It is a privilege to properly introduce Volume 5, Issue I of the Groningen Journal of International Law. This issue marks the Journal’s five-year anniversary and warrants some slightly self-celebratory remarks. During these first five years the students at the helm of this Journal have continuously strived to establish the Journal as a known entity in international legal academia. Therefore, I would like to express my thanks to all the authors for their contributions and all students at the University of Groningen and everyone else who has been involved with the Journal in some capacity for their efforts and continued support. Furthermore, it is only appropriate to congratulate all previous and current members of GroJIL and my predecessors Philip Reppen, Lottie Lane, and Júlia Ortí Costa in particular. We made it!
Over the last year we have made efforts to streamline internal processes, intensify our article soliciting processes, expand our online audience, and reaffirm our cooperation with the GroJIL Advisory Board and the International Law Department at the University of Groningen. Nonetheless, as we started to look to the future this year has also become one of many firsts. One of the more publicly visible examples is our recently established blog ‘International Law Under Construction’, which can be found at grojil.org/blog (and where you may well be currently reading this editorial). Another example is the introduction of rolling submissions to the Journal, starting with this issue. Finally, the Editorial Board has set some other exciting projects into motion that we will soon be able to share. Keep an eye on our website for future announcements in that respect.
Regarding Part I of the current issue on Migration and International Law, the Journal aimed to highlight scholarship on a broader spectrum of international migration law rather than to merely focus on the global refugee crisis of recent years. The first article sees Nafees Ahmad extensively examine the development of the right to nationality and statelessness under the international migration law framework. Šárka Dušková demonstrates in the second article that the ever-increasing reliance of European Union member states on detention of migrants and asylum seekers finds more basis in political and symbolic rationales rather than practical motives, which would have steered member states to pursue more pragmatic alternatives to detention. In the next article, Liliana Lyra Jubilut and Rachel de Oliveira Lopes propose four strategies to enhance the protection of migrants through international law by shifting the discussion from regulation of migration to protection of migrants using human rights, soft law and regional approaches. In the fourth article, Antoine Pécoud examines two contrasting interpretations for the low ratification rate of the United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families while advancing a more exhaustive third interpretation to identify possible approaches to the highly political, and non-legal, nature of policies on the rights of migrant workers. Part I closes with an article from Beatriz Eugenia Sánchez and René Urueña who tackle the omission of development-induced displacement in Colombian internal displacement policies and look at factors beyond the internal armed conflict at the root of Colombia’s record number of internally displaced persons.
Part II of this issue introduces the Journal’s first rolling submissions. Shams Al Din Al Hajjaji focuses on fishery cases in the first article while arguing that countries that have adopted criminal liability for environmental damage should adopt civil liability instead in order to conform to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Seas and to increase the legal certainty of national judgments in case they are subjected to re-examination by the Tribunal. In the second article, Brenda K. Kombo attempts to close the “remedy gap” for victims of the Haitian cholera epidemic stemming from the immunity of the United Nations in suits by reflecting on the limits and potential of diplomatic protection.
The issue concludes in Part III with the winning submission from this year’s GroJIL Student Writing Competition, Medes Malaihollo. This article examines a local government rule in force since 1975 in Yogyakarta that prohibits non-native Indonesian citizens from owning or purchasing land in light of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
In closing, I would like to thank my fellow members of the Editorial Board for their efforts in the realisation of this issue and further development of the Journal. Final thanks go out to the Managing Editor and everyone on the Editing Committee for helping our Publishing Director turn this milestone issue into one of our most ambitious outings yet. Overall, this has been quite a productive and fulfilling time for the GroJIL and I am confident in saying that the Journal is eager to continue this trend for the foreseeable future.
President and Editor-in-chief
Groningen Journal of International Law