The Politics of International Law Seminar Series

Date & time
12pm Friday 5 March 2021 – 1pm Thursday 11 August 2022

Online via Zoom Webinar

Ntina Tzouvala

Presented by Centre for International and Public Law, ANU College of Law

Virtual Seminar Series
Politics of Intl Law

'The Plumb-pudding in danger', an 1805 editorial cartoon by James Gillray, via Wikimedia Commons (CC0).

The Centre for International and Public Law (CIPL), ANU College of Law is pleased to announce a new seminar series, entitled ‘The Politics of International Law’ led by Dr Ntina Tzouvala.

The international legal order is currently facing unprecedented challenges. At the same time, international law, understood both as academic discipline and professional practice, is undergoing profound transformations that throw into question certainties that have been taken for granted at least since the end of the Cold War.

This series will explore these fundamental questions, to historicise and theorise their origins, and imagine possible answers to our current problems. The seminars are designed to bring internationally-leading voices in the discipline in conversation with scholars from The Australian National University.


Past events

Covert Resistance in Pursuit of Symmetry in International Investment Law

Friday 5 March 2021, 12-1pm

Guest Speaker:
Jean Ho, National University of Singapore, Faculty of Law

Esmé Shirlow, ANU College of Law

Legalised Identities: Cultural Heritage Law and the Shaping of Transitional Justice

Friday 19 March 2021, 12-1pm

Guest Speaker:
Lucas Lixinski, Faculty of Law, UNSW Sydney

Laurajane Smith, ANU Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies

Not Equal: Toward an International Law of Finance

Friday 16 April 2021, 12-1pm

Guest Speaker:
Kangle Zhang, Law School of Peking University/ Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki

A Case Against Crippling Compensation in International Law of State Responsibility

Thursday 29 April 2021, 5-6pm

Guest Speaker:
Martins Paparinskis, University College London, Faculty of Laws

Anthea Roberts, ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance

International Law and the Ecologically Embedded Relational Individual

Friday 14 May 2021, 12-1pm

Guest Speaker:
Sara Seck, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University

Cassandra Steer, ANU College of Law

World-making on the Sea

Thursday 3 June 2021, 5-6pm

Guest Speaker:
Surabhi Ranganathan, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law

Donald Rothwell, ANU College of Law

Disposable Lives: COVID-19, Vaccines and the Uprising

Friday 16 July 2021, 11am-12pm

Guest Speaker:
Matiangai Sirleaf, University of Maryland School of Law

Wayne Morgan, ANU College of Law

The Social Power and Political Economy of the Right to Food

Friday 30 July 2021, 12-1pm

Guest Speaker:
Michael Fakhri, University of Oregon School of Law & UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Imogen Saunders, ANU College of Law

International Law and the Politics of History

Friday 20 August 2021, 12-1pm

Guest Speaker:
Anne Orford, Melbourne Law School

Desmond Manderson, ANU College of Law

The Law and Politics of Relations among International Organisations

Friday 24 September 2021, 12-1pm

Guest Speaker:
Guy Fiti Sinclair, Auckland Law School, University of Auckland

Aditya Balasubramanian, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

The presentation will be followed by a live discussion and chat.

The Practice and Problems of Transnational Counter-Terrorism

Thursday 3 March 2022, 5-6pm 

Guest speaker:

Professor Fiona De Londras (Birmingham Law School & ANU College of Law)

Commentator: Dr Ntina Tzouvala (ANU College of Law)

The attacks of 9/11 kickstarted the development of a pervasive and durable transnational counter-terrorism order. This has evolved into a vast institutional architecture with direct effects on domestic law around the world and a number of impacts on everyday life that are often poorly understood. States found, fund and lead institutions inside and outside the United Nations that develop and consolidate transnational counter-terrorism through hard and soft law, strategies, capacity building and counter-terrorism 'products'. These institutions and laws underpin the expansion of counter-terrorism, so that new fields of activity get drawn into it, and others are securitised through their reframing as counter-terrorism and 'preventing and countering extremism'. Drawing on insights from law, international relations, political science and security studies, this book demonstrates the international, regional, national and personal impacts of this institutional and legal order. Fiona de Londras demonstrates that it is expansionary, rights-limiting and unaccountable.

Locating Justice Pal: TWAIL, International Criminal Tribunals, and Judicial Powers

Friday 18 March 2022, 12-1pm 

Guest speaker:

Dr Sujith Xavier (Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor). 
Commentator: Dr Kirsten Ainley (Senior Fellow/Associate Professor at the Coral Bell School, ANU). 

This paper brings forward Justice Pal’s dissenting opinion at the Tokyo Tribunal to add to the TWAIL literature on international criminal law. It is part of a TWAIL effort to scrutinize the everyday practices of international prosecutions through procedural and evidentiary rules. By locating and situating Justice Pal’s reason within the broader academic literature on dissents in international criminal law, it is possible to illustrate how and why Justice Pal’s views were obscured as a relevant dissent. From this vantage point, this paper then pursues Justice Pal’s legacy as it relates to the rules of evidence and procedure in the ICTY and ICTR. It traces the evolution of the judicial power to draft and amend the rules and examines the impact of these decisions on the everyday functions of the tribunals and how truth is determined. 

Reconsidering REDD+: Authority, Power and Law in the Green Economy

Wednesday 20 April 2022, 12-1pm 

Guest speaker:

Dr Julia Dehm (Senior Lecturer, La Trobe Law School)
Commentator: Professor Sango Mahanty (Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU)

This talk provides a critical analysis of some of the global legal infrastructures that have been established through emerging forms of climate governance. It interrogates the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD+ scheme, and shows how carbon offset projects operate to reorganise social relations and to establish new forms of global authority over forests in the Global South, in ways that benefit the interests of some actors while further marginalising others. This investigation reveals how the operations of global governance distributes rights, power and obligations between scales, and illuminates processes by which authority is globalised while responsibility is localised. REDD+ ultimately unequally distributes the burdens and responsibilities of climate change mitigation onto marginalized populations in the Global South.


Centering Child Development in International Children's Rights Law 

Friday 20 May 2022, 1-2pm 

Guest speaker:

Dr Noam Peleg (Faculty of Law, UNSW)
Commentator: Dr Anne MacDuff (ANU College of Law)

This talk looks at how child development and its relationship with the right to development of children have been understood in international children's rights law. I will argue that any conceptions of childhood that focus either on children's future as adults, or on children's lives in the present, overlook the hybridity of children's lived experiences and results in a narrow, and insufficient conceptualization of the right to development of children. Thus, a move forward, towards a more comprehensive understanding of child development, should offer greater respect for children's agency and human dignity and their right to participate in decision concerning their own development. 

Micronations and the search for sovereignty 

Thursday 11 August 2022, 12-1pm

Guest speaker:

Dr Harry Hobbs (UTS, Faculty of Law) 
Commentator: Dr Imogen Saunders (ANU College of Law). 

Political disagreement is a fact of life. It can prompt people to stand for public office and agitate for political change. Others take a different route; they start their own nation. Micronations and the Search for Sovereignty is the first comprehensive examination of the phenomenon of people purporting to secede and create their own country. It analyses why micronations are not states for the purposes of international law, considers the factors that motivate individuals to separate and found their own nation, examines the legal justifications that they offer and explores the responses of recognised sovereign states. In doing so, this talk that draws from book develops a rich body of material through which to reflect on conventional understandings of statehood, sovereignty and legitimate authority.


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