I am proud to introduce Issue 1 of Volume 6 of the Groningen Journal of International Law. As before, this issue is readily available for free on our website at https://grojil.org and https://ugp.rug.nl/grojil and will become available through various other channels soon.As previous issues, GroJIL 6(1) is divided into multiple parts with the first part focusing on the theme of this issue: Terrorism and International Law. This first section opens with a submission from Veronika Bílková, who discusses challenges in international law related to the definition of foreign terrorist fighters, the construction of foreign terrorist fighters-related offences, and the impact on human rights. In the next article, Pablo Antonio Fernández-Sánchez analyses legal and customary bases of the exercise of universal jurisdiction for crimes classified as terrorism. In the third submission, Jackson Nyamuya Maogoto seeks to determine whether the right to self-defense of Article 51 of the UN Charter is limited in scope through a nexus to ‘armed attack’ in the context of state-sponsored terrorism. The following contribution from Marcin Marcinko establishes in how far existing legal counter-terrorism measures provided for in UN conventions form a coherent and uniform system and if they have served as a basis for the development of a universal treaty-based model of combating terrorism. Finally, in contributing towards closing the ‘intangible technology transfer’ gap, Katja LH Samuel & Cassius Guimarães Chai identify gaps relating to technology transfers between terrorist groups and organized criminal groups within existing legal frameworks, what their implications are, and what can be done to address them.
As in the past, the second part of GroJIL 6(1) publishes open submissions relating to a variety of topics. First, Maria A. Gwynn reflects on different approaches of host countries to investments in investment disputes, particularly in the South American region, and addresses the relevance of the multilateral reform efforts of the international investment framework to find a balance between the interests of States and foreign investors. The next submission from Marcelo Lozada Gómez & Paola Acosta Alvarado examines interventions by national judges in the interpretation and enforcement of international law to explain the intervention of national judges in Latin America regarding foreign investment law enforcement, and they remark on the future role of national judges in the interpretation of national and international law. The next article by Nwafor Ndubuisi & Mukoro Benjamin Onoriode takes a critical view on the ICC’s focus on Africa and explains the Court’s afrocentrism by analysing the provisions of the Rome Statute itself rather than exclusively relying on political explanations. In the fourth article, Stephanie Theodotou assesses the effectiveness of the current fragmented legal framework for corporate liability and compensation for oilspills from the perspective of the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and argues why an international regime is needed to close existing gaps. In the last article of this section, Elliot Winter puts forward that autonomous weapons could be programmed with utilitarian values to act in compliance with proportionality under humanitarian law as both are expressions of the same concept. His article envisions that the use of these weapons could even raise the standard of protection of those caught up in armed conflict.
Lastly, the third and final section features the winning submission of the annual GroJIL Student Writing Competition. After extensive deliberation on multiple strong contenders, the article submitted by Louis Koen and Brooke Hanson on ‘The Obligation on an Intervening State to Respect the Host State’s IHL and IHRL Obligations in an Intervention by Invitation’ came out on top. Congratulations to both on their impressive paper.
On the organisational side, this year has seen a steady continuation of the growth initiated by the Journal during the previous academic year. International Law Under Construction, the Journal’s blog, has seen a continued output with more than 20 blog posts in its first full year that have reached our audience of academics and students across a variety of social media platforms. The PR Committee organised a workshop in April where speaker Francis Sakwa, a Kenyan human rights activist, discussed the tools and challenges of human rights grassroots activism in practice.
Perhaps the biggest development is the number of peer-reviewed articles in this issue. Additionally, the percentage of peer-reviewed articles in the next issue of the current volume is projected to increase even further. The GroJIL is working hard to fully transition to a peer-reviewed Journal. In the future, a newly instituted Editorial Board, consisting mainly of PhD students, will make an initial assessment of manuscripts before academics will review the submissions the GroJIL receives. We hope that this approach will further raise the standards of the Journal while allowing doctoral candidates to actively participate in the world of academic publishing. The current Editorial Board, which has always had editorial responsibilities in addition to its various organisational tasks that keep the Journal operational on a day-to-day basis, will appropriately be renamed the Executive Board. The Executive Board will still maintain editorial oversight, but this reorganization allows it to focus more on the executive parts of its responsibilities and direct future growth and development of the Journal.
As always, the end of the academic year brings with it the departure of some of our fellow students at the Journal. I would like to take this moment on behalf of the organisation and thank them for their efforts and wish them all the best of luck in their future endeavours. The major advancements made by the Journal would not have been possible without your dedication and commitment.
Finally, I want to thank the Editing Committee for their incredible work on this issue and everyone else involved with the Journal for their efforts, and last but not least, the Department of Transboundary Legal Studies at the University of Groningen for their financial support.
President and Editor-in-Chief
Groningen Journal of International Law