JFIEL Symposium 2022

Lived Realities and Critical Spaces in International Law

International legal scholarship remains subsumed in dialogues around “pure” doctrine with a continued focus on traditional actors and subjects. What becomes invisible and excluded in this process of knowledge-creation are the lived experiences of persons and communities on the margins. As Sally Engle Merry notes, there are several actors and players in the space of international law and international human rights — local actors, academics, NGOs, activists, and a host of people who have “one foot in the transnational community and one at home.”

In this space of translating the law, and its constant reframing, our 2022 symposium is directed towards attempting to problematise the disconnect between legal imaginations and lived realities. Importantly, we hope to contribute towards looking at international law “from below”, and highlight some more perspectives from varying legal contexts.

A great note of thanks goes out to our Faculty Director, Dr. Pallavi Kishore, and our Advisor, Aman. Without them and their lovely insights, this Symposium would have been gravely incomplete. Finally, our gratitude to our 2021-22 editorial team – Shreya, Karan, Rahul, and Pushkar. Thank you for all your help coordinating, researching, and editing!

Now, without further delay, we are proud to introduce you to our contributors! We hope you all enjoy and benefit from engaging with their scholarship, as we truly have while curating this symposium.

– Abhijeet, Rishav, and Mahima

Aashish Yadav pursued LL.M. in Public International Law and Human Rights Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2018-19), where he focused on international human rights law, refugee law, data protection law, and international legal thought. He worked as the Postgraduate Officer of the LSE Human Rights Society and Committee Member of LSE Pro Bono Matters. Before that, he read law at Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi (2015-18) and English literature at Hindu College, University of Delhi (2012-15). While pursuing LL.B., he interned with several human rights organisations and served as an Editor of the first student edition of Delhi Law Review. He also led the student placement committee of the law school. Aashish is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Interest Law. As the  research supervisor, he led the research and drafting effort on the Securing Citizenship report and is engaged in several ongoing projects at the Centre. He is currently leading the international law research on the project ‘Due Process and Determination of Citizenship in India’. He also serves as Assistant Editor of the Jindal Global Law Review. His research interests lie in the areas of international human rights law, refugee law, citizenship and statelessness.

For the Symposium, Abhijeet Shrivastava (Editor-in-Chief, JFIEL) interviews Aashish in ‘Citizenship Stripping Through The NRC and Assam’s Foreigners Tribunals: An Interview with Aashish Yadav‘.

Federico Jarast is an Argentine lawyer, specialised in Public International Law, who graduated with honours from the Buenos Aires University School of Law. His postgraduate education includes a Master´s degree in National Defense at the National Defense University (Ministry of Defense, Argentina) and a Master of Laws in International Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (which he attended as a Fulbright scholar). He has also visited Harvard University, University of California, Berkeley, and Boston University for different academic purposes. He has been allowed various research grants by the Buenos Aires University. The conclusions of some of these projects have been published and included as chapters in academic books. In terms of lecturing, he has been teaching Public International Law and Advanced Constitutional Law at the Buenos Aires University School of Law, where he holds a Jefe de Trabajos Prácticos position. Furthermore, he has served as Visiting Lecturer at the Argentine Peace Operations Joint Training Center (Argentine Ministry of Defense), dictating courses in Public International Law to troops to be detached to United Nations peace operations. In addition, he has performed as Coordinating Instructor of the International Law course at Tufts University. Regarding his professional experience, he has worked as Legal Adviser at the General Direction of Legal Affairs of the Argentine Presidency for the Fernández de Kirchner and Macri administrations. After quitting the public sector, he started working on his own as a consultant, providing advice in a wide array of Public Law issues to private clients.

For the Symposium, in an evocative piece, Federico writes on ‘Leaving Torture Behind‘ — reflecting on the ‘real worth’ of International Law in the context of understanding the prohibition of torture. Importantly, he does so by exploring the intertwined legal doctrine and philosophical questions anchored in Jean Améry’s life and death.

Maha Abdallah is a Palestinian legal researcher and human rights advocate. Since 2013, Maha has carried out legal research and advocacy before UN and EU mechanisms, largely focusing on Palestine and other conflict-affected areas in the region. Maha has conducted research, authored and co-authored publications on various thematic issues, including economic, social, cultural rights, and business and human rights. She holds an LL.M. in International Human Rights Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights in Galway and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, specialising in Public and International Law, from The American University in Cairo. 

Mona Sabella is a human rights advocate born and raised in Jerusalem, Palestine. She has been involved in human rights advocacy at the UN as well as bilaterally and multilaterally with States for over 10 years, promoting equality and non-discrimination in the applicability of international law – particularly in support of the protection of rights of communities and human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa. For several years, Mona led particular legal research and advocacy on corporate accountability and colonial practices of dispossession impacting human rights in Palestine. Mona currently works on challenging corporate capture and corporate impunity worldwide through facilitating member-led initiatives at ESCR-Net. She holds an LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (University of Essex) and BA in International Relations and Politics (Earlham College).

For the Symposium, Maha and Mona write on ‘Double Standards in the Applicability of International Law: The Lived Reality of Advocacy for Palestine‘. They sketch a deeply compelling insight into the lived realities of occupation and its implications for Palestinians, by exploring the praxis and discourse surrounding occupations and post-colonial studies.

Sanskriti Sanghi is an Assistant Professor at the Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University (India). She is presently also serving as an Assistant Editor for the Jindal Global Law Review and is a contributor to global projects such as the Legal Status of De Facto Relationships (Scherpe & Hayward), Laws of Parenthood (Fenton-Glynn), and the Indian Feminist Judgments Initiative (Kohli & Arora). Over the past year, she has been affiliated with the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression in the capacity of a Legal Researcher and with the Institute for Internet & the Just Society in the capacity of a Co-lead for the Research Program on Digital Constitutionalism. She graduated from the Gujarat National Law University, India (B.A. LL.B. Honours) with Distinction and as an eight-time Gold Medallist in 2019 and from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (LL.M. in International Law) with First-Class Honours and the Jennings Prize in 2020. Her research interests include international human rights law, critical legal theory, law of global governance, and comparative law. She has presented her research in reputed global fora and her writing has been published by reputed journals and blogs. Prior to joining academia, she had also garnered work experience at renowned law firms and policy organisations in India and abroad.

For the Symposium, Sanskriti writes on ‘The Ascent of Municipalities and Domestic Courts in International Law: A Challenge to State-Centrism?‘, and provokes reconfiguring who acts in International Law, particularly focusing on municipalities and domestic courts, as she takes a step away from the almost exclusive focus on the traditional actor: the State.