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Writing for OXIO

Below are statements from a number of authors in which they discuss their writing process and experiences working on the OXIO database.


“My participation in the creation of the OXIO provided me with the great opportunity to engage in thorough and deep analysis of the contribution which International Organizations make for the creation of the new generation of international law. The international law which is based on a permanent search for compromise and acceptance of differences and is not designed to protect individual interest but aims to preserve the rights of all humans and all living things, the rights of vulnerable and strong, the rights of current and future generations. Therefore, the rights of those who can and cannot speak for themselves.

The progress which International Organizations bring to the development of the substantive content of international law could be easily demonstrated on the example of dispute European Communities – Measures Prohibiting the Importation and Marketing of Seal Products brought to the World Trade Organization. In this case it was determined for the first time, that country which is WTO member can introduce animal welfare-related measures which restricts international trade if it is necessary for the protection of public morals. This is valuable decision since it demonstrates the current demand for the development of the substance of international trade law which encourages trade and economic development in the most sustainable way with particular emphasis on the protection of environment around us.”

Vira Khoroshavina

“OXIO is unique in that it provides a systematic and structured overview of legal instruments, which are fundamental for the field of international organisations. OXIO does not only represent a solid starting point for every research, but, beyond this, also allows to easily compare and assess how different international organizations tackle similar questions, which end up shaping how international law is formed and operates. For example, with OXIO, I could observe how political circumstances contribute to shaping the functions and structure of international organisations.

The OAS Charter from 1948 and its four Amending Protocols are an example of how international organisations, and international law by default, need to constantly adapt themselves in responding to challenges they are confronted with.”

Gabriel Webber Ziero, Roma Tre University

“Contributing to the OXIO database is an enriching experience, which has significantly broadened my knowledge on law-making of international organisations. Analysing statutory frameworks of the leading International and European Standards Organisations has deepened my understanding of their institutional architecture and the impact of their orchestration on industrial development. Likewise, exploring the relevant regulatory documents of the World Trade Organisation and the European Union has brought clarity to the overarching requirements applicable for Standards Organisations. Furthermore, the headnotes on Standards Organisations revealed that semi-public bodies can possess organisational features of formal International Organisations and generate normative orders, reshaping the habitual legal landscape. Standards issued by this type of organisations, despite their voluntary nature, may become coercive by virtue of a reference in a regulatory document, and often support governmental legislation and the functioning of the market. Ultimately, participation in the OXIO project allowed me to benefit from the extensive feedback received from the great scholars, whose insightful comments did not only improve the headnotes, but offered a different perspective on my own research.

One of the most remarkable documents I analysed was the Position Paper of the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC) discussing the consequences of the judgment of the European Court of Justice in James Elliott Construction Ltd v Irish Asphalt Ltd (OXIO 246). The judgement marks an important development in European standardisation community by stating that standards issues by private European Standards Organisations can be subject to judicial review. Against this backdrop, the reaction from the European Standards Organisations themselves raised few interesting points and encouraged further academic discussion on the role of private bodies in international rule-making.”

Olia Kanevskaia, Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC), Tilburg Law School

“The well-thought out parameters of the OXIO reporting structure, when applied to successive case note, is designed to render these case studies comparable on key tenets. The database is therefore a primary resource for researchers who wish to not only examine an international organisation in its own context, but in relation to its predecessors and contemporaries.

I found working on the case note for the European Investment Bank (OXIO 168) to be particularly interesting given that it presented an opportunity to examine the historical background and motivations behind the choice to establish this independent body rather than an EU fund sustained through EU financing. As former junior legal counsel at the Bank, I consider that advancing this background to the reader in tandem with the constituent texts of the Bank, as done by OXIO, facilitates a greater understanding of the institutional structure of the Bank and its relationship to its shareholders (EU Member States) and other EU institutions. Further, in other vein, I was interested to re-examine the Bank as an ‘international public financing institution’ and its comparability to other international financing institutions given that I had predominantly considered the Bank as an EU body and somewhat distinct from other financing institutions discharging comparable functions outside the setting of a regional economic community.”

Amy Dunne, Universiteit Leiden

“I was always fascinated by international organizations and my PhD project focuses on them so in this sense I was probably an easy target audience for OXIO. However, the project is very aspiring in many levels that go well beyond the law of international organizations in the somehow narrow way we still view it today.

The empirical data on all the work of so many different international organizations combined with legal analysis are an invaluable tool to see what international organizations actually do and how they affect and interact with the international legal order. It is working for the project that has actually increased my enthusiasm about it to this level. Focusing and having to explain in a few words documents so often cited and so seldom read as an end in themselves was a very creative challenge that improved my understanding of the law and its position in legal research as well as my writing skills. A personal highlight was writing about the Brahimi report; looking into the details of such a renowned and influential document both in theory and practice shapes your perception of the crossover from politics to law in quite a direct way.”

