UP law alumna’s book on human rights in the fight against terrorism, based on thesis, wins prestigious international prize

Posted on March 23, 2020

A book by a University of Pretoria (UP) Faculty of Law alumna, titled Peremptory Norms of General International Law (Jus Cogens) and the Prohibition of Terrorism, has been selected as the winner of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Francis Lieber Prize for best book in the law of armed conflict.

The book is based on Aniel Caro de Beer’s doctoral thesis completed in 2018 and prepared under supervision of member of the International Law Commission Professor Dire Tladi at UP’s Department of Public Law and Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa.

“It is a great honour to receive this award,” said De Beer about the prestigious prize.

“I am especially pleased that a topic which lies close to my heart, namely, the recognition of the importance of jus cogens norms, the need to protect human rights while countering terrorism and the interaction between the prohibition of terrorism and other norms of jus cogens, was of interest to the ASIL.”

De Beer thanked her “inspiring” supervisor Prof Tladi, who is also the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Peremptory Norms of General International Law (Jus Cogens).

“While recognising the concern for the human condition that informs jus cogens norms and relevant normative arguments, he was always careful to ensure that my thesis made a doctrinal argument and adopts a rigorous approach to the subject matter, informed by a solid basis and detailed analysis grounded in the sources of international law.

“While he gave me outstanding guidance and support, he at the same time respected and gave me the freedom to pursue my own ideas, which ultimately led to an exploration of the interaction between jus cogens norms and the prohibition of terrorism, and the book,” De Beer said.

De Beer is currently Research Associate to the South African Research Chair in International Law at the University of Johannesburg.

She said she was passionate about international law, research and, in particular, teaching. “I am working towards a more permanent footing in academia.

She is also working on building up her international profile by publishing articles internationally, in particular on the areas of terrorism, the use of force (including the use of force in response to cyberterrorism), international air, space and telecommunications law and international criminal law, she said.

"I would like to thank Professor Tladi again for involving me in the work of the International Law Commission on Jus Cogens, including attendance of a meeting in Geneva, and the University of Pretoria for providing such excellent postgraduate education during both my master's degree in international air, space and telecommunications law and my doctorate,” said De Beer. 

- Author Elzet Hurter

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