[ASIL 2022] Closing plenary on arms control and the peace movement

Published 24 March 2022

Stop the war rally at London's Trafalgar Square 2020 - @Gary Knight - Wikimedia

On April 9 2022, Janne Nijman, chair of the executive board and academic director of the Asser Institute will convene the closing plenary of the annual meeting American Society of International Law (ASIL) in Washington DC. This prestigious society aims to foster the study of international law and to promote the establishment and maintenance of international relations based on law and justice. The closing plenary is one of the highlights of ASIL’s annual meeting.

This year’s closing plenary’s event will focus on the theme ‘International law needs people: Humanitarian arms control and the peace movement’. The roundtable will be chaired by Arms Control Law professor Thilo Marauhn (Asser Institute/University of Amsterdam). The speakers will examine whether international law and humanitarian arms control efforts could be enhanced through non-legal actors now that there seems to be momentum for a new peace movement.

Nuclear war, whether big or small, would have disastrous consequences for humankind. Nuclear arms control is crucial – not least in light of the humanitarian consequences. Given the failure of nuclear weapon states to implement Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), NGOs and governments of non-nuclear weapon states pushed for the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
Civil society has played a decisive role in bringing this treaty about – even though both nuclear weapon states and the majority of related states abstained from the negotiations. While the relationship between the NPT and the TPNW includes complex challenges, the movement is building on efforts by civil society, epistemic communities, and the general public to work towards humanitarian arms control. There is momentum for a new peace movement that challenges government and expert ownership of international law and can build on earlier experiences with Bertha von Suttner and the Hague Peace Conferences at the end of the 19th century, and the American Society of International Law’s own roots in the late 19th Century American peace movement. Is there both a need and the opportunity to enhance international law and increase law-making and implementation by leveraging these non-legal actors? Experts from diplomacy, civil society groups, and academia will discuss this challenging topic.

Speakers closing plenary
The roundtable ‘International law needs people: Humanitarian arms control and the peace movement’ is convened by Prof. Janne Nijman (Asser Institute). 

  • Chair: Thilo Marauhn, Professor of Arms Control Law, Asser Institute
  • Jody Williams, Peace Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner 1997 for her work to ban landmines through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines;
  • Emma Verhoeff, Deputy Head Political Department at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the United States;
  • Jeffrey Pryce, non-resident fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute and Professorial Lecturer at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

When: Saturday, April 9 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (EST)
Where: Washington DC (in-person) and online
Register & more information: here.

The closing plenary is sponsored by the Municipality of The Hague, the Embassy of the Netherlands to the United States and convened by the T.M.C. Asser Institute.