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International Law Seminar: the Ukrainian-Russian conflict - Thursday 21 April 2022

donderdag, 21 april, 2022 - 15:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Faculteit: Recht en Criminologie
Building I, Room I(i) 2.02
Online (Teams)


Due to reasons related to Prof. David Scheffer's health, he can unfortunately no longer attend the seminar. That is why the format of the seminar is changed:

  • Dr. Marco Longobardo will be our main speaker. He will talk about "the ‘Denazification’ Argument and the Legality of the Russian Use of Force in and against Ukraine;

  • Dr. Claudia Candelmo will discuss "Russia’s responsibility in connection with armed units’ acts in the conflict in Ukraine";

  • Dr. Mathias Holvoet will give a presentation about the "International criminal liability of Russian propagandists in relation to the Ukrainian-Russian conflict";

  • A general Q&A session with the registered participants.

A short bio and a picture of the speakers can be found below. At the end of the seminar, a reception will be held.

Participation in the seminar is free of charge, registration is mandatory (see below).

For all practical matters, you can contact Ms. Eline Labey (eline.labey@vub.be).


The VUB has the honour to welcome em. prof. dr. David Scheffer from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law (Chicago) to participate in a series of seminars as part of the scientific programme called “International Francqui Chairs”.  One of these seminars will take place on 21 April 2022 at 3pm at the VUB and will be chaired by prof. dr. Stefaan Smis. It will have the purpose of stimulating intense interaction and discussion, and will follow the following format:

  • An introductory lecture em. prof. dr. by Prof. David Scheffer;

  • A response by dr. Marco Longobardo (University of Westminster);

  • A response by dr. Claudia Candelmo (Durham University);

  • A response by dr. Mathias Holvoet (University of Amsterdam);

  • A response by dra. Sarah El Amouri (VUB);

  • A response by Ms. Elise Rooseleers (VUB);

  • A general Q&A session with the registered participants.

The seminar will be about “Atrocity crimes and the responsibility to protect in international law”. It will examine the centrality of atrocity crimes and criminality in general in the development and definition of the Responsibility to Protect (“R2P”) of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document (A/RES/60/1). The growing number of governments that publicly acknowledge the value of R2P is encouraging, but the issue remains of the principle’s actual enforcement. The strengths and weaknesses of R2P will be examined with a pragmatic assessment of its contemporary and future applications.

Bibliography of the speakers

Em. prof. dr. David Scheffer

Em. prof. dr. David J. Scheffer is Clinical Professor Emeritus and Director Emeritus of the Center for International Human Rights at the law school (of Northwestern University, Chicago – SP).  He retired on September 1, 2020. From 2006 through 2020, he was the Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law and from 2006 to 2019 the Director of the Center for International Human Rights. He taught international criminal law, international human rights law, and related subjects. Prof. Scheffer created the International Externship Program and the Cambodia Tribunal Monitor (www.cambodiatribunal.org).

Prof. Scheffer is Vice-President of the American Society of International Law, a Visiting Senior Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Tom A. Bernstein Genocide Prevention Fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. From 2012 to 2018, he was the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Expert on U.N. Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials. Prof. Scheffer was the first U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues (1997-2001) and led the U.S. delegation to the U.N. talks establishing the International Criminal Court. He signed the Rome Statute of the ICC on behalf of the United States on December 31, 2000. He negotiated the creation of five war crimes tribunals and chaired the Atrocities Prevention Inter-Agency Working Group (1998-2001).

Prof. Scheffer received the Berlin Prize in 2013 and the Champion of Justice Award of the Center for Justice and Accountability in 2018. Foreign Policy magazine selected him as a “Top Global Thinker of 2011.” He is a member of the New York, District of Columbia, and Supreme Court bars. Prof. Scheffer is a graduate of Harvard College, Oxford University (Worcester College), and Georgetown University Law Center.

In 2020, Prof. Scheffer received the prestigious Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award of the Global Leadership Institute, Tufts University, and was also appointed Professor of Practice at Arizona State University.

Dr. Marco Longobardo

Dr. Marco Longobardo is a Senior Lecturer in International Law at the University of Westminster, where he teaches public international law, international human rights law, international criminal law, and other related subjects. He has undertaken his doctoral studies at the Sapienza University of Rome and previously lectured at the University of Messina and in the context of international humanitarian law courses for the personnel of the Italian armed forces. He has published extensively on public international law issues and he is the author of The Use of Armed Force in Occupied Territory (CUP 2018), for which he received the 2021 Paul Reuter Prize. His scholarship has been cited by states in their pleadings before the International Court of Justice, by the UN International Law Commission's Special Rapporteur on the Protection of the Environment in relation to Armed Conflicts, and by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Dr. Claudia Candelmo

Dr. Claudia Candelmo is currently Teaching Fellow in EU Law at Durham University. Before joining Durham University, she was Post-doctoral research fellow at LUISS Guido Carli, and PhD candidate at Sapienza University. She was visiting scholar at the European University Institute and at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative, Public Law and International Law. Her research primarily focuses on topics of State responsibility and terrorism, with particular interest in shared responsibility between States and non-State actors, as well as the use of force and the law of armed conflicts.

Dr. Mathias Holvoet

Dr. Mathias Holvoet is currently an Assistant Professor in International and Domestic Criminal Law at the University of Amsterdam. In 2018, he obtained his PhD in the field of International Criminal Law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Dr. Mathias Holvoet has worked in practice as a legal officer at the Federal Prosecutor's Office of Belgium and as a Visiting Professional within Chambers of the International Criminal Court.

Dra. Sarah El Amouri

Picture Sarah El Amouri

As a PhD candidate at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and research fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), Sarah El Amouri is currently preparing a PhD that focuses on the regulation of extraterritorial conduct of private corporate actors in illegally occupied territories. Before joining the Section of International and European Law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Sarah was nominated as a Bernheim laureate and given the opportunity to spend 5 months at the Directorate-general Coordination and European Affairs treating matters on Brexit, Justice and Home Affairs and the preparation of the European Council and General Affairs Council, followed by another 5 months as Deputy Antici (Coreper II) at the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the European Union. During her studies, she gained some practical experience by completing several internships, among others at the Council for Alien Law Litigation, the Embassy of Belgium in Qatar, and the Legal Service of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Public International Law).

Ms. Elise Rooseleers

Ms. Elise Rooseleers is currently doing an LLM in International and European law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Before starting this LLM, she finished her master of laws at KU Leuven. Her interest lies in particular with international humanitarian law and international criminal law. For this reason, she decided to participate in the Jessup Moot Court Competition this year.


The seminar will take place at the VUB (Room I(i)2.02 – places are limited!) and online (Teams). 

Participation in the seminar is free of charge, registration is mandatory.

For all practical matters, you can contact Ms. Eline Labey (eline.labey@vub.be).

Register below for online or in-person attendance. 

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