The panel discusses the codification of customary international human rights law and the role of this body of law for international litigation.

Operationalising Customary International Human Rights Law text



  • Prof. William A. Schabas, Middlesex University
  • Prof. Hélène Tigroudja, Université d'Aix-Marseille
  • Dr. Amina Adanan, Maynooth University


Dr. Marco Longobardo, University of Westminster


On the occasion of the publication of William Schabas’ book on The Customary International Law of Human Rights (OUP, June 2021), this panel discusses the codification of customary international human rights law. The speakers address the theoretical challenges at the basis customary international human rights law, its relationship with international human rights law treaties, and the role that customary international human rights could play before international courts and quasi-judicial bodies.

About the speakers

William A. Schabas

William A. Schabas is professor of international law at Middlesex University in London, emeritus professor of international criminal law and human rights at Leiden University (as of 19 May 2021) and distinguished visiting faculty at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po. He is professor emeritus at the National University of Ireland Galway and honorary chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. He is the author of more than twenty books in the fields of human rights and international criminal law, his most recent being The Customary International Law of Human Rights to be published in June 2021 by Oxford University Press and the published version of the course he delivered at the Hague Academy in January 2021 entitled Relationships between International Criminal Law and Other Branches of Public International Law. Professor Schabas prepared the quinquennial reports on the death penalty for the United Nations Secretary-General in 2020, 2015 and 2010. He was a member of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Professor Schabas is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Royal Irish Academy, a laureate of the Vespasian Pella Medal, and he holds several honorary doctorates.

Hélène Tigroudja

Hélène Tigroudja is Law Professor at Aix-Marseille University (France), Co-Director of the Law School’s Master Program of International Law, Director of the Summer School on Practice of Human Rights and Expert on reparations before the International Criminal Court. She is the co-author with Prof. Ludovic Hennebel of a treatise in international human rights law published in French (Pedone, Paris) in 2016. Hélène has conducted research and taught in various universities such as Science Po Law School (Paris), Ecole Nationale de l’administration (Paris), Brussels University, Abomey-Calavi University (Cotonou, Benin), Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Universidad Catolica de Buenos Aires, and she has been a visiting professional at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. In 2014, she was appointed by The Hague Academy of International Law (The Netherlands) to co-lead the Center for International Research and Studies dedicated to ‘Women’s Rights and Elimination of Discrimination’ and edited a volume on this issue with her colleague Professor Dr. Maarit Jänterä-Jareborg (Brill Publishers, 2016). Her focus in teaching and research ranges from international law, European law, international human rights law, international criminal law, and international migration law, with a special focus on comparative approaches of regional and universal human rights mechanisms; States’ and International Organizations’ immunities; States’ responsibility for wrongful acts; law of armed conflicts; domestic implementation of international legal obligations and EU’s fight against terrorism. Since 2002 she has acted regularly as an expert for the Council of Europe (implementation of the ECHR; protection of Internally Displaced Persons; freedom of religion and protection of religious minorities; improvement of domestic judicial institutions; protection of migrants); the United Nations (UNODC programs on fight against terrorism) and the European Union (esp. on international humanitarian law and on domestic judicial system of States’ candidates to the integration to EU). Hélène is also Faculty Director of the Legal Clinic Aix Global Justice focusing on international human rights law.

Dr Amina Adanan

Dr Amina Adanan is Lecturer in Law in Maynooth University Law Department in Ireland. In 2018, Amina was awarded a PhD in human rights from the Irish Centre for Human Rights in NUI Galway for her thesis, ‘Allies and Enemies, past and present: An analysis of the rationale for the development of universal jurisdiction over serious crimes under international law’. Dr. Adanan’s research interests lie in the areas of International Law, International Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law. In particular, Amina researches on the prosecution of atrocity crimes at a domestic and international level and the history of international law and she publishes in these areas. Recently, Amina was awarded the Royal Irish Academy’s Charlemont Grant 2021 for a project on the United Nations War Crimes Commission. She teaches International Criminal Law, Fundamental Rights in Ireland and Irish Property Law.

Marco Longobardo (PhD)

Marco Longobardo (PhD) is a Lecturer in International Law at the University of Westminster, where he teaches public international law, international human rights law, international criminal law, and other related subjects. He has undertaken his doctoral studies at the Sapienza University of Rome and previously lectured at the University of Messina and in the context of international humanitarian law courses for the personnel of the Italian armed forces. He has published extensively on public international law issues, and he is the author of The Use of Armed Force in Occupied Territory (CUP 2018). His scholarship has been cited widely, particularly by the UN International Law Commission and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. He works as consultant for governmental and non-governmental organisations.