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High-level Lecture by Prof. William Schabas

The International Rule of Law Under Threat: The Role of the EU and International Courts

26 November 2018, Royal Academy, Brussels

This lecture will take stock of the fundamental contribution which international courts (such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court) and regional courts (such as the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights) make to the rule of law, but also of the immense challenges that these institutions currently face, including lack of capacity and loss of authority. In times where an increasing number of States leave the international judicial framework or refuse to comply with judicial decisions, the question that arises is what can the European Union do, as a staunch supporter of the international judiciary and the rule of law, when it comes to tackling ‘international rule of law backsliding’, both within its membership and in its relations with the wider world. And how credible is the Union itself as a supporter of the international rule of law, given its own difficulties in joining the European Convention on Human Rights?

Sandwiches and refreshments will be served before the lecture. Participation is free, but advance registration is required.

About the Lecturer

Professor William A. Schabas is a leading international authority and both a theoretician and a practitioner on international criminal law. He is currently professor of international law at Middlesex University in London and professor of international criminal law and human rights in Leiden. He is also distinguished visiting faculty at Sciences Po in Paris and a doctor honoris causa of Northwestern University (Chicago), Case Western University (Cleveland), Copenhagen University and Dalhousie University (Halifax). He was a member of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission and chairman of the international Commission to investigate violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He has been a lawyer and legal counsel in litigation before the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (The Hague), the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg) and the United Nations Human Rights Committee (Geneva). He is the author of more than twenty books and 400 academic journal articles in the fields of human rights, international criminal law, war crimes, genocide, death penalty etc.


RECONNECT is a four-year multidisciplinary research project on ‘Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law’, aimed at understanding and providing solutions to the recent challenges faced by the European Union (EU). With an explicit focus on strengthening the EU’s legitimacy through democracy and the rule of law, RECONNECT seeks to build a new narrative for Europe, enabling the EU to become more attuned to the expectations of its citizens. RECONNECT brings together 18 academic partner institutions from 14 countries.


25 Nov 2018 @ 06:00 pm

26 Nov 2018 @ 08:30 pm

Duration: 1 days, 2 hours


Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts

1 Rue Ducale

1000 Bruxelles


Organised by

Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, KU Leuven

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