"Rule of law in international relations on the basis of the UN Charter" — International round table discussion in MGIMO University

21 October 2021

On October 21, the Editorial Board of the Moscow Journal of International Law and the Department of International Law of MGIMO University held the international “round table” discussion which was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of this journal. The scientific meeting gathered editors-in-chief of a number of Russian and foreign journals of international law, and also scholars specializing in the international legal research as well as some diplomats working in the legal departments of Ministries.

The agenda of the academic discussion was the "Rule of law in international relations on the basis of the UN Charter." William Butler, Editor of the “Journal of International Legal History”, professor of Pennsylvania State University, and Alexander Vylegzhanin, Editor-in-chief of the “Moscow Journal of International Law”, professor of MGIMO University, moderated the meeting.

Andrey Baykov, Vice-rector of the MGIMO University, welcomed the participants of the “round table” on behalf of the Rector of MGIMO University Anatoly Torkunov, President of the Editorial Council of the Moscow Journal of International Law.

Eyal Benvenisti, co-editor of the British Yearbook of International Law, honorary editor of Cambridge Journal of International Law, Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, made a key presentation for the discussion. The key speaker highlighted the importance of the rule of law in modern international relations with reference to the relevant documents and history of international law. The context of modern practice of intergovernmental organizations and of the International Court of Justice was specifically considered. From the deep academic perspective, the key speaker underlined the need to increase the smart contribution of states as well as international organizations in strengthening the rule of law in international relations. According to the speaker, in particular, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic collaboration of states through World Health Organization should contribute more to the equitable access of all nations to the best available scientific achievements.

Maria Zabolotskaya, Deputy Director of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia noted, in particular, that on a world stage Russia has always consistently emphasized its commitment to the rule of international law on the basis of the UN Charter.

The discussion received both valuable contributions and thought-provoking questions from Lauri Mälksoo (Co-editor of the “Baltic Yearbook of International Law”); Paul Berkman (Professor of the Harvard University and UNITAR and MGIMO); Karen Scott (Editor-in-chief of the “Ocean Development & International Law Journal”), Karl Stychin (director of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies), Alexandre Guerreiro (lecturer of the University of Lisbon School of Law).

As the moderators concluded, the participants of the international round table discussed certainly not all modern urgent questions of theory and practice of international law, but this exchange of legal opinions on such a vital topic was very timely and constructive. It once again demonstrated the important role of “the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations”, using the words of the UN Charter. What is also remarkable is that practically all speakers emphasized the need to focus on common interests to preserve the international legal order based on the UN Charter in the current challenges. Another conclusion of the moderators was that such international discussions are for the benefit of all countries because they are feeding informed decision-making for international legal policies of states across all continents.

Department of International Law, MGIMO University