Midway Assessment: States' Obligations Upon Signing a Treaty Granting Jurisdiction to an International Criminal or Human Rights Tribunal

PhD candidate Emma Brandon at the PluriCourts Centre is presenting her doctoral project “Holding Signatories to Account:  States' Obligations Upon Signing a Treaty Granting Jurisdiction to an International Criminal or Human Rights Tribunal.”

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Emma Brandon


  • Assessor: Professor Paolo Palchetti, University of Macerata/Université Paris 1 - Panthéon-Sorbonne
  • Leader of the assessment: Associate Professor Anders Løvlie, Deputy Head of Department of Public and International Law, University of Oslo
  • Supervisors: Professors Freya Baetens and Mads Andenæs, University of Oslo

About the dissertation

Without their own police forces, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and regional human rights tribunals rely on states to facilitate their investigations and ensure enforcement of their decisions. At the same time, many powerful and situationally relevant states such as the United States and Sudan have signed but not ratified the treaties that establish these tribunals and, therefore, their exact legal obligations to assist these tribunals are unclear. This project aims to clarify the obligations of these states so that these tribunals have a strong legal argument to ensure that these states provide vital assistance to the tribunals. The clarification will provide for the confident and consistent enforcement of these obligations against states who are often reluctant to comply.
During this period between signature and ratification, there are two general sources for the set of obligations that states have to these tribunals: 1) a specific obligation within the law of treaties that applies only to states that have signed but not ratified treaties and 2) general obligations under international human rights law that apply to all states at all times. Specifically, this project investigates states’ obligations under Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Geneva Conventions, and the right to remedy provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The project conducts a doctrinal analysis of these obligations to determine the extent to which they require states to assist the ICC and the regional human rights tribunals with certain aspects of their work. These obligations are then applied to the frameworks of the ICC, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, European Court of Human Rights, and Inter-American Court of Human Rights to determine the potential practical application of these obligations.

Published Dec. 16, 2019 11:02 AM - Last modified Jan. 27, 2020 1:23 PM