2014 Abstracts


Sir Graham Watson

Born in Rothesay, Scotland, Sir Graham is a co-founder and Chairman of the Climate Parliament, a global network of legislators working to accelerate the transition to a lowcarbon economy. From 1994 to 2014 he represented South West England in the European Parliament, during which time he was elected Chairman of the Justice and Home Affairs Committee (1999-2002), Leader of the Liberal Democrat group (2002-09) and Chairman of the EP’s delegation for relations with India (2009-14). He now works as a freelance consultant. The father of two children and the author of ten books on political issues, he speaks four EU languages fluently and is learning mandarin Chinese.

Sir Graham Watson will explore the development of the idea of the self determination of peoples as expressed by US President Woodrow Wilson. He will apply this to the establishment and growth of the EU and the tensions experienced over the 90 years of European history since the establishment of the League of Nations. Finally he will consider the situation in the EU today and draw some pointers for likely future developments.

Professor Sir Robin Auld

Professor Sir Robin Auld, former High Court and then Court of Appeal Judge for England & Wales; the Senior Presiding Judge for E & W; Vice-Chairman of E & W Judicial Appointments Commission; conducted and appeared in many public inquiries in the UK and internationally, the latter including the Bahama Islands, Australia, Turks & Caicos Islands and Papua New Guinea; President, Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands 2009 -2012; and Goodhart Professor in Legal Science, Cambridge University, 2009 – 2010. Presently Justice of Bermuda and of Oxford University Courts of Appeal; and, as Slynn Foundation Trustee, in advising Ukraine and Macedonia Governments on law reform and judicial appointments & training, with particular reference to ECHR & EU norms.

Turks & Caicos Commission of Inquiry into Governmental Corruption 2008 -2009 – Help or Hindrance to Self-Determination

1. The Terms of Reference of the Turks & Caicos Commission of Inquiry appointed in late 2008 were critical to the Territory’s then and future constitutional status, in particular its readiness for independence both as a matter of governance and economic stability. They called for inquiry into long-standing and growing public allegations of – in the main – widespread governmental corruption.

2. The Commission’s task, though urgent, was not to inquire into and make findings on the existence and extent of any such corruption. Its Terms of Reference were unusually inchoate. They were as to whether there was information that corruption or other serious dishonesty in relation to past and present elected members of the TCI House of Assembly might have taken place in recent years, and, if so, whether to recommend reference of the possibility to the appropriate TCI authorities for investigation and, if so advised, prosecution and/or civil recovery proceedings. The Commission was also required to identify any indications of systemic weaknesses in the Territory’s legislation, regulation and/or administration.

3. The Commission conducted its Inquiry speedily, partly in writing and partly by taking evidence on oath from a number of the Territory’s House of Assembly Members who were also Government Ministers, and others. Its findings in early 2009 were of a high probability of systemic corruption in government and the legislature and among public officers. It also found serious failure in the Territory’s systems of governance and public financial management and control, weakness of its financial position and of lack of effective checks and balances to protect the public purse, the inefficient from scrutiny, the dishonest from discovery and the vulnerable from abuse.

4. This presentation will focus first on the ability and willingness or otherwise of the TCI’s leaders properly to have observed before and at the time of the Inquiry the standards of good governance, having regard to the Territory’s 2006 Constitution and other legislative and administrative norms, and also to the FCO’s then expectations set out in its 1999 Command Paper/Partnership for Progress and Prosperity; Britain and the Overseas Territories.

5. The presentation will then indicate the effect of the Inquiry and responses to it on the preparation and readiness of the Territory’s leaders and administrators for establishment and maintenance of good governance if and when the 2006 Constitution is fully restored – amended or un-amended – or of the FCO’s present policy as recently restated and developed in its 2012 White Paper, Overseas Territories, Security, Success and Sustainability. This document sets out common standards, tailored to local conditions and needs, as to the maintenance of the rule of law, respect for human rights and integrity in public life, delivery of efficient public services, and building strong and successful communities. Achievement of these standards are, seemingly, a requisite for an eventual move to independence, a common aim of the British Overseas Territories agreed by their new Joint Ministerial Council formed shortly after the publication of the 2012 White Paper.

