Research at the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL) aims at the critical under-standing of the role of international law in society and at the law’s progressive development. International law significantly impacts on the everyday life of many people—whether they find themselves in theatres of war, are subject to persecution, or just buy products whose production chain reaches across the globe.
‘Promoting the critical understanding and progressive development of international law’
International law plays many different roles in contemporary society. The life of the over 7 billion people in the world is vexed by a series of challenges on both local and global levels—be it inequality, climate change or conflict, among others—that can hardly be tackled without international cooperation and the mechanisms of international law. While the law aspires to offer protection, especially for weaker parties, it is also an instrument for stronger actors to exert their power. While it harbours aspirations towards justice, it may also take part in perpetuating instances of injustice. In short, while international law should be an important part in tackling some of the key challenges for society, it may also contribute to the creation of those challenges to begin with.
In clear recognition of these different roles of international law, research at ACIL aims at the critical understanding and its progressive development. It combines a plurality of methods to understand and develop international law in its context.
‘A plurality of methods to understand and develop international law in its context’
In order to pursue its aims, collaboration across sub-disciplines is as necessary as specific expertise. The aims put fundamental and applied research work in sync: One typically works better in close proximity of the other. This combination of theoretical and practice-oriented work is one of the particular strengths of ACIL. It also contributes to both high academic impact of research at ACIL and to great societal relevance.
The Amsterdam Center for International Law