2024 ASIL Abroad Meeting - Geneva


2024 ASIL Abroad Meeting

The Society will hold its 2024 ASIL Abroad meeting on June 5-6 at the University of Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland. Co-chairs of this meeting are Simon Batifort (Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP), Christie Edwards (Stimson Center), and Neha Jain (Northwestern/European University Institute).

The two-day conference will consist of dual parallel tracks on Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, International Criminal Law (Track 1) and International Dispute Resolution & International Economic Law (Track 2). Georges Abi-Saab (honorary professor at The Geneva Graduate Institute) will deliver a keynote speech, with Laurence Boisson de Chazournes (University of Geneva) as discussant. Track 1 sessions will address topics ranging from international accountability and justice at the ICJ, inclusive transitional justice mechanisms, corporate responsibility for war crimes, addressing the needs of persons with disabilities in humanitarian emergencies, climate justice, and multilateral negotiations in Geneva. Track 2 sessions will focus among other themes on banking regulations in investment and trade disputes, compensation in international law, the enforcement of arbitral awards against States, the origins of investor-State dispute settlement, and will feature a lecture by Zachary Douglas KC (Geneva Graduate Institute). Cocktail receptions will be held at the end of each of the two meeting days.

With roughly 40% of ASIL’s membership based outside the United States, ASIL Abroad was formed in 2022 under the leadership of ASIL President Greg Shaffer to strengthen and promote the Society's global membership. It will coordinate events outside the United States, including a biennial ASIL Abroad Meeting; oversee an online Global Engagement Series with each of ASIL’s regional Colleague Societies in collaboration with the Annual Meeting Program Committee; and coordinate generally with our Colleague Societies.

Co-Chairs

Simon Batifort, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle LLP
Christie Edwards, Stimson Center
Neha Jain, Northwestern University

Committee Members

Leena Grover, Tilburg University
Belén Ibañez, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP
Sun Kim, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Emilie Max, Expert Adviser in International Humanitarian Law
Martins Paparinskis
, UCL & International Law Commission
Michele Potestà, Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler
Noradèle Radjai, Lalive
Patricia Saiz, Saiz Arbitration
Isabel San Martin, Lalive
Sarah Monnerville Smith, Eversheds Sutherland
Marie-Louise Tougas, International Committee of the Red Cross
Can Yeginsu
, Three Verulam Buildings (3VB)


lachtoukspivak@cgsh.com's picture
Laurie Yassmina Achtouk-Spivak
camirfar@debevoise.com's picture
Catherine Amirfar
japarac's picture
Jelena Aparac
arato.julian's picture
Julian Arato
cantore.carlo@gmail.com's picture
Carlo Cantore
catalina devandas's picture
Catalina Devandas Aguilar
zdouglas@3vb.com's picture
Zachary Douglas
vf243@cam.ac.uk's picture
Veronika Fikfak
lindsay.gastrell@arbchambers.com's picture
Lindsay Elizabeth Gastrell
p.grant@trialinternational.org's picture
Philip Grant
j.benheath@gmail.com's picture
J. Benton Heath
vheiskanen@lalive.ch's picture
Veijo Heiskanen
mariamkhan's picture
Mariam Khan
vladyslav.lanovoy@gmail.com's picture
Vladyslav Lanovoy
amacdonald@essexcourt.com's picture
Alison Macdonald KC
dmcrae@uottawa.ca's picture
Donald M. McRae
pauwelyn's picture
Joost Hugo Bert Pauwelyn
fay@otenet.gr's picture
Photini Pazartzis
lricart@curtis.com's picture
Luciana Ricart
mrishmawi's picture
Mona Rishmawi
maudsarlieve@gmail.com's picture
Maud Sarlieve
lucinda_stallard@live.co.uk's picture
Lucinda Stallard
ptzeng90@gmail.com's picture
Peter Tzeng
swordsworth@essexcourt.net's picture
Samuel Wordsworth