Dr. Jesús Verdú Baeza

Dr. Jesús Verdú Baeza, Director de la Sede de Algeciras de la Facultad de Derecho de la UCA. Profesor Contratado Doctor del Área de Derecho Internacional Público y Relaciones Internacionales de la Universidad de Cádiz.

Integridad Territorial Frente al Principio de Autodeterminación en el Caso de Gibraltar. Una Perspectiva Española

Es un hecho cierto que las perspectivas sobre el marco jurídico aplicable a Gibraltar difieren en función de las distintas partes implicadas en las controversias. Desde un óptica tradicional española en el supuesto de Gibraltar debe primar el principio de respeto a la integridad territorial, siendo que, en principio, el derecho de autodeterminación, tal y como viene definido y regulado en el vigente Derecho Internacional no es aplicable a Gibraltar. Así ha venido defendiéndolo España en diversos foros a lo largo de los años. La cuestión clave sería ver si esta posición política y enfoque jurídico es compatible con los nuevos desarrolllos del Derecho Internacional contemporáneo en una realidad internacional profundamente cambiante.

Jamie Trinidad

Jamie Trinidad is a Fellow and Tutor of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge. He researches and teaches in the fields of public international law, constitutional law and human rights. He holds postgraduate degrees in international law and international relations from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and recently submitted a PhD at Cambridge entitled ‘Self-Determination in Disputed Colonial Territories’. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2001, and the Bar of Gibraltar in 2005. He remains associated with Isolas, Gibraltar’s oldest law firm, and acts for Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar on a range of international law matters. The views he expresses in this symposium are personal and are not intended to represent the views of the Government or any other entity.

Self-Determination in the Shadow of a Sovereignty Claim: The Case of Gibraltar

Successive generations of Gibraltarians have confronted the UK with the case for democratic and constitutional reform. Much progress has been made on this front, and more remains to be made, as Gibraltar continues down the path towards a full measure of self-government. The greatest challenge to self-determination in Gibraltar comes not from Britain but from Spain, which ceded the territory to Britain in 1713 and has since sought to recover it by various means. Today, Spain pursues its claim in international forums using the language of international law. It contends that the population of Gibraltar does not have the right freely to determine the external political status of the territory, and that Gibraltar must be decolonized through integration with Spain, regardless of the wishes of the Gibraltarians. Spain bases its position on a variety of overlapping arguments, principally concerning the territorial arrangements in Gibraltar and the ethnographic composition of the Gibraltarian population. This presentation will evaluate the Spanish arguments and – given that the dispute appears unlikely to be settled by judicial means – consider how the case for self-determination in Gibraltar can be advanced in international political forums like the UN.

Dr. Jennifer Ballantine Perera

Dr. Jennifer Ballantine Perera is the Director of the Gibraltar Garrison Library. Together with Professor Andrew Canessa, University of Essex, she is the recipient of a major award from the UK Economic and Social Research Council for their project; Bordering on Britishness: An Oral History of Gibraltar in the 20th Century, which started recently in September 2013. She was previously based at Lancaster University where she formed part of a major research project, headed by Professor Martin Blinkhorn and Professor Stephen Constantine on Gibraltar. She has published articles on the permit system in place in Gibraltar during the 19th century, on the Royal Calpe Hunt and on the development of a civilian population on the Rock.

Self-determination as Spectacle: The Press and Gibraltar’s First Visit to the UN Committee of 24 in September 1963.

