UP Law academic appointed to international pandemic commission

Posted on April 20, 2020

PRETORIA: A University of Pretoria (UP) Law academic has been appointed to serve on the Geneva-based Institut de Droit International’s (IDI) Commission on Pandemics and International Law.

Professor Dire Tladi of the UP Faculty of Law’s Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and Department of Public Law was appointed to serve on the commission and joins other leading international lawyers such as former President of the International Criminal Tribunal Theodore Meron and Judge of the International Court of Justice Xue Hanqin.

The Institut de Droit International is an organisation devoted to the study and development of international law, whose membership comprises some of the world's leading public international lawyers. It was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1904.

Prof Tladi has been a member of the IDI since 2017. He said he is humbled by the opportunity to serve on the commission, and hopes that he will be able to contribute meaningfully to its work. Professor Tladi has worked on previous codification exercises, in particular for the UN International Law Commission where he serves as Special Rapporteur for peremptory norms of international law (jus cogens).

“I am honoured. There are some really excellent international lawyers on the Commission, and I hope to make my little contribution to what is an important topic,” Prof Tladi said. “The Commission will be responsible for preparing draft articles for the IDI. As a member of the Commission, I hope to use my experience and knowledge to contribute to drafting suggestions, proposals as well as legal positions for the draft articles and commentaries.”

He further explained that he accepted the invitation to join the IDI Commission not only because of the immediacy of the pandemic but also because it concerns important issues of international law which have not received sufficient attention. The commission is yet to meet to set out its terms, but he believes there are a number of issues that should be on the Commission’s radar.

“The Commission will only just begin its work and we still have to discuss our focus areas. My own sense is that there are a number of areas of international law that require clarification.” He highlighted the following:

(i) The duty to cooperate: what are the contours of the duty to cooperate in the context of pandemics? Is there a duty to share information when there is local outbreak in order to prevent global outbreaks; is there a duty to provide access; is there a duty to provide assistance in the form of resources?

(ii) Questions of state responsibility: For example, can states be held responsible for consequences of outbreaks in certain circumstances?

(iii) Immigration issues: What are the rules concerning expulsion of non-nationals?

(iv) The applicability of human rights standards in cases of lockdowns.

Professor Elsabe Schoeman, Dean of the Faculty of Law, said, “We are proud to have staff members like Professor Dire as part of the UP Law family. His work on International Law has been exemplary. I wish to congratulate him on his appointment to the Commission and wish him well on his work with it.”

To learn more about the work of the IDI visit: https://www.idi-iil.org/en/pays/afrique-du-sud/

- Author UP Law

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