The sixth iteration of this annual symposium of the Maryland Journal of International Law and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law will focus on an issue that has greatly shaped the law and politics of international relations over the last twenty-five years, and that is now very much in the front pages of daily newspapers: namely, when and under what conditions may members of the international community of states, acting singly or collectively, get involved in the internal conflicts of a member state? The international system, on the one hand, recognizes member states as the primary units through which the peoples of a society interact with each other for their mutual benefit and self-governance. This recognition is expressed by a general statement that states should, in their relations with each other, refrain from interventions that undermine the territorial integrity or political independence of each other; a norm that is explicitly codified in international law. On the other hand, recent histories of “failed states,” weak central governments, widespread atrocities in internal conflicts, and a liberal cosmopolitan commitment to human rights challenge the continuing viability of this norm of noninterference. Recent political decisions by member states of the international society, have openly espoused a norm of intervention to promote cosmopolitan values under the rubric of humanitarian intervention. The international system is thus confronted with the problem of how best to reconcile the principle of nonintervention with the practical requirements of creating a harmonious and stable world order that redounds to the benefit of all. The answers, all will agree, lie in taking critical stances on the dimensions of the relevant norms and our understandings of the descriptive realities that we invoke to challenge those norms. A lot less clear are the appropriate elements of those critical perspectives.

In this conference, the Maryland Journal of International Law will be asking scholars and practitioners who have theorized about these issues, and who deal with them in the trenches of the technocratic implementation of policies to discuss the various issues that have come up (and will continue to come up) as the international system wrestles with the demands of reconciling the principle of nonintervention with those of cosmopolitan rights. What are the parameters of the principles of nonintervention and of cosmopolitan rights? What forms do interventions take, and does the structure or nature of the forms matter in according respect or undermining these principles? In what way does international law shape the nature and form of intervention? How successful have interventions been in realizing stated cosmopolitan objectives? What does the future hold for reconciling the principles of nonintervention and cosmopolitan rights? What is the optimal trajectory for that reconciliation?

The Maryland Journal of International Law believes that the lineup of speakers guarantees diverse and vigorous reflections on these and other related issues. Their academic interests and practical experiences embrace virtually all of the areas of the world that have generated recent interest and concerns about external intervention in internal conflicts: the Middle-East, Africa and the Balkans. Our speakers are affiliated with universities, think-tanks, public interest research bodies, and the military. They reside in, hail from or have advised decision-makers in societies that subscribe to differing doctrines on the question of intervention; ranging from the claim of complete prohibition on intervention, to permissive rules on coercive intervention, whether of the unilateral variety, through ad hoc coalitions of the willing, or by permanent institutions such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, regional bodies, and/or the United Nations Security Council.

We invite all who are interested or curious to join us for the symposium. The event will take place on Tuesday, November 19 and will consist of a panel discussion from experts, followed by a Keynote lecture. Selected papers and comments presented at the conference will later be published in Volume 29 of the Maryland Journal of International Law.


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Tuesday, November 19th
9:00 AM

Registration and Continental Breakfast

Krongard Room

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

9:45 AM

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Ceremonial Courtroom

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM

10:15 AM

Panel: International Intervention in Civil Conflicts

Rosa Brooks, Georgetown University Law Center
Todd Huntley, Interagency Policy and Operations Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, U.S. Special Operations Command
Feisal al-Istrabadi, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Mortimer Sellers, University of Baltimore School of Law
Maxwell O. Chibundu, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

10:15 AM - 12:15 PM

12:15 PM


Krongard Room

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM

1:15 PM

Keynote Lecture

Henry J. Richardson III, Temple University Beasley School of Law

Ceremonial Courtroom

1:15 PM - 3:00 PM