This paper will be concerned with the visit by a Gibraltar delegation to the United Nations in 1963. This was an unprecedented visit, and an impromptu one at that, in which the Gibraltar petitioners made a concerted bid to ensure that Gibraltar’s right to self-determination be safeguarded by the United Nations Charter. Certainly a historic event and one that resonates to this day, not only because of the audacity of these Gibraltarian delegates in their determination to get their message across, but also because of the manner in which this event has become a cornerstone in Gibraltar’s political history. Living memory has certainly had a hand in the memorialisation of the 1963 visit, but the press reports of the day have also served to disseminate and possibly even amplify their significance. The Gibraltar Chronicle, for example, reported on how, “before a committee of the world’s premier institution for the protection of the rights of all people, the United Nations, the representative delegation of one of the world’s smallest communities, put their case”. Parallels are being drawn it seems between Gibraltar’s presentation at the UN and Samson’s confrontation with (a benign) Goliath. What is clear though it that the Gibraltar delegation were seen as heroes and welcomed, upon their return, accordingly. Their return, as reported on the pages of the Gibraltar Chronicle, leaves us with a lasting legacy of the time Gibraltar’s stood up to the UN and, more especially, Spain. Looking back at these events however, lived through the press, at least on my part, a number of questions come to mind. The euphoria that spread across Gibraltar suggested a victory, but where did this victory lie? Are we dealing with a case of myth taking over from reality? The Gibraltar Chronicle offers us the most comprehensive account of that September in 1963 and it is though this paper that I shall view this visit as it unfolded in an attempt to understand the message taken to the UN by the Gibraltar petitioners and the outcomes of their now historic visit.

Alan Boyle

Alan Boyle has been Professor of Public International Law at the University of Edinburgh School of Law since 1995. He teaches international law, international environmental law, and law of the sea. Publications include International Law and the Environment (with Patricia Birnie and Catherine Redgwell)(3rd edn, OUP, 2009) and The Making of International Law (with Christine Chinkin)(OUP, 2007). He practises international law from Essex Court Chambers, London and has represented various governments before the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Devolution, Independence and Referenda: The Scottish Experience.

Successive UK governments have said that, should a majority of people in any part of the multi-national UK express a clear desire to leave it through a fair and democratic process, the UK Government would not seek to prevent that happening. That is why the UK Government sought to reach an agreement on a legal, fair and decisive referendum on independence for Scotland … through the Edinburgh Agreement.” The referendum held in September 2014 is the first time Scotland has voted on whether to exercise this constitutional right and become an independent state. The paper examines the referendum process, the variety of ways in which independence can come about, and the limited role that international law plays.

Mr Quim Torra

Mr Quim Torra is a lawyer, writer and publisher. He is the founder of Acontravent publishing, dedicated to literary journalism and non-fiction. He is also a member of the Council of the Catalan National Assembly and Vice-President of Òmnium Cultural. Both associations are leading the Catalonia independence process from the Catalan civil society side. In 2012, he was appointed Director of El Born Cultural Center (http://elborncentrecultural.bcn.cat): part archaeological site, part museum and the place where Barcelona suffered the siege of 1714, the last battle of the Spanish Succession War, in which Catalonia’s national liberties were lost.

Catalonia, on the Road to Independence

2014 is a very special year in the catalans collective memory. We commemorate the 300 years of our defeat in the Spanish Succession War. It was exactly on the 11th of September 1714 when the city of Barcelona fell to Felipe V, after it resisted the unthinkable. Catalonia lost its freedom. Now, 300 years later, we are the consequence of this mix of the past and the present.

The self-determination process is a two-way movement: a group of people seeking a common goal and a reflection of social transformation, because everybody wants to achieve profound changes in the political and social structures; in order to change a Catalonia that suffers a harsh and unfair reality not only because of the economic crisis. the “Catalan way” is centred on democratic processes. Catalans want to vote. We want to use the voting on this issue, whether we are in favour or against.

How has been the civil society involved? Is this really a process bottom up? What is the situation today? Would Spain recognize that Catalonia can/must/should vote? If the catalans can’t legally vote (and 80% of catalans voters want the referendum, according with the last surveys), because Spain stopped the referendum, then, what?

Marcelo G. Kohen

Argentine citizen, Marcelo G. Kohen is Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Member of the Institute of International Law and Director-General of the Latin American Society of International Law. He has acted as counsel and advocate for a number of States in contentious and advisory proceedings before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and arbitral tribunals. He is also an arbitrator, and author of around one hundred works in the field of international law, in French, English and Spanish.

