“International Law and Xenophobic Anxiety” – Prof. Tendayi Achiume

January 12, 2017, 3:30 – 5:30 — Osgoode Hall Law School (Ignat Kaneff Building), Room 2027

On January 12, 2017, the International Law in the Global South Research Seminar Series was fortunate enough to host Professor Tendayi Achiume, who provided an engaging presentation entitled “International Law and Xenophobic Anxiety“. The presentation inspired a fruitful discussion amongst those who attended and ended the last seminar of the academic year on a high note.


Tendayi Achiume is Assistant Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, where she is a core faculty member of the Critical Race Studies Program and the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. Her research and teaching interests lie in international human rights law, international refugee law, migration, international criminal justice, and property. In 2016 she was appointed to co-chair the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law. She earned her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Yale Law School. After law school she clerked for Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Justice Yvonne Mokgoro on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Thereafter she represented refugees and migrants at Lawyers for Human Rights in Johannesburg, while teaching on the faculty of the International Human Rights Exchange Programme based at the University of the Witswatersrand. Prior to her current appointment at UCLA, she was a litigation associate at the New York office of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Her publications include “Syria, Cost-Sharing and the Responsibility to Protect Refugees,” 100 Minnesota Law Review 687 (2015).

Watch Professor Achiume’s Lecture in the ILIGS Series Here

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“The Malabo Protocol and International Criminal Justice in Africa” – Prof. Matiangai Sirleaf

October 17, 2016, 3:30-5:30 — Osgoode Hall Law School (Ignat Kaneff Building), Room 2027

To kick off the 2016-2017 academic year, the International Law in the Global South Research Seminar Series hosted Professor Matiangai Sirleaf on October 17, 2016, who delivered a fascinating presentation entitled “The Malabo Protocol and International Criminal Justice in Africa“.  The seminar was well attended by a diverse audience, and the post-seminar discussion saw a fruitful exchange of ideas among all participants.  matiangainewhighresphoto

Matiangai Sirleaf is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University Pittsburgh Law School.  Her scholarly work asks how institutions can more systematically address the challenges of providing redress for survivors of mass violence in resource-constrained contexts.  Her work draws on insights from the fields of international law and human rights, as well as criminal law.  Her most recent publication is Regionalism, Regime Complexes and International Criminal Justice in Africa 54 Colum. J. Transnat’l L. 699 (2016). She is a graduate of Yale Law School.  Prior to law school, she earned an M.A. in International Affairs, from the University of Ghana-Legon while on a Fulbright Fellowship.  Matiangai’s practice experience includes serving as counsel in the International Human Rights Practice Group at Cohen Milstein, where she assisted with numerous cutting-edge international human rights cases, representing victims of human trafficking and forced labor, torture, enforced disappearance, extrajudicial killing, and arbitrary detention. Prior to this, she worked in South Africa where she clerked on the Constitutional Court for South Africa for former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, taught a course on civic engagement with human rights for the International Human Rights Exchange Programme at the University of Witwatersrand, and worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice in Cape Town, South Africa on a Bernstein Fellowship (a fellowship for selected Yale Law School graduates to engage in full-time human rights advocacy).

Abstract: In June of 2014, the African Union (AU) adopted the Malabo Protocol, which if fifteen states ratify the Protocol, would create a standing regional criminal court. In her forthcoming work The Malabo Protocol and International Criminal Justice in Africa, Sirleaf illuminates the ways in which the Malabo Protocol is building on the experience of international criminal justice in Africa.  Although the literature assessing the Malabo Protocol is still in its infancy, what little scholarly analysis that exists has focused on questions of doctrinal compatibility between the Malabo regime and that established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).  For example, some scholars have focused on the principle of complementarity, and the legality of the proposed regional criminal chamber vis-à-vis the ICC.  Conventional wisdom on the Malabo Protocol views it as a negative development that works to insulate the “dictators club” from facing international criminal justice.  As a result, most commentators view the Malabo Protocol as a contribution designed to take the field of international criminal justice backwards, and potentially undermine key gains secured by the Rome Statute.  Sirleaf takes a different approach, she analyzes how the trivializing assessment of the Protocol that dominates commentary devalues the pioneering and varied approaches to addressing massive human rights violations produced by the African Continent.  This work firmly situates the proposed regional court in the transitional and international criminal justice experiences in Africa to date and demonstrates how the Protocol builds on these experiences.  Further, Sirleaf contends that the Malabo Protocol offers the Continent an important, alternative vision of supranational criminal justice.  She asserts that the Protocol allows us to think more creatively about what the project of transitional and international criminal justice could look like—the types of claims, actors covered, as well as the appropriate levels of adjudication.  She  concludes that the regional court could arguably tailor criminal accountability to the context, needs, and aspirations of the African Continent.

