In July 2020, the UN Human Rights Committee adopted General Comment No 37 on Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees the right of peaceful assembly. The General Comment provides detailed guidance on the interpretation of the right and addresses as well the scope of the right, the ambit of State obligations, restrictions on the right, the use of technology in respect of protests, and police action during assemblies including surveillance and the use of force. It could not have come at a better time, with 2019 and 2020 witnessing a wave of public protests across the world - for example in Hong Kong, India, USA, Lebanon, Venezuela, Kenya, Belarus, Chile, and Nigeria. In this talk, we are joined by Christof Heyns, a member of the UN Human Rights Committee at the time the General Comment was drafted, to discuss the drafting process as well as what the drafters hoped to achieve and the significance of the General Comment for the right of peaceful assembly. Marko Milanovic will respond to his remarks.
Christof Heyns is a professor of law at the University of Pretoria and a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (2017 – 2020). He is a member of the Working Group of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Death Penalty, Extra-judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings and Enforced Disappearances. He served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions 2010 – 2016. He chaired the UN Independent Investigations on Burundi in 2016. Heyns was the lead author of the UN Human Rights Committee’s General Comment 37 (2020) on the right of peaceful assembly, as well as the UN Human rights guidance on less lethal weapons in law enforcement (2020). He also teaches at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. He has published widely in the field of human rights and is currently developing ‘Database 2020 +’, a programme that will track the impact of the UN human rights treaty system in all UN member states.
Marko Milanovic is Professor of Public International Law at the University of Nottingham School of Law. He obtained his first degree in law from the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law, his LL.M from the University of Michigan Law School, and his PhD in international law from the University of Cambridge. He is co-editor of EJIL: Talk!, the blog of the European Journal of International Law, as well as a member of the EJIL’s Editorial Board, and was formerly Vice-President and member of the Executive Board of the European Society of International Law. He held visiting professorships at Michigan Law School, Columbia Law School, Deakin Law School, and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. He is an Associate of the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and was Law Clerk to Judge Thomas Buergenthal of the International Court of Justice in 2006/2007. He has published in leading academic journals, including the European Journal of International Law and the American Journal of International Law; his work has been cited, inter alia, by judges of the European Court of Human Rights, the UK Supreme Court, and the High Court of England and Wales, as well as by the International Law Commission. He was counsel or advisor in cases before the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, and the Constitutional Court of Serbia.
This event forms a part of the repertoire of International Events Around the Moot for the participants, judges and coaches of the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition 2020/21. Please remember to register in order to access the event.