Institutions and International Law in Eastern Europe

Institutions and International Law in Eastern Europe

Isabella Löhr, Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO)
GWZO, Specks Hof, Reichsstraße 4-6, 04109 Leipzig
From - Until
28.09.2017 - 29.09.2017
Isabella Löhr

International law is enjoying increasing popularity among historians of global and interna-tional affairs, due to a re-reading of legal norms and rules that questions a state-centered approach. Instead of seeing law as an outcome of state behavior, recent scholarship has ex-amined the transnational character of law and legal communities, and the oftentimes com-plex negotiation processes that precede the codification and subsequent ratification of in-ternational conventions. This perspective aligns with the focus on border-crossing relations and on professional and nonstate actors and institutions that has become essential to global and international history. Moreover, connections forged between the history of internation-al law and discussions of the limits of legal universalism have increased the legal dimension’s relevance for historians of empire and decolonization. Encircling notions of hegemony, im-perialism, and civilization, and scrutinizing the role of international law in imperial and civiliz-ing missions, this strand of research has given rise to regional histories of international law. Scholars have begun to explore the relationship between legal and regional developments by asking how international law has been tailored to serve specific regional interests, prob-lems, or conflicts. This approach complements the focus on the law’s imperial bias and acknowledges the entanglement of legal and political agendas while also emphasizing the agency of regional actors. It also concedes that regional appropriations of international law could serve these actors’ own agendas or be a vehicle for emancipation.

The conference unites research on the history of international law with studies on Eastern Europe to investigate the controversial role of international law in the complex and conten-tious reordering of the region since the Congress of Vienna. The conference proposes that the extraordinary density of political, social and ethnic conflicts and the decades-long strug-gles over territorial boundaries in Eastern Europe have left clear traces in international law. More specifically, it addresses these issues through the lens of international institutions, which offer a starting point from which to identify topics; single out involved states, groups, and transnational actors from East Central and Eastern Europe; and reveal how regional con-stellations were universalized in the process of negotiating and implementing international norms and rules.


Thursday, September 28

14.00 – 14.30 Welcome and introduction

14.30 – 14.45 Coffee break

14.45 – 17.00 Panel 1: Minority protection
Chair: Isabella Löhr (Leipzig)
Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark (Åland): Normative tools for managing dif-ference in the League of Nations: Minority protection, territorial au-tonomy and mandates
Stephan Wendehorst (Gießen/Vienna): Ernst Flachbarth and the turn to history in international law: The transformation of early modern re-ligious guarantees into national minority protection in interwar inter-national law
Hannah Müller-Sommerfeld (Leipzig): From international minority pro-tection to human rights. The Paris Peace Treaties of 1947

17.00 – 17.30 Coffee break

17.30 – 19.00 Panel 2: Overlapping sovereignties and their international settlement
Chair: Dietmar Müller (Leipzig)
Malcolm Maclaren (Zurich): The contribution of the treaty of Versailles to the development of international law: The case of the Free City of Danzig
Antal Berkes (Manchester): The international settlement of land re-form disputes of successor states in Eastern Europe (1918–1939)

19.00 – 19.30 Light dinner

19.30 Comment and discussion

Friday, September 29
9.00 – 11.15 Panel 3: Tribunals and international criminal law
Chair: Elisabeth Gallas (Leipzig)
Michal Swarabowicz (Geneva): Upper Silesia Mixed Tribunal: An inter-national experiment seen from the modern perspective
David Petrucelli (Vienna): International criminal law as a solution to the problem of Eastern Europe between the two world wars
Miloš Hrnjaz (Belgrade): Eastern Europe before the World Court: Thumbelina of the international legal order?

11.15 – 11.45 Coffee break

11.45 – 12.30 Panel 4: Delineating and re-defining international law
Chair: Katja Naumann (Leipzig)
Arno Trueltzsch (Leipzig): Non-alignment in the United Nations and its impact on international law: The case of Yugoslavia

12.30 – 14.00 Lunch break

14.00 – 16.15 Panel 5: International humanitarian law
Chair: Agata Fijalkowski (Lancaster)
Will Smiley (Portland): The law of war on the Danube: Prisoners, trea-ties, and legal change in the Ottoman Empire, 1853–1878
Kerstin von Lingen (Heidelberg): From The Hague to Versailles: How to punish crimes against civilians
Sabina Ferhadbegović (Jena): Eastern Europeans in the United Nations War Crimes Commission

16.15 – 16.30 Coffee break

16.30 – 17.00 Final discussion

Contact (announcement)

Dr. Isabella Löhr
Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO)
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