HomeStates compliance with international human rights law: state-of-the-art, improvement and challenges

HomeStates compliance with international human rights law: state-of-the-art, improvement and challenges

States compliance with international human rights law: state-of-the-art, improvement and challenges

La conformité des états au droit international des droits humains : état de l’art, évolutions et défis

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Published on Friday, August 02, 2019


La plupart des juristes internationaux continuent de penser que le droit international influence le comportement des états. Bien que les recherches juridiques qui visent à théoriser pourquoi et quand les états se conforment au droit international aient été prolifiques, il n’existe pas d’entente sur une théorie cohérente de la conformité. La doctrine des théories de la compliance embrasse toutes sortes de domaines empiriques en droit international. Le droit international des droits humains constitue un domaine important d’études conceptuelles et empiriques sur le sujet.


The Institute for International Humanitarian Studies (CERIC, UMR DICE 7318, AMIDEX) of Aix-en-Provence Law School welcomes submissions for the forthcoming INSIDE Workshop in Compliance Theories to be held at Aix-en-Provence Law School on 2 April 2020.


The INSIDE (International Socialization and Democracy Through International Law) Project: The fundamental postulate of the INSIDE rests on the idea that international law is a tool used to socialize States. The doctrine attempts to identify, by invoking both theories of international relations and those of international law, the ways and effects of such socialization. The research we intend to carry out finds its foundations in this context and is based on a broad empirical field on international human rights law. One of the objectives of the project is to construct analytical tools, including for the purpose of assessing and measuring compliance with commitments States.

Workshop’s focus: Most of the international lawyers continue to believe that international law matters, in the sense that it affects or influences the conduct of States. Although the legal scholarship that aims at theorizing why and when States comply with international law has been productive, there is no agreement on one coherent compliance theory. The doctrine of theories of compliance is concerned with all sorts of empirical fields in international law. Among these empirical fields, international human rights law is an important subject of conceptual or sometimes empirical studies.


The workshop aims to address three major research questions:

  • Why do States agree to ratify multilateral treaties and agreements in international human rights law?

States remain sovereign in their international commitments. They choose to ratify a treaty or not, and to denounce it or not. It is this sovereign freedom of each State which makes this matter interesting and difficult to grasp. We believe that understanding the factors influencing States in their choices is particularly crucial in this period of instability in international relations. In addition, human rights institutions are regularly criticized and attacked by States while their legitimacy is often questioned.

  • Why do States often agree to amend their conduct in accordance with their obligations under international human rights law?

Some States, when ratifying a treaty on international human rights law, ensure that their domestic law complies with international standards, or agree to amend certain behaviours. Admittedly, most treaties require such adaptation of domestic law and internal policies in accordance with the treaty. But are States simply obeying a prescriptive norm, or is there a more profound motivation? The second part of this question, in particular, helps to anticipate the behaviour of a State which is about to ratify a human rights treaty. 

  • How to assess and to measure compliance by States with their treaty commitments in international human rights law?

This question refers not to the technical mechanisms for the execution and implementation of judgments and recommendations, but rather to the real motivations of States which agree or disagree with their implementation. For instance, before the Human Rights Committee some States agree to fully implement the recommendations, others implement them only partially, while others choose not to respond at all. This observation can also be made with regards to the regional human rights courts. Unfortunately, for the moment there is not any tool to understand these variations in behaviour.

We welcome a wide variety of paper proposals in the field of compliance theories that fit within one of the workshop’s questions.

Subject areas of interest for submission include, but are not limited to:

  • Compliance Theories (realism, institutionalism, new liberalism, constructivism, transnational legal process, );
  • Compliance in practice;
  • Measurement of compliance with International Human Rights

The aim of the workshop is to bring together young researchers in order to present their work in a supportive and collaborative environment and engage in an in-depth discussion about the practical impact of the compliance theories. The participants will present their research and receive feedback and comments from their peers.

Submission of Abstracts

The Committee welcomes abstracts from any researcher addressing the theme of the workshop. Please submit 300-500 words abstract (in English or French), your CV and information regarding your current institutional affiliation(s) to

before 20 September 2019.

The selection of proposals is based on the quality of the abstract, as well as its capacity to engage with the other proposals of the panels.

Selected proposals will be announced by the end of September 2019. Successful participants will be required to submit the paper they wish to present at the workshop (no more than 10 000 words) by 2 March 2020. Papers can encompass empirical approaches, theoretical discussions and case studies. Submitted papers must not be under consideration by any journal or accepted for future publication. Accepted papers will be considered for publication in the Quebec Journal of International Law (QJIL).


We are pleased to announce that travel and accommodation expenses for the selected participants will be covered, subject to availability of funds.

Faculty Directors

Prof. Ludovic Hennebel and Prof. Hélène Tigroudja

Scientific Coordination

Niki Siampakou and Gaëtan Ferrara Contact:


  • Université d'Aix-Marseille
    Aix-en-Provence, France (13)


  • Friday, September 20, 2019


  • droit international, droit humain, relation internationale, conformité


  • Ludovic Hennebel
    courriel : insideworkshop2020 [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Martine Perron
    courriel : martine [dot] perron [at] univ-amu [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« States compliance with international human rights law: state-of-the-art, improvement and challenges », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, August 02, 2019,

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