The importance of finding facts

24 May 2017
Sakharov Centre
19:30 - 21:30
A Reappraisal of Fyodor Martens' Concept of Inquiry
Join if you:
are interested in international law and want to learn more about the development of modern international law system
want to figure out how inquiry and fact-finding in conflict situations work
are planning to study abroad in the fields of law, international relations and political sciences
are looking for extending your professional network and want to meet Dutch specialist
Main lecture topics
Lecture will be in English without translation
Fyodor Martens' concept of inquiry: why so important?
The Hague Peace conferences of 1899 and 1907 can be regarded as the first steps in setting up institutions that dominated international life in the 20th century. During one of these conferences Russian diplomat Fyodor Martens first elaborated the Concept of Inquiry. The idea behind this newly proposed dispute settlement mechanism was that an independent and impartial establishment of facts would facilitate the resolution of conflicts.
Current fact-finding authorities are cased-based or unilateral

Indeed, a properly functioning system of collective security hinges on the provision of accurate information and a shared appreciation for and evaluation of the facts. Thus far, however, international decision-making in situations of conflict and other threats to peace have remained largely dependent on unilateral fact-finding presented by individual states. Nonetheless, there may be some attempts to entrust international bodies, rather than courts, with fact-finding functions.
In past years, the UN Security Council, the Secretary-General and the Human Rights Council have each established fact-finding authorities (FFAs), which have engaged in fact-finding in matters of gross human rights violations and peace and security. To some extent, the emergence of this multitude of FFAs fills a gap given the absence of a central fact-finding agency. However, these bodies are traditionally established on an ad hoc basis and tailored to the intricacies of a concrete incident, dispute, conflict or threat. Additionally, they vary greatly in their precise mandate, operation and function.
Comparison of fact-finding facts with the advent of modern technologies
Given the fragmentary landscape, this lecture offers a tour d'horizon of existing fact-finding processes and mechanisms that inform international decision-making in crisis situations. It compares and contrasts different institutional settings and methodologies, thus reappraising Martens' call for independent fact-finding. The lecture explores how resilient existing fact-finding structures are with the advent of cyberspace and related technologies, which offers opportunities for new types of connectivity, but are also marked by allegations of misinformation, hacking, fake news and alternative facts.
Larissa van den Herik
Vice Dean of Leiden Law School and professor of public international law at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at Leiden University.

Professor Van den Herik is the General Editor of the Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law. She also serves as general editor of the Leiden Journal of International Law (former Editor-in-Chief from 2005-2013). She is the chair of the ILA Study Group on UN Sanctions and International Law. She also holds the position of vice-chair of the Advisory Committee on Public International Law Issues to the Netherlands Government and has advised the government in that capacity on drones, cyber warfare, humanitarian assistance and autonomous weapons systems.
Thursday, May 25, 2017, 19:30
Sakharov Centre
ul. Zemlyanoy val 57, str. 6
The lecture is organized in cooperation with
Sakharov centre and
MA programme "Political philosophy and social theory"
The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences
Tilda Publishing