Mariela Apostolaki, PhD candidate, University of Manchester

 “Writing for OXIO has been a great experience and I have really enjoyed analysing documents of international organisations. When we make research, we generally focus on what the international law document says about a particular topic or event but OXIO required us to make the link between the content of that document and the international organisation that produced it. This allowed me to have a wider perspective and examine events with a particular focus.

I have mostly written on issues that I already research for my PhD thesis but the format of OXIO has enabled me to bring a sharper focus to detail since I had to present the contribution of an international law document pertaining to the law of international organisations in less than two pages. The headnote had to be concise but thorough and I think this was the main challenge. I especially enjoyed writing on the African Union’s sanction mechanism which provides an extensive practice regarding the role of international law in regulating national governance. I examined the decisions of the African Union on the suspension of Egypt from the Organisation and then on the lifting of the suspension. It allowed me to follow the full process from the suspension of a member state because of an unconstitutional change of government, until the lifting of the suspension.”

Işıl Aral, University of Manchester

“It has been most useful to revisit some of the foundational cases and documents concerning the law of international organisations. For example, in one of the headnotes I prepared (Oxio 229 - de Merode), it was most interesting to discover how judges from the very inception of the field have developed international administrative law, having regard to its unique nature, with its influences in public international law, administrative law, contract law, and the general principles of law. I look forward to discovering old realities that will have equal relevance to today's times.”

Rishi Gulati

“Thanks to OXIO, I have been able to revisit the activities of Human Rights bodies. I paid a special attention to their analysis of secret services operations, as this is highly complementary to my thesis’ theme. Weber and Saravia case was particularly interesting to investigate in."

Thibault Moulin, University of Manchester

“The opportunity to contribute to the Oxford International Organizations database helped me to realize how the law of international organizations is crucial for the development of general public international law. The sections which I had to fill in my headnotes, and especially ‘background’, ‘analysis’ and ‘impact’ parts, happened to be challenging at times, sometimes required some further readings, but at the end, they broaden my mind and showed me new, interesting areas of international law that I was not fully aware of. To give an example, I prepared a headnote on the UN General Assembly Resolution 2636 (XXV), by which the UN General Assembly rejected the credentials of the South African delegation. Even though I knew that the representation of the Member States within the UN is based on the credentials procedure, I did not realize that it may be used also as a tool for ‘quasi recognition’ of governments. Summing up, thanks to my work for the Oxford International Organizations, I rediscovered the law of international organizations, and most probably, it will become one of the most important fields of my future research.”

Agata Kleczkowska, Polish Academy of Sciences

“In looking at acts that have been instrumental for the development of international criminal law (ICL) from the perspective of the law making capacity of International Organisations, I developed the ability to appraise ICL from a holistic international law viewpoint, i.e. beyond the intrinsic aims of the field. Presenting my findings and analysis in a condensed and concise manner, yet with sufficient specificity of topics that, given their relevance, lend themselves to a thorough discussion has been particularly challenging.

My findings revealed the prominent role that International Criminal Tribunals have had in the interpretation and application of norms of international humanitarian law and ICL, having contributed to its understanding and to the progressive development of ICL. In that dynamic, the research and analysis of early judicial acts has been particularly interesting, such as the ICTY Appeal Judgment on the request of the Republic of Croatia for the review of the decision of Trial Chamber II of 18 July 1997, 29 October 1997, in Blaškić, and the Aleksovski Appeal Judgment, 24 March 2000. Both cases proved to be central for articulating the applicable law and creating the procedure for the ad hoc Tribunals, being continuing relevant and having had spill over effects with respect, for instance the Rome Statute framework and the practice of the International Criminal Court.”

Elizabeth Santalla Vargas. She has been, inter alia, an Associate Legal Officer at the ICTY and has consulted for various organisations on topics of ICL and IHL. She is also currently a Rapporteur of OUP’s ICL database.

“I learned about OXIO after the submission of my PhD thesis on the legal nature of the rules of international organizations and while I was interning in the office of the legal adviser of the International Labour Organization. It goes without saying that I was immediately attracted by the project. As a rapporteur, I enjoyed the opportunity to uncover the internal dynamics of complex bureaucratic machineries, focusing on fundamental legal instruments that remain unseen in the big picture of IOs’ international activities. The most interesting document I analysed concerns the attempt to reform the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization, because it reveals the nature of the autonomy possessed by the organization and the difficulties in balancing internal interests.”

Lorenzo Gasbarri, guest researcher at iCourts-University of Copenhagen

“The area of the law of international organisations contributes to the dynamic expansion of international law. OXIO provides the opportunity for invaluable research and analysis of important judgments and documents to better understand trends in international law.

I found UN Security Council Resolution 2231 the most interesting document because it established a sui generis sanctions regime of an international organisation and was an international organisation's contribution to peace-making.”

Abdollah Abedini, University of Tehran