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The International Law Commission (ILC) adopted the Draft Conclusions on Identification of Customary International Law on first reading in 2016 (UN Doc. A/71/10). These Draft Conclusions are an important resource in a classic and thorny area of international law.

This workshop organised by ACIL aimed to explore the position of two actors in the process of forming and identifying customary international law: first, ‘specially-affected states’, as they have been famously termed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ); and, second, international organizations. Both of them play only a modest role in the Draft Conclusions.

Some of the questions discussed at this workshop included: have the Draft Conclusions, in terms of doctrine, theory and practice, properly accounted for specially-affected states and international organizations? Or should the final Conclusions – which are due to be adopted by the ILC later this year – accord them greater prominence?

Speakers at the event included:

  • Sienho Yee, Wuhan University (Specially Affected States in CIL Formation: Reflections on Criteria for Generality, Widespreadness, Representativeness, International Organizations in CIL Formation: Reflections on Possible Criteria for Possible Contributions);
  • Tullio Treves, University of Milan (Why the Draft Conclusions should not make reference to specially affected States)
  • Tom Ruys, University of Ghent (All States are equal, but some are more equal than others. Challenging the SAS doctrine)
  • Larissa van den Herik, University of Leiden (The UN and the use of sanctions and self-defence against non-state actors: Reporting requirements as a channel for custom formation)
  • Jean d’Aspremont, University of Manchester / Sciences Po Paris (International organizations and the formation of custom: mutualization or separate identification?)

The event was organised and moderated by Kevin Jon Heller and Catherine Brölmann, both of the University of Amsterdam.

mr. dr. C.M. (Catherine) Brölmann

Associate Professor

dr. K.J. Heller

Associate Professor