 2012

Recently Published

State Entities in International Investment Law

by Dr. Luca Schicho

Studien zum Internationalen Investitionsrecht, vol. 4 (2012), 249 pp.

ISBN 978-3-8329-6516-7. See here http://www.nomos-shop.de/13523.

Section for International Law and International Relations
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