skip to content

12. International Students Seminar

03.11.2015 - 06.11.2015

“Human Rights vs. National Security – Should Freedom be Restricted to Safeguard Freedom?”

 The Institute of Eastern European Law and Comparative Law of the University of Cologne wants to thank all participants of the 12th International Students Seminar for their great contributions during the seminar in Cologne. It was our honor to conduct such a remarkable conference.

The Book of Abstracts of the Seminar is available here.

Report of the Seminar

A report of the International Students Seminar was published in the annual report of the Faculty of Law of the University of Cologne. It is also available here (in German only).

Introduction

“Human Rights vs. National Security – Should Freedom be Restricted to Safeguard Freedom?”

Program of the Seminar:

The Institute of Eastern European Law and Comparative Law of the University of Cologne (Germany) is honored to host the 12th edition of the International Students Seminar from 3rd to 7th of November, 2015.  

The Seminar is part of an international joint series consisting of the Universities of Pécs (Hungary), Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania), Łódź (Poland), Moscow (Russia), Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) and the University of Cologne. With a rotating venue it takes place annually in one of the participating nations.

Since its first event in 2004 the International Students Seminar has had a very fertile development. From a rather small binational seminar between the Universities of Łódź and the University of Cologne the event has made its way to a seven nation conference running three days. While in 2006 the original binational seminar was extended with the participation of the Universities of Pécs and Vilnius, the Higher School of Economics from Moscow joined in 2012. Two years later in 2014 the University of Dar-es-Salaam found its way into the group of regularly participating universities, whereas the University of Riga has its first appearance in this year’s meeting. The steadily growing connection between the contributing universities and integration of new participants within this cooperation is a clear expression of the success of former events and the overall seminar series. The aim of the Internationals Students Seminar is to create a platform for a dialogue between advanced law students and PhD candidates, who are interested in constitutional, international and European law. The involved parties are coming together from countries with diverse historical and political experiences and of different sizes. The participants are to a large extent not only connected by the Central European legal heritage, but also through membership in regional communities (i.e. the European Union, the Eurasian Economic Union and the East African Community). Each seminar is about to focus on the different national perspectives on a current constitutional law or international law topic that is of interest in the participating countries. The conference tries to reflect on whether there are a common values or at least a common sensibility for the specific topics. 

The main topic of the 12th International Students Seminar will be the question of: 

“Human Rights vs. National Security – Should Freedom be Restricted to Safeguard Freedom?” 

The intention of this year’s topic is to take a closer look at the tensions that affect current world events and look especially where the conflict between freedoms of people and the need for public safety and operability of state is emerging. The relationship between people and state jurisdiction encompasses different aspects: the participation in public life, the duties of the individual towards state and society to which it belongs, the freedoms of the people against infringements by state, but also the right to demand positive benefits from the state. 

Strength and power of a state is measured by how effectively it responds to threats and whether it can avert the danger of attacks, but also by how effective it protects citizens' from itself. For states that claim to be obeying the rule of law and are constitutional states in an international community, defensive or offensive measures in the interests of national security, whether in criminal, military, or in the political sphere, must always be carefully balanced against constitutional law, common law and international law. While defending the security interest of the state, the observance of international human rights and constitutional fundamental rights’ standards, is a balancing act.

However, using the principle of proportionality to bring balance to these tensions is a difficult case by case assessment and also depends on the “higher good” the state tries to defend. Thus, measures taken by the state might seem unjust to an individual person (subjectively), although the proportionality has been respected in legal terms. Yet on the other hand, protecting a "higher objective” for the community does not always justify an infringement of human rights of the individual. Within the scope of the seminar “Human Rights” (within the title) should be understood as Fundamental Rights arising out of constitutions and International Human Rights arising from international treaties such as the ICCPR and the ECHR. “National Security” (within the title) should include national or public security which ensures the protection of citizens, organizations and institutions against threats, but also public order in a sense of collective unwritten rules, of which the observance is considered an essential requirement for an orderly human coexistence within a given area of the prevailing social and ethical society.

