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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.

  • Interview Sigrid Kaag

    December 9, 2016

    This month, we have the honor of interviewing Ms. Sigrid Kaag, a top Dutch diplomat who currently serves as a United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL). Last month, the Dutch Carnegie Foundation awarded Sigrid Kaag the Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize. Before the ceremony took place, we took the opportunity to interview Ms. Kaag to discuss her work at the UN, in particular, the succesful UN-OPCW joint mission Ms. Kaag led to eliminate the chemical weapons programme in Syria. We also discussed the role of international law in her daily work at the UN. Here’s what she had to say.

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  • Java Sea: Dutch, British and U.S. WW II Shipwrecks destroyed by Illegal Scavenging

    December 2, 2016

    An international investigation has been launched into the mysterious disappearance of Dutch Second World War shipwrecks which have vanished from the bottom of the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia. In a press statement on 15 November, the Dutch Defence Ministery has confirmed that the wrecks of two of its warships that sank in 1942, the HNLMS De Ruyter (see photo) and HNLMS Java, have completely gone, while large parts of a third, the HNLMS Kortenaer, are also missing. The Dutch Defence Ministry immediateley launched an investigation as to what happened to the wrecks, suggesting the wrecks may have been illegally salvaged for the scrap metal market.

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  • Defending Europe with an Army?

    November 24, 2016

    During the U.S. election campaign Trump threatened to abandon U.S. allies in Europe if they did not spend enough on defense. Apart from undermining the deterrence-effect of NATO, this policy would be disastrous for European security. Fortunately U.S. President Barack Obama has said: “In my conversation with the president-elect he expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships and so, one of the messages I will be able to deliver is his commitment to NATO and the transatlantic alliance.” Although president Trump will retain America’s commitment to the NATO alliance, Europe is awake now after dozing in under the U.S. security umbrella.

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  • ‘The World Forgetting, by the World Forgot’

    November 17, 2016

    At present there are many complex legal cases on cultural heritage waiting to be settled. These cases are a judicial challenge for all stakeholders. What makes it even more of a challenge is that most don’t realise the fact that cultural heritage is a component of a human rights issue. Cultural heritage could be described as a record of the genius of human beings. The legacy of artefacts, antiquities, traditions and living expressions could be seen as unintelligible foot print left behind for the next generations to mark our path through this world. It’s unimaginable to separate a people’s cultural heritage from the people itself and their rights.

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  • Marrakech Climate Change Conference 2016

    November 10, 2016

    The 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) is being held in Marrakech, from November 7 to 18, 2016. This international climate conference will focus on action items in order to achieve the priorities of the Paris Agreement, especially related to adaptation, transparency, technology transfer, mitigation, capacity building and loss and damages. Signatories to The Paris Agreement now have to develop their National Adaptation Plans.

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  • Using the G-Word?

    November 7, 2016

    Using the term genocide to describe a set of crimes potentially entails moral, political and legal consequences for States, with the ultimate fear of being dragged in a military ordeal. It is therefore the cause of many heavily disputed matters. Consequently, there is a high threshold for governments and parliaments to occasion a genocide determination, euphemistically known as the G-word. When in 1994 the depth of massacres in Rwanda emerged ‘’U.S. officials were afraid that the use of the stinging term would cause demands for intervention that the administration did not intend to meet’’.

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  • Africa and withdrawal from the ICC

    October 28, 2016

    Currently, 124 countries have ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. But the USA, China and the Russian Federation for example have not. 139 States have signed the Rome Statute. Of those states, 34 are African states (comprising 30 percent of the court’s membership), 28 States are Latin American and Caribbean States, 19 are Asia-Pacific States, 18 are Eastern European states and 25 are from Western Europe and other States. In the past few days three African countries have announced that they intend to withdraw from the ICC. On October 18, 2016, Pierre Nkurunziza, the President of Burundi signed legislation on withdrawal from the ICC.

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  • European Court of Auditors

    October 20, 2016

    A fiercely debated issue regarding the European Union (EU) is its budget and the allocation of funds, e.g. for agricultural subsidies. Every year one of the lesser-known European institutions, the European Court of Auditors (ECA), audits the Union’s revenue and expenditures. Furthermore ECA monitors if the annual facts and figures are reliable and if the transactions comply with the applicable European rules and regulations. This blog analyzes ECA’s legal position, formal tasks and its relationship with national Courts of Auditors.

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  • Interview: Alexia Solomou

    October 13, 2016

    The best part of working in the Library is meeting community members who are working on interesting and important projects in international law. It gets even better when they’re willing to share their stories with our readers. This month, we are delighted to introduce you to Alexia Solomou, Associate Legal Officer at the International Court of Justice. Ms. Solomou is from Cyprus and has recently succeeded in setting up a Cypriot Branch of the International Law Association. She shares with us her experience of working at the ICJ and offers us great insight in what it takes to set up an ILA branch.

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  • Towards a Toolbox for Nationality Legislation

    October 6, 2016

    From 13 to 14 October Prof. Dr. Gerard–René de Groot will host his farewell seminar on the ”Future of nationality law” at Maastricht University. In this seminar specialists in the field of nationality law will discuss how academia and civil society can best collaborate in the fight to eradicate statelessness. With whole populations adrift, nationality and citizenship today are critically important to gain admittance in a state. Nationality is in fact commonly regarded as an inalienable right of every human being. Thus, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states that “everyone has the right to a nationality” and that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality.”

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