(This event was organised by MEI’s Transsystemic Law Research Cluster, as part of its quarterly public talks series.)
The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was an affront not only to freedom of the press worldwide, but to core rules of the international legal system — rules that serve the interests of both states and individuals. Indeed, the world’s response to the assassination is a test case for the salience of international law itself. In this lecture, Steven Ratner discussed the international norms that were violated in the killing, including those of human rights, diplomatic law, and extraterritorial law enforcement. Drawing on his experience as a member of the Secretary-General’s panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka, he considered the possibilities for holding the guilty parties responsible through action of the United Nations and others. The lecture also explored the broader implications of the murder for international law, including the interplay of power politics and the rule of law and the possibilities for international law to constrain the behavior of influential states.
About the Speaker(s)
Steven Ratner is the Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School. His research addresses a range of public international law issues, including the normative orders concerning armed conflict, regulation of foreign investment, individual and corporate accountability for human rights violations, and the intersection of international law and global justice. He has served on two expert panels of the UN Secretary-General addressing post-conflict justice in Cambodia and in Sri Lanka and is a member of the U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee on International Law. A former member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law, he is also currently a member of the international Working Group on Business and Human Rights Arbitration, which is promoting the development of arbitration as a means to address human rights violations by corporations and those in their supply chain. His most recent book is The Thin Justice of International Law: A Moral Reckoning of the Law of Nations, issued by Oxford University Press in 2015. The fifth edition of his casebook, International Law: Norms, Actors, Process (Kluwer Law, with Jeffrey Dunoff and Monica Hakimi), will be published next year.