Practices of International Law: Contesting Norms, Negotiating Ambiguity

International Workshop at the Cluster of Excellence “Formation of Normative Orders”

3-4 July 2015

Convener: Jens Steffek, TU Darmstadt, Cluster of Excellence “Formation of Normative Orders”

Normative Orders Building
Max Horkheimer Str. 2
Campus Westend
Goethe University Frankfurt/Main

In this interdisciplinary workshop we focus on ambiguity and contestation in the field of international law. The indeterminacy, vagueness or ambiguity of law is an important topic in legal theory. Precision of norms may be a virtue, but in practice it is rarely achieved and not always useful. International law seems to be especially prone to vagueness and ambiguity due to its politicized character and the diplomatic dynamics of compromising in its formulation. In a similar vein, the validity of international legal norms, as well as their applicability to specific local cases, are often particularly contested. In this workshop we plan to explore political and legal practices, in which the meaning and/or applicability of global norms are negotiated. Concentrating thus on “norms in use” we will look at practices of norm formulation, in which vagueness and ambiguity are purposefully produced; on the (re-)negotiation of norms in the light of concrete circumstances where conflicts of interpretation may be (temporarily) settled; on attempts at balancing competing concerns that both informed a prescription; and on the creeping “erosion” of legal norms through persistent contestation.

 

Programme:

Friday, 3 July 2015

10:00
Welcome and Introduction
Jens Steffek

10:30-12:45

Session 1 “International Law as Practice”

“Navigating international law: changing practices, paradoxes and politics of global rule”
Tanja Aalberts (Amsterdam)

“Legality, interdisciplinarity and the study of practices.”
Nikolas Rajkovic (Brussels)

Comment: Gunther Hellmann (Frankfurt)

12:45 – 14:00

Lunch

14:00 – 17:00

Session 2 “Negotiating the Ambiguity of International Law”

 “Ambiguity and normative contestation in the laws of war”
Michael Byers (Vancouver)

“Strategically created treaty conflicts and the politics of international law”
Surabhi Ranganathan (Cambridge)

“Ambiguities of legalization: measuring the vagueness of international law”
Hanne Weismann (Darmstadt)

Comment: tba

18:00  - 19:30

Public Keynote Speech

“After theory, before empiricism – or, how to think about praxis”
Friedrich Kratochwil (Florence)

20:00

Conference dinner


Saturday, 4 July 2015

9:00 – 11:00

Session 3 “Global Norms, Local Practices: International Law and Transitional Justice”

“All roads lead to Rome?: Transitional justice and the rise in accountability and state impunity for international crimes”
Laurel Fletcher (Berkeley)

“Debating justice in transitional contexts: societal, governmental and international perspectives”
Nadia El-Ouerghemmi (Darmstadt)

Comment: Susanne Buckley-Zistel (Marburg)

11:00 – 11:30

Coffee

11:30-13:30

Session 4 “The Practices of International Criminal Law”

“Legal humanitarianism: critiquing international criminal law's restorative turn”
Sara Kendall (Canterbury)

“In search of the relevant victim: victim participation and the ghost of the real at the ICC”
Gianna Schlichte (Darmstadt)

Comment: Klaus Günther (Frankfurt)

13:30 – 14:30

Lunch

14:30 – 16:30

Session 5 “Innovation and Contestation”

“Stepping into the gap: innovation and contestation in international law”
Wayne Sandholtz (Southern California)

“The normative force of contestation: norm specification by applicatory discourses”
Antonio Arcudi (Frankfurt)

Comment: Nicole Deitelhoff (Frankfurt)

Presented by: Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders" and Technische Universität Darmstadt


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