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Library blog

These blogs are written by the librarians of the Peace Palace Library. All blogs are dealing with subjects on International Law. Every blog contains links and references to the collection of the Peace Palace Library.

  • From Common Market to Common Democracy

    February 4, 2016

    Almost twenty five years after its foundation in 1992 the EU has established itself as a new polity in international law with an own and distinct model of governance. Contrary to the expectations of the signatories of the Maastricht Treaty the EU has neither become a state nor a free trade zone. The EU is not a State because sovereignty in the polity remains with the member States. According to the EU Court of Justice the EU is even ‘by its very nature precluded from being regarded as a State’.

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  • War Crimes Investigations in the UK: All is Fair in Law and War?

    January 29, 2016

    While the last British troops left Iraq in 2011, national and international investigations into the UK military’s conduct in Iraq are still ongoing and continue to spark controversy. Civil lawsuits as well as criminal prosecutions could still be on the horizon for some British soldiers. Gerry Simpson described this continuous quest for justice and the backlash against its results as the human dilemma of “wanting justice and being ‘sick of giving it’”. This blog will examine the British involvement in Iraq and the alleged war crimes committed during their mission, and the efforts and initiatives undertaken to discover the truth and to seek justice.

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  • Farewell Interview Mr. Steven van Hoogstraten

    January 29, 2016

    After serving the Carnegie Foundation as General-Director and The Hague Academy as Treasurer for a period of 13 years, Steven van Hoogstraten has officially retired on Wednesday, January 27th, 2016. For this occasion, we interviewed him and reflected on his career and achievements, his most memorable moments and his initial and future hopes for the Peace Palace. Steven van Hoogstraten started his career working at various Dutch Ministries where much of his work was focused on the implementation of European and International Law into the Dutch legal system.

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  • Codex Alimentarius 50 years and Beyond!

    January 29, 2016

    This blog was written in honor of the farewell of Mr. Van Hoogstraten, General-Director of the Carnegie Foundation and Treasurer of The Hague Academy of International Law. Mr. Steven van Hoogstraten held the position of Director for Food Policy and Product Safety at the Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (1990-2000). Additionally Steven van Hoogstraten represented the Netherlands in the Codex Alimentarius Commission. He stood at the cradle of the creation of Codex Alimentarius and its implementation in the Netherlands. Furthermore Steven van Hoogstraten was appointed as the Vice-president of the Codex for a few years and has comprehenisive understanding of the workings of the Commission.

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  • Mexico and the Drug Cartels: A History of Fascination

    January 29, 2016

    On January 9th, 2016, Rolling Stone published an interview between Sean Penn and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, head of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel. The fascination that Hollywood, and thus a large part of the western world, has for the Mexican drug cartels and the drug war they are engaging in is anything but recent. Mexico’s drug cartels, as well as widespread violence, money laundering and corruption, are elements which are as closely linked to Mexico’s image as its ancient civilizations. This article will explore the history of Mexico’s drug cartels and the close relationship between drugs and Mexico’s development.

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  • Enforcing the Rule of Law: The Case of Poland

    January 22, 2016

    After the Law and Justice Party (PiS) took control over the presidency in May 2015 and won a clear majority in Poland’s last parliamentary elections in October 2015, the new conservative PiS government quickly expanded its control over the media and judiciary. They did so by introducing controversial amendments to laws, which were first passed through the Sejm: the Polish Parliament and then approved by the Senate and Poland’s new President Duda.

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  • America’s Gun Crisis

    January 15, 2016

    In recent years, the United States of America has experienced a rise in mass shootings which are unparalleled compared to other nations in the world. Mass shootings by gunmen in civilian settings are not only taking place on a frequent basis, over time they have also become deadlier. Earlier this month, President Obama stated that every year, 30,000 individuals lose their life due to gun violence which equals the same number of deaths resulting from car accidents. This has stirred heated debates over the issues of gun control laws.

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  • Essequibo, the Territorial Dispute between Venezuela and Guyana

    January 8, 2016

    The Essequibo (in Spanish, Esequibo), is an undeveloped, sparsely populated but resource-rich jungle territory region, nearly sixty percent of modern Guyana, consisting of all its territory west of the Essequibo River (see map). Venezuela’s deeply rooted belief is that the Essequibo region was unjustly taken from them by meddling foreign powers. It is a matter of national integrity, made more alluring by the possible wealth of natural resources there. Guyana’s position is that they are trying to defend the land that has been part of their country for almost 200 years, land they need to help develop their country economically.

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  • Peace Palace Library 2015 in Review

    December 30, 2015

    As we turn the page on 2015, the Peace Palace Library looks back on the most notable international law news and Peace Palace Library events. A lot can happen in 12 months. A look back on international news over 2015, unfortunately opened with the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris and closed the year with the terrible terror attacks in Paris. We had the war in Syria, Europe’s refugee crisis, South Africa threatened to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, while one of its greatest sporting stars Oscar Pistorius was convicted of murder.

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  • “That the Guns may Fall Silent at Least upon the Night the Angels Sang”

    December 23, 2015

    Only five months after the outbreak of the Great War in Europe, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies. Late on Christmas Eve 1914, men of the British Expeditionary Force heard Germans troops in the trenches opposite them singing carols and patriotic songs and saw lanterns and small fir trees along their trenches. Messages began to be shouted between the trenches.

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