An Ambivalent Engagement: International Organisations and the International Rule of Law

Workshop at the occasion of the

2019 ESIL Research Forum, Göttingen

3rd April 2019, 13:00 – 16:30

Zentrales Hörsaalgebäude, Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5, 37073 Göttingen

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Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

The ESIL Interest Group on International Organisations gladly presents the programme of the workshop on the theme of international organisations and the rule of law. The Coordinating Committee has received many excellent submissions in response to the call for papers – and competition was fierce. We congratulate those who made it to the programme and thank all those who submitted abstracts.

The workshop will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday 3rd April 2019. The workshop is organized in two panels, which will cover, firstly, theoretical and political questions relating to the rule of law and international organisations and, secondly, three case studies addressing the rule of law in relation to the EU and the World Bank.


For some time it has been an article of faith within the international legal academy that the realisation of an international rule of law requires the creation of international institutions capable of securing the fair and impartial administration of international justice against the recalcitrance of independent sovereign states. Indeed, from one perspective at least, it is very easy to see the decentralized institutional character of the international legal order as the central obstacle to the realisation of the rule of law in international affairs. With the ‘move to institutions’ from the start of the twentieth century, then, it has been equally easy to conceive of many new international organisations – from the League and the United Nations to the World Bank and the ICC – as an effort to restructure international relations more in accordance with the precepts of an international rule of law.

As mid-twentieth century reformist enthusiasm has given way to post-Cold War cynicism and scepticism, however, it appears increasingly to be the case that the growing number and normative influence of international organisations increasingly threatens values most associated with the rule of law. Indeed, given concerns over the fragmentation and deformalisation of international law associated with the move towards what we now call ‘global governance’ international lawyers increasingly propose rule of law-inspired proposals for institutional containment and restraint.


An Ambivalent Engagement: International Organisations and the International Rule of Law


13h00 Welcome and Introduction

Sufyan Droubi


  First Panel Theoretical and Political Questions
  Richard Collins Chair
13h00 Moise Jean La politique internationale de l’état de droit. Entre paradoxe et instrumentalisation
13h15 Sean Shun Ming Yau and Francisco Lobo The trajectory of jus cogens development at the International Law Commission and its consequences for the international rule of law: dynamics and challenges
13h30 Mariela Apostolaki Legal orders of international organizations and the international legal order: Separate or Interconnected?
13h45 Dimitri van den Meerssche Discussant
14h00 Q&A


14h40 Coffee Break


Second Panel Case Studies
  Catherine Brölmann Chair
15h00 Eva Kassoti The EU and the Precarious Balance between Autonomy and the International Rule of Law: The Potential and Limitations of Consistent Interpretation
15h15 Lisa Louwerse Mind the gap: the element of legality in the EU’s conceptualisation of the rule of law in its enlargement policy
15h30 Nazım Sinan Odabaşi The World Bank’s Understanding of the Rule of Law and the New Environmental and Social Framework
15h45 Arnaud Louwette Discussant
16h00 Q&A


16h40 Update on the Works of the IG-IO

Sufyan Droubi


Panelists and Discussants

Arnaud Louwette, Maître de conferences, Centre de Droit International, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Dimitri van den Meerssche, Researcher, Asser Institute

Eva Kassoti, Senior Researcher in European and International Law, Academic coordinator of CLEER, T.M.C. Asser Institute

Francisco Lobo, Legal Theory Professor, Diego Portales University, International Criminal Law Professor, Adolfo Ibáñez University.

Lisa Louwerse, Ph.D. Candidate, Leiden University, Senior Lecturer in Law, The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Mariela Apostolaki, PhD Candidate, University of Manchester

Moise Jean, Doctorant en droit public, Université Paris X Nanterre, Chercheur, Max Planck, Luxembourg

Nazım Sinan Odabaşi, Ph.D. Candidate, Istanbul Bilgi University

Sean Shun Ming Yau, PhD Researcher, Amsterdam Center for International Law, University of Amsterdam; Research Assistant, UN International Law Commission

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The Law of the Sea Interest Group of the European Society of International Law


Interest Group on Peace and Security / Groupe de Réflexion sur la Paix et la Sécurité

International Organisations Interest Group

European Society of International Law

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