The Falklands/Malvinas and the Right of Peoples to Self-determination

Since the 1960s, a new ingredient has been added to the longstanding Anglo-Argentine dispute over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas): the applicability or not of the right of peoples to self-determination to the inhabitants of the territory. While the British Government supports the view that its citizens living in the disputed territory are holders of that right, the Argentine Government rejects this claim, insisting on the respect for both its territorial integrity and the islanders’ way of life. The UN General Assembly and its Decolonisation Committee resolutions dealing with the Question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) have never included any reference to the applicability of the principle of self-determination to this particular case. However, they refer to the fact that, in settling their dispute over sovereignty, the parties should take into account the interests of the inhabitants.

Robert Woodthorpe Browne MBE

Robert Woodthorpe Browne MBE is a reinsurance industry professional whose work has taken him to some 130 countries. Robert founded the African Insurance Organisation and has worked in Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. After the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, he helped to establish a viable insurance profession in Russia and its former satellites. Robert is the Treasurer on the Bureau of Liberal International, chairs the International Relations Committee of the Liberal Democrats, and attends the International Affairs Backbench Committee. He leads the Party’s delegations at Council and Congresses of the European Liberal Democrat Party and of Liberal International. Robert is fluent in French, Spanish and German. He initiated the Lord Garden Memorial Lectures at Chatham House, to remember the achievements of the former Director.

Self-determination – An International Liberal Perspective

Woodrow Wilson spoke of the Fundamental Right of Peoples to Self Determination. Meetings of Liberal International have often discussed this in relation to both the general principle and to particular situations. People certainly have a right to decide how they should lead their lives and be governed. As with any human right, there will be restraints, be they geographical or economic. The rights of minorities must be protected. Co-operation is preferable to isolation. Robert Woodthorpe Browne will share the conclusions of the debates so far and offer some perspectives of his own.

Professor Heriberto Cairo

Professor Heriberto Cairo has a Doctorate in Political Sciences and Sociology from the Complutense University in Madrid (UCM). At the moment he is Professor in Political Sciences and Administration and Dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology in the UCM. He was director of the Masters in Contemporary Studies of Latin America from 2006 to 2010 and main coordinator of the Interuniversity (UCM-UNED) Doctorate Programme in “Latin American Studies: Political and Social Reality” from 1994 to 2006. His research area lies in political geography with a focus on the study of the geopolitics of war and peace, political identities and territorial ideologies and borders. He is director of the journal Geopolítica(s), published by the UCM. Publications include: Descolonizar la modernidad, descolonizar Europa: un diálogo Europa – América Latina (2010) (with R. Grosfoguel), Vertientes americanas del pensamiento y el proyecto des-colonial (2008) (with W. Mignolo); Geopolítica, guerras y resistencias (2006) (with J. Pastor); Democracia digital. Límites y oportunidades (2002); La construcción social del conflicto territorial argentino-británico: Una aproximación geopolítica crítica (1995).

The Kelpers and the Relations Between Argentina and the United Kingdom

The Falkland/Malvinas islands are the main obstacle to the relations between Argentina and the United Kingdom. The soft approaching to the population of the islands by the Argentine government before 1982 was aborted by the war initiated by the military government. Nowadays the number of kelpers is growing and forms a prosperous community thanks to the income coming from the fishing licences in the waters around the islands. They definitely oppose any change in the sovereignty status of the territory, which is exactly what the Argentine government wishes in an obstinate way. Certainly, it is possible to understand this position as part of their right to self-determination, and the government of the United Kingdom would be the guardian of this right. However in other occasions the wishes of the colonial subjects was not respected by the British government, which led us to think about the difference between the populations that have the right of self-determination and those that do not have the right to be heard.

Jon Iñarritu

Jon Iñarritu is a Member of the Spanish Parliament (Congress): Amaiur Basque Coalition

2005-2010 International Project Manager MCC Coopérative

2010-2011 Responsible for International Relations and European Parliament in Aralar Party

2010-2012 Vicepresident of Eurobask (European Movement of the Basque Country)

Basque Country From Devolution to Self-determination

The Basque Country is divided into two states: France and Spain, and comprises 3 different administrations: C.F Navarre, Basque Autonomous Community and Pays Basque (Basque French Country)

Professor Jason Sorens argues that taking into account the results of the elections, the Basque country is one of the regions where secessionism is has the highest degree of popular support in the world. But it should be added that this option has majority support in the B.A.C though not in Navarre and is in a minority in the Basque French Country.

