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International Scholars Travel for CICL and Law Journal Symposium

by Ashlynn Zapolski on 04/24/2023


On April 14, 2023, the Saint Louis University School of Law hosted the Center for International and Comparative Law (CICL) and Saint Louis University Law Journal Symposium, titled “The Legitimacy and Legality of War: From Philosophical Foundations to Emerging Problems.”

This symposium featured international legal scholars from across the globe who offered great insight to the international legal field while participating in discussions, dining with faculty, and meeting with students and prospective international legal scholars. With addresses from SLU's Professor Monica Eppinger, co-director for the Center for International and Comparative Law, and Father Afonso Seixas-Nunes, S.J., professor of both international law and law of armed conflict, the symposium featured two keynote speakers who followed their speeches with a roundtable talk amongst international legal scholars and an open-floor Q&A session.

Two panelists talk while sitting at a table.
Two scholars speak during a break at the symposium. 

The first keynote speech, “Russian Aggression: Jus ad Bellum and the Silence of the Global South” by Dr. Kevin J. Heller of the University of Copenhagen, Center for Military Studies, focused on the Global South and their unwillingness to hold the Russian Federation accountable for their violation of international law.

“There are 47 member states that agree to hold Russia accountable. Only three of them are from the Global South and none are from Africa,” Professor Heller said. “It is clear that the Global South's unwillingness to hold Russia accountable is political.”

Dr. Heller touched upon how the relationship between Western powers and the Global South also affected the response to Russian action. Following his keynote address, he led a panel consisting of Professor Gina Heathcote, SOAS, University of London; Daragh Murray, University of Queen Mary; Professor Tom Dannenbaum, Fletcher School of Law, Tufts University; Dr. Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi, University of Manchester; and Professor Jean d’Aspremont, University of Manchester.  

The second keynote speech, “International Efforts to Collect Evidence Related to Russia's Aggression Against Ukraine” by Dr. Steven Hill, executive secretary for the International Institute for Justice and Rule of Law; former chief legal advisor, NATO, covered the international efforts of gathering evidence and responses to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

“Efforts to gather evidence in Ukraine did not begin in 2022, they had been going on since Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea,” Dr. Hill said.

He described types of evidence such as linkage evidence, contextual evidence and high-tech or digital evidence, all of which are used regarding Russia’s conduct.

The keynote was followed by a panel discussion with Professor Nicholas Tsagourias, University of Sheffield; Katie Johnston, University of Liverpool School of Law; Professor Marco Roscini,  University of Westminster, Swiss IHL Chair - Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights; and Dr. Russell Buchan, University of Sheffield, who concluded the event.  
The topics of this symposium, focusing on the war between Ukraine and Russia, are not new to the SLU LAW community. In March 2022, Eppinger and Seixas-Nunes hosted open-meeting teach-ins entitled “Ukraine: What You Need to Know” and “International Law: What You Need to Know”.

The visiting scholars and speaker pose for a group photo at Scott Hall's Courtroom

The visiting scholars and speaker pose for a group photo at Scott Hall's Courtroom