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“The Moving Location of Empire: History, Anthropology and the Living Archive of International Law” – Prof. Luis Eslava

March 10, 2016, 3:30-5:30 — Osgoode Hall Law School (Ignat Kaneff Building), Room 2027

For the final seminar of the 2015/2016 academic year, the ILIGS was joined by Luis Eslava, Lecturer in Law at University of Kent Law School, with a presentation entitled “The Moving Location of Empire: History, Anthropology and the Living Archive of International Law”. Borrowing insights from critical historiography and the anthropology of international law, Luis’s seminar engaged with the longstanding relation between international law and imperialism.   With reference to late colonial footage produced by the Bantu Education Kinema, Luis explored the dynamism and implications of late imperialism, both past and present.  As usual, the discussion (led by Osgoode Professor Ruth Buchanan) saw a fruitful exchange of ideas from those in attendance, to close off a positive inaugural year for the ILIGS.


Luis Eslava works in the areas of International Law, International Legal Theory and History, Anthropology of International Law, Public Law, Law and Development, Theory of Property, and Urban Law and Politics at the University of Kent, Kent Law School. His research focuses on the relationship between international and domestic legal orders, and the effects of this relationship both on our jurisprudential understanding of these areas of law, and on the constitution of everyday life in today’s global order. In recent years, Luis has been particularly interested in the increasing impact of local jurisdictions (e.g. cities and municipalities) on the international scene. His work in this area interrogates the rationale and contradictions that have accompanied this trend, using different locations in the Global South as case studies.

Abstract: Borrowing insights from critical historiography and the anthropology of international law, I engage in this presentation with the longstanding relation between International Law and imperialism, using late colonial footage produced by the Bantu Education Kinema Experiment as the departing point for my analysis. Between 1935 and 1937, the International Missionary Council conducted the Bantu Experiment, in coordination with the colonial governments of the British protectorates and mandates in Tanganyika (today Tanzania), Kenya, Uganda, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland (currently Zambia and Malawi). The objective of the Bantu Experiment was the production of educational films to be screened to ‘native’ people by mobile cinemas. The films used local actors, and their tone was overtly pedagogical. Plots were intentionally formulaic, striving to capture ‘the native point of view’. Thirty-five films were produced in total during the two years of the project. Today, only three of these films survive. As I will argue, the Bantu Experiment helps us understand the dynamism of late imperialism, as it played out at one of the most important moments in the formation of a modern international legal order under the League of Nations, and as it continues to inform our present global relations.


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“Re-Politicizing State Sovereignty in Global Governance: A Political Economy of Transparency in the Oil Sectors of Gabon and Ghana” – Dr. Nadège Compaoré

February 10, 2016, 3:30-5:30; Osgoode Hall Law School (Ignat Kaneff Building), Room 2027

After recently joining York University’s Department of Social Science as a SSHRC Postdoctroral Fellow, Nadège Compaoré was invited to give the third ILIGS seminar on February 12, 2016. The seminar, entitled “Re-Politicizing State Sovereignty in Global Governance: A Political Economy of Transparency in the Oil Sectors of Gabon and Ghana” explored political and economic role of oil-rich post-colonial states within the context of global governance mechanisms.  As an International Relations scholar, Nadège’s presentation gave those in attendance an interesting viewpoint on the relationship between TWAIL and “TWAIR” – Third World Approaches to International Relations.  Indeed, this inter-disciplinary presentation sparked considerable discussion from scholars of both law and politics at Ycompaore_photoork University.

Dr. Nadège Compaoré is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Social Science at York University. She holds a PhD in Political Studies from Queen’s University, where her research was funded by SSHRC, by the Center for International Governance Innovation, and by the Canadian International Development Agency. Compaoré’s work draws upon TWAIL scholarship and International Relations theory, to construct de-colonial critiques of global governance measures in the extractive sector. Her current research investigates the changing nature of mining legislations in Africa, and the implications of these changes for corporate and state behaviour in host countries. Compaoré is co-editor of New Approaches to the Governance of Natural Resources: Insights from Africa (with J.A. Grant and M.I Mitchell, Palgrave 2014).

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“Hegemony and Pluralism in International Criminal Law” – Prof. Asad Kiyani

October 20, 2015, 3:30-5:30; Osgoode Hall Law School (Ignat Kaneff Building), Room 2010

On October 20, 2015, the ILIGS hosted Asad Kiyani, Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Law, to deliver a seminar entitled “Hegemony and Pluralism in International Criminal Law”.  His presentation focused on the underlying dilemma between pluralism in international criminal law on one hand, and international criminal law’s international dimension on the other.  Asad posited that this tensAsad Kiyaniion resulted in a failure to challenge the axes of intra- and inter-state power that continues to operate within international criminal law.