For this reason we say that we are a nation, but divided into 3 areas according to our positions.

Why is the autonomy autonomist option not enough for Basque public opinion nowadays?

  • Bilaterateral institutional relations as agreed in the Autonomous Statutes are disappearing and administrative and legal uniformity are increasing.
  • Centralization of powers taking advantage of the implementation of the Law of the E.U.
  • No say in State decisions nor option of participating in European decisions.
  • Statue development and regional devolution of powers in the hands of the central state
  • The unity of the state has priority comes first
  • No opportunity to make decisions affecting labor issues and social affairs
  • The Basque langue still does not have official status (only partially in Navarra and Northern Basque Country)
  • Cooperation within the Basque Regions is not covered by any effective legal framework.
  • Refusal to approve a new Statute of Autonomy guaranteeing a new status based on the free association with Spain and developing “the right to decide” of the Basque people.

For these reasons the majority of Basque citizens insist that we are nation that we have the right to decide our constitutional future.

Courtenay Griffiths QC

Courtenay Griffiths QC has been involved in some of the most high-profile and notable cases of the past two decades. He has a wide-ranging practice in domestic and International Criminal Law and is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding jury advocates of his generation. Criminal defence work emphasis is on terrorism and murder, some of the most note worthy cases being; The PC Blakelock murder trial, The Brighton Bombing, The Harrods Bombing, The Canary Wharf Bombing, The Risley Riot, The Dartmoor Riot, The Damilola Taylor murder trial. Amongst the most sought after of International Criminal law specialists, providing representation in trials of genocide, crimes against humanity and other war crimes before international, internationalised and national courts.

Courtenay provides advice and representation in foreign jurisdictions on international arbitration matters concerning money laundering and other international commercially related crime. He has been involved in domestic serious fraud work for many years representing both individual and corporate clients. He can advise at first instance on extradition matters and mutual legal assistance. Courtenay has committed much of his over thirty years in practice to civil liberties work and has unique experience in the application of the European Convention of Human Rights. He is developing a keen interest in international commercial mediation, particularly in Africa, where he can deploy his profile and his legal and political connections to the advantage of his clients.

Is the Idea of British Overseas Territories a Post Colonial Relic Which Has No Place in the 21st Century: The Turks and Caicos Experience of Direct Rule

In 2009 the British Government suspended the democratically-elected Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), and imposed direct rule through the Governor. Following a Commission of Inquiry conducted by Sir Robin Auld, into allegations of a pervasive climate of bribery and corruption, new legislation was introduced which suspended the constitutional right to trial by jury, followed by further legislation allowing a judge to conduct a trial by judge alone. Thereafter a Special Investigation and Prosecution Team was created, consisting in the main of imported English lawyers and policemen, to investigate allegations of corruption and bribery involving Government Ministers and foreign developers. This has resulted in criminal charges being brought against several former Government ministers. The trial judge, a retired Jamaican judge, has already decided that the trial of the defendants will be conducted without a jury, a decision confirmed by the TCI Court of Appeal. The defendants intend to appeal this matter to the Privy Council. The issue is whether this kind of behaviour by a government thousands of miles away is acceptable in the contemporary world, when so many small communities are demanding greater independence and autonomy, as reflected in the recent vote in Scotland. If Scotland can be offered the choice of independence why not TCI, where there is a growing movement to cut the link with Britain