Session 1
Title:   The International Court of Justice Back in Style

Description:   The International Court of Justice has recently been in the spotlight for issues of international accountability and justice. Member States have turned to the court for advisory opinions, such as on climate change, or to uphold universal obligations under the Genocide Convention. Can the ICJ deliver on issues that seem to be otherwise stalled by political and diplomatic processes? Is this the proper role and use of the ICJ advisory proceedings and contentions cases? Can the ICJ meet the high expectations placed on it? How is the ICJ placed vis-à-vis other international tribunals dealing with similar issues? Join us for this roundtable discussion of the ICJ, back in style.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Moderator - Samuel Wordsworth KC, Essex Court Chambers
  • Catherine Amirfar, Debevoise & Plimpton
  • Vladyslav Lanovoy, University of Laval
  • Mona Rishmawi, United Nations

Session 2
Title:   Transitional Justice Processes: Inclusion and Participation

Description:   Panel members will critically discuss the consequences of transitional justice processes that exclude certain voices, and growing calls by international actors such as the United Nations, European Union, and third-party States for meaningful participation in them. Justifications for this emerging international legal norm will also be considered, and what consequences it may have for international actors working on transitional justice initiatives in transitioning societies. Their exchange will examine the possible international legal scope and content of this emerging norm (including the role of survivors of large-scale past human rights abuses, women, youth, and civil society generally), what inclusion and participation looks like in practice, the challenges and opportunities for realizing both, and international actors’ efforts to respect this emerging norm while working in transitioning societies.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Moderator - Claudia Jose, Swisspeace
  • Barney Afako, United Nations Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan
  • Mariana Casij Peña, Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT)
  • Awa Dabo, Office of the Peacebuilding Support Office, United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs

Session 3
Title:   Corporate Responsibility for War Crimes

Description:  
Corporate liability for war crimes is a pressing issue at the crossroads of domestic and international law. From the Nuremberg IG Farben trial to the recent case against the French company Lafarge, the evolving legal landscape has long recognized that businesses can be instrumental in facilitating or perpetuating war crimes, whether through direct involvement, complicity, or contributions to conflict-related activities. Yet holding corporations accountable for their roles in war crimes remains complex and challenging, from determining the extent of their culpability to establishing appropriate legal frameworks. This session will delve into the complex terrain of corporate responsibility for war crimes, exploring the evolving legal frameworks and multifaceted considerations that shape the accountability of corporations in conflict zones. Experts will explore the challenges and opportunities inherent in holding corporations accountable for their roles in war crimes and analyze recent developments in the jurisprudence in this area.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Moderator - Philip Grant, TRIAL
  • Jelena Aparac, Legal Action Worldwide
  • Dorothée Baumann-Pauly, University of Geneva School of Economics and Geneva Center for Business and Human Rights

Session 4
Title:   Persons with Disabilities in Armed Conflict and Emergencies: Human Rights and IHL Perspectives

Description:   Approximately sixteen per cent of the population lives with one form of disability or another. In situations of armed conflict, this figure can rise to 18-30%. Armed conflict and emergency situations often exacerbate the barriers faced by persons with disabilities and place them at greater risk. For example, persons with sensory or intellectual disabilities may not be able to understand evacuation orders or respond to an outbreak of hostilities. They may be mistaken for the enemy because of their behavior deviates from the norm. Moreover, persons with mobility restrictions may be left behind because they cannot bring their assistive devices with them. Too often their particular situations and needs are overlooked by the authorities, armed groups, and humanitarian organizations. While the existing legal human rights and international humanitarian law frameworks are well developed, a more inclusive interpretation and application of these rules is required, which takes into account the specific risks and barriers faced by persons with disabilities in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This panel will simulate the preparation of an evacuation plan during an armed conflict situation to explore the challenges this poses for persons with disabilities and to reflect on the inclusive interpretation of the applicable IHRL and IHL to address their needs and respect their rights.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Moderator - Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Disability Rights Fund
  • Michael Mwendwa, International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Veronica Ngum Ndi, Community Association for Vulnerable Persons

Session 5
Title:   Legal Diplomacy – Behind the Scenes on Multilateral Negotiations in Geneva  

