Professor Mälksoo explores the colonialist legacy of the Russian international lawyer F.F. Martens (1845-1909) who is well known to contemporary international lawyers in particular thanks to the Martens Clause. The talk highlights Martens’s activities legitimizing the Congo Free State, his publicist activity at the Revue de droit international et de legislation comparée and his quasi-legislative efforts at the Institut de Droit International, all emanating from his strong support to the distinction between civilized and uncivilized peoples in international law during the colonial era. Professor Mälksoo argues that the colonialist part of the legacy of Martens has been downplayed for the purposes of celebratory myths of origin of international (humanitarian) law, but that this part of his legacy deserves to be remembered as well.
About the Speaker:
Lauri Mälksoo is Professor of International Law at the University of Tartu in Estonia. He is a member of the Institut de Droit International, and an author of “Russian Approaches to International Law” (Oxford, 2015) and “Illegal Annexation and State Continuity” (2nd. ed. open access, Brill, 2022).
The Law Society of Hong Kong has awarded this seminar 1 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) point.