Luke Coffey

Luke Coffey studies and writes on transatlantic relations as the Margaret Thatcher Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He focuses in particular on Anglo-American relations. He has testified before Congress on NATO and transatlantic security issues. Before joining Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom in 2012, Coffey served at the UK Ministry of Defence as senior special adviser to then-British Defence Secretary Liam Fox. He was the first non-UK citizen to be appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron to provide advice to senior British ministers. Until going to the Ministry of Defence in 2010, Coffey worked in the House of Commons as an adviser on defence and security issues for the Conservative Party. He helped develop and implement policy initiatives on security and defence matters, in particular drafting the defence section of the party’s 2010 election manifesto. Coffey’s work in British politics followed his service to the United States as a commissioned officer in the Army. He spent his entire time on active duty overseas and was stationed in Italy with the Army’s Southern European Task Force. In 2005, Coffey deployed to Afghanistan for a year where he was awarded the Bronze Star medal. Coffey received a Master of Science degree in the politics and government of the European Union from the London School of Economics. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and an associate of arts degree in military science from Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Mo.

Why the U.S. Should Back the Inalienable Right to Self-determination of the Falkland Islanders.

The U.S. frequently takes no position on territorial disputes, apart from stating that they should be resolved peacefully and without coercion, intimidation, threats, or the use of force. Regarding the dispute over the Falkland Islands, Argentina has clearly failed to live up to that standard: It used military force in 1982 and has since waged a campaign of coercion, intimidation, and threats against the Islanders. Sadly, the current U.S. Administration has not lived up to this standard either. Far from taking no position, in 2010 the U.S. weighed in on the mounting tensions between UK and Argentina by backing Argentina’s call for a U.N.-brokered settlement. This is an unwise policy. By supporting Argentina’s demand, the U.S. risks alienating Britain and encouraging Argentina to take even more aggressive actions. The question of sovereignty was emphatically settled in 1982. It should not be reopened, and the U.S. should stop suggesting that it can be. While the historical background of the Falkland Islands makes a clear case for British sovereignty, it is ultimately secondary to the inherent right of the Islanders to decide how they wish to be governed and to whom they owe their allegiance. The U.S. was founded in 1776 on an assertion of this right. It should live up to this heritage by respecting the wishes of the Falkland Islanders.

Christopher Gardner QC, MA (Cantab), FCIArb, FSALS, FRSM, FCJEI

  • Educated: Rossall School, Lancashire, and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
  • Called to the Bar: Gray’s Inn. Lord Justice Holker Exhibitioner
  • Barrister: Lamb Chambers, Middle Temple. Head of Chambers 1998 – 2004
  • Recorder: 1993
  • Queen’s Counsel: 1994
  • Chief Justice: Turks and Caicos Islands, British West Indies, 2004-2007
  • Presently: Chief Justice Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Sandwich, British Antarctic and British Indian Ocean Territories (part time appointments)
  • Chartered Arbitrator
  • Accredited Mediator
  • Fellow: Society for Advanced Legal Studies; Royal Society of Medicine; Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute
  • www.cgqc.com

Dr. Tom Grant

Dr. Tom Grant is an academic and practicing lawyer specializing in international dispute settlement and public international law. He is a fellow of Wolfson College in the University of Cambridge, and a Senior Associate of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the Yale Law School and holds a Ph.D. in international law from Cambridge where he studied under Chris Greenwood and James Crawford. His research interests include State immunity, treaty-making, maritime delimitation, boundary disputes, and the history of international law. Dr. Grant is a foreign corresponding editor of International Legal Materials; and co-founder and General Editor of the Journal of International Dispute Settlement. He is a member of the Consultancy Roster of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He served on the policy staff of John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign; and was a member of the defense policy working group of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. For academic year 2013-14, Dr. Grant was a National Fellow and Edward Teller Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He serves as Visiting Professor of Law at the Catholic University of Lille.

Self-determination in International Law: Past and Future(s)

Self-determination began its conceptual life in the realm of politics, but as international law developed in the 20th century it acquired concrete legal meaning. This resulted from a combination of general practice by States and, more particularly, the practice of the UN General Assembly. The scope of self-determination as an international law right has remained narrowly defined: it has remained a right connected to the undetermined status of colonial territories in international law. However, from the realm of politics, calls go out to extend the right to other situations. How, and if at all to what extent, will self-determination come to affect the rights of groups other than the peoples of colonial territories? And how, if self-determination does evolve in that way, will States manage — and perhaps exploit — the concept in their relations with other States?