Description: Legal advisors at Permanent Missions in Geneva often handle a wide array of legal and diplomatic issues in a range of international fora. These include multilateral negotiations on thematic topics at the United Nations Human Rights Council, policy and strategic discussions during the quadrennial International Red Cross Conference, and negotiations on broader international instruments such as those on disarmament, the climate, and the environment. Join a discussion between legal advisors for a candid, “behind the scenes” look at what it is like to be a legal adviser in Geneva – the challenges, opportunities, working methods, best practices, benefits, and approaches of both smaller and larger Missions, and their efforts at consensus building between States during crises.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Mariam Khan, Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations
  • Lucinda Stallard, UK Mission to the UN and other International Organisations in Geneva

Session 6
Title:   Achieving Climate Justice Through Climate Change Litigation   

Description:  

By aiming “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,” the 2015 Paris Agreement brought hope to scientists, activists and citizens calling for effective mitigation of the devastating impact(s) of climate change worldwide. Almost a decade later, such an agreement remains far from being implemented while the destruction of the natural environment continues unabated due to human economic activities, the lack of appropriate regulations, political unwillingness, insufficient means for implementation of adequate measures, armed conflicts, or a combination thereof. Against this bleak background, resort to litigation – before national, regional or international judicial bodies – has gathered pace, recently culminating in the demand, co-sponsored by more than 130 states at the UN General Assembly, for an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on States’ obligation to fight climate change.  This session will hear from the activists, litigators, and leaders directly involved in ongoing proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights and the ICJ, and in efforts towards future international criminal proceedings. It will also examine how such efforts contribute to not only bolstering advocacy but also pressuring policy makers to effectively (re)commit to reducing emissions and supporting climate-vulnerable populations, especially at UN Climate Change Conferences (“COPs”).

Confirmed speakers:

  • Moderator - Joie Chowdhury, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) 
  • Jessica Simor, QC, Matrix Chambers
  • H.E. Umsue Antas, Permanent Mission of Vanuatu to the United Nations in Geneva
  • Maud Sarliève, Oxford Sustainable Law Programme and Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study

Session 7
Late-Breaking Panel (TBD)


Session 1
Title:   Banking Regulation in Investment and Trade Disputes

Description:   States’ legislative and administrative measures adopted to protect the stability of the financial sector may give rise to trade and investment disputes. In the WTO context, panels have examined whether the disputed measures affected trade in financial services in violation of WTO law (see, e.g., Argentina – Financial Services). Several investment treaty cases have also addressed major banking crises and the States’ measures in that connection (see, e.g., del Valle et al. v. Spain). In this context, and of interest to both investment and trade lawyers, certain investment treaties include “prudential reasons” exceptions which originate from trade law. The question thus arises as to how they will be interpreted in future investment disputes. What can investment law learn from the WTO case law in this connection? A discussion on these issues appears particularly timely in view of recent banking crises in the U.S. and Switzerland that have sparked renewed interest in the State’s regulatory space in the banking sector and investors’ rights under international instruments.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Amaia Rivas Kortazar, Pinsent Masons
  • Joost Pauwelyn, Graduate Institute
  • Carlo Cantore, World Trade Organization
  • Laurie Achtouk Spivak, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
  • Levent Sabanogullari, Permanent Court of Arbitration (moderator)

Session 2
Title:   Compensation in International Law

Description:   Under customary international law expressed in Article 36, paragraph 2, of the International Law Commission’s articles on responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts, the responsible State is under an obligation to compensate damage caused, covering any financially assessable damage. This rule is invoked and applied in a variety of legal settings, including and increasingly before international courts and tribunals considering inter-State claims (the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and inter-State arbitral tribunals) and bodies considering claims by non-State entities (most prominently regional human rights courts and investor-State arbitral tribunals). The panel proposes to address legal and policy issues raised by these developments.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Donald McRae, University of Ottawa
  • Veronika Fikfak, UCL
  • Photini Pazartzis, Tufts University
  • Julian Arato, Michigan University School of Law (moderator)

Session 3
Title:   Enforcement of Arbitral Awards Rendered Against States: New Developments

