Groups Contact Information

The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights
Faculty of Law
P.O. BOX 4
Tel: +358 (0)29 4123140



First Meeting of the Working Group in Helsinki
Second Meeting of the Working Group in Rome

International law’s relation to religion is usually conceived through a familiar narrative of secularization, the emancipation of legal thought and institutions from the shackles of religion, especially Roman Catholicism. The present research, however, focuses on the persistence of religious influences and a sensibility of faith in modern international law, from the Peace of Westphalia, the claimed origin of a secular law among sovereign States, to the 21st century. This leads us, on the one hand, to a study of the persistence of Christian themes and metaphors in ostensibly "secular" legal thought and institutions. To what extent, for example, may ideas about sovereign power, human rights or peace transmit or express Christian notions of political community or virtuous life? Might such legal institutions as freedom of trade or humanitarian intervention reflect religious sensibilities about right and duty?

On the other hand, we shall also trace the role that religious ideas have played in the development of international law specifically in the 20th century. What, for instance, has been the role of major world religions in the developments of international human rights law or ideas about pacific settlement and justified violence? In sum, the idea is to examine religion not as it is conventionally done as in a relevant sense "over" and meaningful only as part of the past of legal thought, but as a live aspect of the content and operation of international legal notions in the present. While much of the attention will be on the influence of religion in the formation of international legal thought, the point is to show its continuous, live influence today.

Group Coordinators:

Mónica García-Salmones Rovira (monica.garcia(at), Postdoctoral Researcher
Paolo Amorosa (paolo.amorosa(at), Doctoral Student

Group Members:

Pasquale Annicchino, European University Institute
Abdelmalek El Ouazzani, Université Cadi Ayyad 
Paul W Kahn, Yale
David Kennedy, Harvard
Mary M Keys, Notre Dame
Sarah Mortimer, Christ Church, Oxford
Michele Nicoletti, Trento
Janne Nijman, Amsterdam
Elena Paris, Bucharest
Reut Paz, Humboldt-Universität
Ileana Porras, Miami
Andrew Preston, Cambridge
Fatiha Sahli, Université Cadi Ayyad
Pamela Slotte, Helsinki / ECI
Immi Tallgren, Helsinki / ECI
Pia Valenzuela, Ljubljana
Marco Ventura, Leuven
Moussa Abou Ramadan, Strasbourg
Nahed Samour, Humboldt University, Berlin