The question-and-answer period, led by Professor Faisal Bhabha, sparked much discussion, with those in attendance sharing their thoughts about the intersection between international law and criminal law from a Global South perspective.

Asad Kiyani is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law, and an Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of British Columbia, where his research on the theoretical foundations of international criminal law has been supported through a SSHRC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, a Four-Year Fellowship, and the Charles Bourne Graduate Scholarship in International Law.

Prior to starting his PhD, Asad completed his LL.B. at Osgoode and his LL.M. at the University of Cambridge. His research and teaching expertise includes domestic, transnational and comparative criminal law; domestic and comparative criminal procedure; evidence; postcolonial theory; and, public international law. Asad has published in a number of peer-reviewed and leading journals around the world, and his work has most recently been accepted in the NYU Journal of International Law & Politics and the American Journal of International Law Unbound. Asad is also co-editing a symposium issue of the Journal of International Criminal Justice that focuses on Third World Approaches to International Criminal Law.

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“Monuments of Civilization: Cultural Destruction as a War Crime” – Ms. Jerusa Ali

January 12, 2016, 4:30-6:30 — Osgoode Hall Law School (Ignat Kaneff Building), Room 2010

The ILIGS kicked off the 2016 year, hosting Jerusa Ali on January 11, 2016. Jerusa’s seminar, entitled “Monuments of Civilization: Cultural Destruction as a War Crime”, was a fascinating discussion on the practice of cultural https://0.academia-photos.com/2476079/774562/12452638/s200_jerusa.ali.jpgdestruction in international criminal law, drawing on TWAIL scholarship and illustrative examples from recent films (The Monuments Men & Timbuktu).  This seminar also had a positive turnout from members of the Osgoode community.  The discussion period, led by PhD candidate Angus Grant, lasted for over an hour, with almost all participants sharing their views on the nexus between culture, property and law from a Global South perspective.

Jerusa Ali is a doctoral candidate in Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University. She holds a BSc in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, an MA in International Relations from Keele University and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Nottingham. Her research, supported by the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, is motivated by non-Western theoretical approaches to international law, and methodologically, she draws inspiration from TWAIL scholarship with its focus on marginal and peripheral voices, exclusions, hidden histories, and its attentiveness to race, gender and power. As part of her doctoral project on the history and development of international criminal justice in an African context, she is currently undertaking research on international legal responses to insurgent movements at the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Ilorin, Nigeria.

Abstract: In September 2015, the International Criminal Court (ICC) began legal proceedings against Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, allegedly affiliated with the religious extremist group Ansar Eddine, for individually and jointly directing the attacks on ten religious mausoleums and mosques in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012. This marks the first case where the ICC will examine cultural destruction as a war crime (Art. 8(2)(e)(iv)) and provides an opportunity for scholars to examine the crime of unlawful attacks against cultural property as it has developed under customary international law. The first part of the paper narrates the social, political and historical contexts that gave rise to the development of the crime of cultural destruction in international humanitarian law, drawing on both Western and non-Western sources. In the narration of resistance in international law, B. S. Chimni (2006) suggests that Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) scholars, ‘…experiment with literary and art forms (plays, exhibitions, novels, films) to capture the imagination of those who have just entered the world of international law’ (22). Taking up this challenge, the second part of the paper reveals the complexity of the cultural encounter, and the cultural meaning attached to the recovery and restoration of ‘monuments of civilisation’ through an analysis of the films Timbuktu (Sissako 2014) and The Monuments Men (Clooney 2014). The paper resists the key assumption that underlies the crime of cultural destruction—that property and objects alone are generative of social, cultural, and religious meaning.

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International Law in the Global South Research Seminar Series – 2015/2016 Edition

Established with a grant from the Harry Arthurs Fund, the International Law in the Global South (ILIGS) research seminar series was inaugurated during the 2015-16 academic year by a group of faculty from Osgoode Hall Law School. Open to all, this seminar series focused on International law from a TWAILian perspective, with discussions centred on a work-in-progress presented by younger academics from around the world.  An assigned “discussant” led the way during the question-and-answer periods that followed each such seminar.

During this inaugural edition, the seminars were generally held in the afternoon in two hour slots between 3:30 and 5:30 pm on the appointed days. Four such seminars were held in the 2015/2016 academic year. They had in attendance a core group of TWAIL scholars, or those interested in TWAIL who teach or study at Osgoode/York University, as well as scholars from other universities and institutions in and around Canada.  At the conclusion of each seminar, the presenter was taken to dinner by a group of faculty members and other scholars in the field.

The core group of Osgoode faculty that founded this seminar series included Professors Obiora Okafor (Convenor), Ikechi Mgbeoji, Gus van Harten, Robert Wai, Ruth Buchanan, Faisal Bhabha and Amar Bhatia. Professor Hengameh Sabieri greatly assisted this group.

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