Description:   The enforcement of arbitral awards against States remains a challenge in dispute settlement, with States often seeking to resist enforcement and investors finding new jurisdictions and strategies to secure enforcement. This panel will  explore the recent trends in the enforcement of awards against sovereign States, and provide a comparative perspective of the approach adopted by courts in several key jurisdictions where some landmark decisions have recently been adopted. The panel includes practitioners and academics, and will provide a comparative perspective of recent decisions in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Yasmin Mohammad, Fortress Investment Group
  • Marnix Leijten, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek
  • Carla Baker Chiss, Meyer Fabre Avocats
  • Peter Griffin, Slaney Advisors
  • William O’Brien, Eversheds Sutherland (moderator)

Session 4
Title:   Looking back: The Origins of ISDS

Description:   Embark on a journey through time as we uncover the origins of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).  First, through a dynamic debate format, two distinguished speakers will explore whether ISDS has fulfilled the goals it was originally intended for. One speaker will explore the achievements and successes of ISDS, highlighting its role in promoting foreign investment, protecting investor rights, and fostering economic development. Conversely, the opposing viewpoint will scrutinize the shortcomings and unintended consequences of ISDS, raising critical questions about its impact on sovereignty, regulatory autonomy, and access to justice. Following the debate, two discussants will contribute additional perspectives, further enriching the dialogue.​

As the session unfolds, audience members will have the opportunity to gain insights into divergent interpretations of ISDS's historical trajectory, its effectiveness in achieving its original objectives, and the broader implications for the future of international investment law.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Peter Tzeng, Foley Hoag LLP
  • Lindsay Gastrell, Independent Arbitrator
  • Joseph Benton Heath, Temple University
  • Thomas Schultz, University of Geneva
  • Luciana Ricart, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP (moderator)

Session 5
Title:   Late-Breaking Panel (TBD)

Session 6
Title: Lecture by Zachary Douglas KC on investor-State dispute settlement

Session 7
Title: Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes vs. Coercive Measures

Description: This panel will explore the use of peaceful methods in international dispute resolution as opposed to coercive measures. It will examine the peaceful dispute resolution methods outlined in Article 33 of the United Nations Charter, tracing their historical development and scrutinizing relevant examples, including State-State arbitration and investor-State arbitration, as well as other proceedings before international courts and tribunals and other international dispute resolution bodies. The panel will also analyze instances of successful and unsuccessful peaceful dispute resolution, elucidating their advantages and limitations, along with the factors contributing to successful outcomes. The session will also address coercive measures adopted by States, encompassing trade and investment sanctions, embargoes, freezing orders to military intervention and armed conflict, examining their legal framework, historical evolution, relevant practice, and the criteria guiding their adoption. It will assess the efficiency and impact of such measures, including their implications for human rights, the economy, and long-term stability. Drawing from contemporary and historical examples, the panel will thus evaluate the costs and benefits associated with the different approaches, while also examining the role of international organizations in the resolution of international disputes.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Veijo Heiskanen, Independent Arbitrator
  • Alison Macdonald KC, Essex Court Chambers


ASIL ABROAD REGISTRATION RATES

Rates Early Bird
(ends April 23)
Regular
(ends May 31)
ASIL Member $145 $220
Non-Member $255 $330
GOV/IO/NGO Member $130 $200
GOV/IO/NGO Non-Member $230 $300
Presenter $110
Student - Member $40 $60
Student - Non-Member $55 $100

 

June 5 Evening Reception*

$0

June 6 Evening Reception*

$0
*Free but REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

All cancellation and refund requests should be directed to ASIL Services at services@asil.org.