Especially in the field of fundamental rights and human rights in terms of defensive rights against infringements by national states but also from a multi- or international perspective, a diversity of practical and interesting topics arise. As the program of the conference illustrates the topic "Human Rights vs. National Security" offers a high complexity and variety of legal questions. These questions will be discussed in a multinational context, against the background of various legal understandings and cultural groups. The exercise of state interventions will be examined on the basis of international law, the regional community law of Europe and the East African Community as well as the national legal systems of the participating states of the seminar.   The international exchange between the participants will provide new insights and help to understand and distinguish the legal understanding and the interests of the participating states of the Seminar.

Information for Students of the University of Cologne

All spots for participants from the University of Cologne are already assigned.

03.11.2015 - 06.11.2015

“Human Rights vs. National Security – Should Freedom be Restricted to Safeguard Freedom?”

The Institute of Eastern European Law and Comparative Law of the University of Cologne is honored to host the 12th edition of the International Students Seminar in Cologne from 3rd to 6th of November, 2015. This year’s main topic will be the question of: “Human Rights vs. National Security – Should Freedom be Restricted to Safeguard Freedom?”

The Seminar is part of an international joint series consisting of the Universities of Lódz (Poland), Pécs (Hungary), Vilnius (Lithuania), Riga (Latvia), Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania), Moscow (Russia) and the University of Cologne. With a rotating venue it takes place annually in one of the participating nations.

About the Seminar

The aim of the International Students Seminar is to create a platform for a dialogue between advanced law students and PhD candidates, who are interested in constitutional, international and European law. The participants are coming from seven countries with diverse historical and political experiences and of different sizes. The participants are to a large extent not only connected by the Central European legal heritage, but also through membership in regional communities (i.e. the European Union, the Eurasian Economic Union and the East African Community). Each seminar is about to focus on the different national perspectives on a current constitutional law or international law main topic that is of interest in the participating countries. The seminar tries to reflect on whether there are common values or at least a common sensibility for the specific topics.

The goal of this year’s seminar is to take a closer look at the tensions that affect current world events and especially look into problems where the conflict between the freedoms of people and the need for public safety and operability of the state is emerging. The relationship between people and state jurisdiction encompasses different aspects: the participation of people in public life, the duties of the individual towards state and society to which it belongs, the freedoms of the people against infringements by state, but also the right to demand positive benefits from the state.

Especially in the field of fundamental rights and human rights in terms of defensive rights against infringements by national states but also from a multi- or international perspective, a diversity of practical and interesting topics arise.

Participation

For participation as member of the Team from the University of Cologne please notice the following information:

The conference language is English. The participants are expected to hold a 15 to 20-minute presentation in English, following a short discussion in the respective panel.

In addition a cultural and accompanying program is part of the seminar. Hence participation in the entire period is expected.

The number of participants from Cologne is restricted to maximum of 6 people. It is up to the participants, to prepare a seminar paper that is graded and discussed. The exact topics will be stipulated on an individual basis with the participants. A preliminary meeting will be held in one of the first weeks of the winter semester. The presentations, which include the most important theses of the presenter, must be submitted in advance. They will be exchanged with one of the other partner universities, which will likewise prepare comments on the presentations. Equally, the team from Cologne will prepare comments on the theses of the participants of one of the other partner universities.

Please note that for participation it is not sufficient to sign in on KLIPS! Due to the few amount of available spots, participants will be selected directly by the Institute of Eastern European Law. If you are interested in participating in this year's seminar, you are most welcome to apply with a brief but concisely email (Samir.FelichSpamProtectionuni-koeln.de), supported by a short CV and your current course of studies.

The following certificates can be obtained:

  • foreign language certificate on the successful participation of a foreign language law course (§ 7 para. 1 no. 3 JAG NRW – “Fremdsprachennachweis”)
  • certification of the successful participation of a key qualifications course (§ 7 para. 4 StudPrO – “Schlüsselqualifikation”)
  • certificate of a PhD-Seminar (§ 3 PromO – Doktorandenseminar)

Contact

Inquiries and questions and are welcome to be directed to Mr. Samir Felich. Contact information: Institute of Eastern European Law and Comparative Law, University of Cologne, Klosterstr 79 d, 50931 Köln, E-Mail: Samir.FelichSpamProtectionuni-koeln.de, Phone: 0221/470 - 5584