Centre for International Law


Centre for International Law of the Institute of International Relations

International law is the main normative tool regulating the relationships among states and other international actors (international organizations, individuals, non-state actors). Changes in international relations bring about changes in international law, which has to react to new challenges. Since the end of the Cold War, a lot of new challenges have arisen – globalization, the increased role of non-state actors, the new emphasis placed on human rights, new approaches to the protection of the environment and mass migration waves.
The new Centre for International Law (CIL), which was established within the Institute of International Relations in spring 2016, endeavours to analyse these challenges and the way in which international law responds to them. The Centre will deal with various international law issues. Reflecting, however, the research profiles of its members and the long-term priorities of the foreign policy of the Czech Republic, it will place particular emphasis upon the following areas of international law: human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, the fight against terrorism, the use of force in international relations, and international organizations.
The Centre will produce three categories of outputs: academic articles contributing to the debate in a specific area of international law; policy-oriented papers addressed to the representatives of the Czech public institutions, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and popularizing articles that would expound international law issues to the general public in the Czech Republic. The Centre has the ambition of being international in terms of the quality of its outputs, and national in terms of its capacity to contribute to the national debate and spread knowledge about international law in the Czech Republic.

Publications of the Centre International Law

(The past International Law Reflections are available here.)

Will Outer Space Be Weaponized?

This essay discusses the main elements of the American security document called the Missile Defense Review 2019, which was presented by the US Ministry of Defense in January 2019. It covers the possible reasons for the postponed publication of the document and informs about the main legal documents dealing with the peaceful use of space. It compares the current document with the similar one from 2010, which was published by the Obama administration. It also focuses on the possibility of the deployment of US spacebased interceptors in the Earth’s orbit. In this context it analyses the possible negative consequences of such a development, especially that it could lead to the beginning of a phase of a high risk weaponization of outer space and the start of an arms race in that domain. (Miroslav Tůma)

Czech version available here.

Two important summits of president Trump and nuclear disarmament expectations

In surprisingly short period of time, the U.S. president Donald Trump attended two summits with his counterparts from North Korea and Russia this year. For the three parties there is a common denominator which is the security and nuclear armament. In this policy brief Miroslav Tůma is describing the nature of the meetings and outlining the future developments in the security debates. Tůma is also trying to find an answer for question, what was the actual motivation of president Trump to meet with leaders of countries, which poses a security issues towards USA. (Miroslav Tůma)

Czech version available here.

The US Withdraws From The UN Human Rights Council

In mid-June 2018, the US announced its withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council. It sat in the Council for the third time since the establishment of the organ in 2006. This time, however, it left its three-year mandate (2017–2019) unfinished. The paper analyses the four main arguments that the US put forward to justify its withdrawal from the Council. It shows that while some of the arguments have some merit, none is truly convincing. The paper also warns against any re-assessment of the current Czech candidacy to the Council. (Veronika Bílková)

Czech version available here.

The Controversial US Withdrawal from the Iranian Nuclear Deal and its International Consequences

On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump went through with his threat and, this time, has not submitted his certification of the implementation of the Iranian nuclear agreement to the US Congress for approval. According to Trump, the document is the “worst deal” of Obama Democratic administration. He made his negative decision despite Iranʼs positive performance in the inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). (Miroslav Tůma)

Czech version available here.

The Decline of the Big Five

Is the supremacy of the Big Five, inherited from the mid-20th century, on the brink of its decline? Have the Big Five started to lose informal privileges which have been bestowed upon them over the past 70 years? Will that be followed by the reduction in, or even total abolition of, formal privileges? While answering all these questions in the affirmative would certainly be too audacious, there are signs indicating that the privileged position of the Big Five is no longer accepted without reserves. Veronika Bílková analyzes this current trend in her reflection. (Veronika Bílková)

Czech version available here.

Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel – acknowledging the obvious, or an illegitimate act?

On December 6, 2017, the US president Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital city of the State of Israel and announced his plan to move the American embassy there. The majority of States have reacted with condemnation or unease to this decision; a minority, including the Czech Republic, have expressed their understanding or, in some cases, even support for it. The divide within the international community demonstrated itself also in the UN General Assembly. The resolution criticizing the attempts to change the status of Jerusalem unilaterally was adopted by 128 votes in favor, with 9 States voting against and 35, including the Czech Republic, abstaining. In the UN Security Council, a resolution with a very similar content got support from 1 States but could not be adopted due to the US veto. What makes the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel such a controversial issue? Is it not after all, as Trump said, just the recognition of the obvious? What led the General Assembly to express its deep regret at the US decision and label it as legally problematic? These questions will be addressed in the following International Law Reflection of the Centre for International Law of the IIR. (Veronika Bílková)

Czech version available here.

Our Team

Doc. JUDr. PhDr. Veronika Bílková, Ph.D., E.MA

Head of the Centre

JUDr. Miroslav Tůma (plk. v.v.)

Senior Associate

Dr. Bríd Ní Ghráinne

Senior Researcher

Jan Lhotský, Ph.D.

Senior Researcher

JUDr. Petra Ditrichová, Ph.D.

Associate Researcher

Dr. Federica Cristani

Senior Researcher