1. Where is the ASIL Abroad Meeting held?

Conference venue: University of Geneva (UNI MAIL) - Bd du Pont-d'Arve 40, 1205 Genève, Switzerland
Reception on June 5 (advance registration REQUIRED) - Permanent Mission of Canada in Geneva, Av. de l'Ariana 5, 1202 Genève, Switzerland
Reception on June 6 - The Graduate Institute, Chem. Eugène-Rigot 2, 1202 Genève, Switzerland

2. Where can I eat? 
Local lunch options near UNI MAIL:
Threekids Bagel Plainpalais (5 min walk) - Rue Vignier 3, 1205 Genève, Switzerland
Inglewood Burgers Plainpalais (1 min walk) - Bd du Pont-d'Arve 44, 1205 Genève, Switzerland
Street Beirut (casual Lebanese) (11 min walk) - Av. du Mail 2, 1205 Genève, Switzerland 
Pizzeria Calabria (4 min walk) - Quai du Cheval-Blanc 23, 1227 Genève, Switzerland

Popular Geneva restaurants:
Les Armures (high end Swiss fondue) - Rue du Soleil-Levant, 1204 Genève, Switzerland
Parfums des Beyrouth (budget-friendly Lebanese) - Rue de Berne 18, 1201 Genève, Switzerland
Indian Rasoi (high end Indian) - Rue Jacques-Dalphin 54, 1227 Carouge, Switzerland
Colosseo (Italian) - Bd de Saint-Georges 46, 1205 Genève, Switzerland
Taqueria Los Cuñados (Mexican) - Rue de Montchoisy 17, 1207 Genève, Switzerland
Bains des Pâquis Restaurant (fondue and daily specials) - Quai du Mont-Blanc 30, 1201 Genève, Switzerland  

Bars and cocktails:
Lady Godiva Pub - Bd du Pont-d'Arve 53, 1205 Genève, Switzerland
Le Verre à Monique - Rue des Savoises 19, 1205 Genève, Switzerland
Le Scandale - Rue de Lausanne 24, 1201 Genève, Switzerland

3. Where can I stay?
Hôtel Cornavin (3 star) - Bd James-Fazy 23, 1201 Genève, Switzerland
Hotel Auteuil (3-4 star) - Rue de Lausanne 33, 1201 Genève, Switzerland
Hôtel Royal Genève (4 star) - Rue de Lausanne 41, 1201 Genève, Switzerland
Mandarin Oriental (5 star) - Quai Turrettini 1, 1201 Genève, Switzerland

4. What are the transportation options?
The closest airport is Geneva Airport
The closest train station is Gare Cornavin
Geneva Public Transportation - https://www.tpg.ch/en Note: hotels in Geneva give free public transport passes for the duration of your stay. Ticket machines are located at each bus/tram stop and day, week, or single-use passes are available. UNI MAIL, the Canadian Mission, and The Graduate Institute are all located on the Tram 15 line.

5. What else can I do while I'm in Geneva?
ICRC Museum - Av. de la Paix 17, 1202 Genève, Switzerland
Jet d'Eau - Quai Gustave-Ador, 1207 Genève, Switzerland
Broken Chair in front of the United Nations - 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Patek Philippe Museum - Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 7, 1205 Genève, Switzerland
Chocolate making class at La Bonbonnière Chocolaterie - Rue Pierre-Fatio 15, 1204 Genève, Switzerland
Genève-Plage (pools, beach, boat rentals) - Port-Noir, Quai de Cologny 5, 1223 Cologny, Switzerland
Bains des Pâquis (hammam, spa, and swimming) - Quai du Mont-Blanc 30, 1201 Genève, Switzerland  
Day trips to Évian-les-BainsAnnecyChamonix, or Gruyères

6. Where is the closest hospital? 
Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG) is a 12 minute walk from the ASIL Abroad venue/UNI MAIL, Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4, 1205 Genève, Switzerland

7. What kind of plugs and electrical voltage does Switzerland use?
The voltage in Switzerland, as in most of Europe, is 230V/50 Hz. Switzerland uses type C (2-pin) and Type J (3-pin) plugs. (Type C 2-pin plugs also fit J sockets.)

8. What currency does Switzerland use?
The local currency is the Swiss franc. Almost all shops and restaurants accept credit cards, and currency exchange is available at many hotels, banks, and at the airport/train stations.


Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Director of Development Jack Karako at development@asil.org or (+1) 202-939-6003 for more information.