A. Rachovitsa, PhD
My research interests lie in the area of public international law and international human rights law. I have a broad research lens. I explore the role of international law, including its relevance, applicability and suitability, in grasping and addressing effectively global and/or new concerns. Questions of fragmentation and integration of international law and how we frame a matter in connection to different bodies of law go to the heart of my inquiry. I pursue my research in two different, but partly converging, strands. In the first strand I write on the potential, and limitation of, interpretation and systemic integration as arguments used in international dispute settlement to mitigate fragmentation of international law. The second strand of my research deals with the relevance and suitability of international law to articulate concepts in cyberspace (e.g. cybersecurity, human rights) and accordingly regulate interests online. In this context, my research focuses on how Internet governance informal bodies engage with international law. I publish on how the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) creates international law-like standards to assess the legality and legitimacy of its work in the domain names’ space. I also write on how the Internet Research Task Force, an informal body of computer engineers who manage the Internet’s infrastructure, uses international human rights law to inform Internet standards and Internet protocols. My work discusses whether and, if yes, how human rights frameworks can be accommodated/integrated when designing technology and the Internet’s technical infrastructure (“human rights by design”).
RESEARCH STRAND 1: The potential and limitations of interpretation to mitigate aspects of fragmentation of international law
This project concerns the mitigation of the difficulties arising from fragmentation of international law via interpretation as well as the potential of international justice to grasp and address effectively global concerns.
- Rachovitsa, “Fragmentation or Unity of Public International Law” Revisited: Analysing the European Convention on Human Rights when the European Court Takes Cognisance of Public International Law Norms (2013, School of Law University of Nottingham) [open access].
- Rachovitsa, ‘The Principle of Systemic Integration in Human Rights Law’ International & Comparative Law Quarterly (forthcoming 2017) [open access - Final Author’s version].
- Rachovitsa, ‘Treaty Clauses and Fragmentation of International Law: Applying the More Favourable Protection Clause in Human Rights Treaties’ (2016) 16 Human Rights Law Review 77-101 [requires access to OUP].
- Rachovitsa, ‘Fragmentation of International Law Revisited: Insights, Good Practices and Lessons to be Learned from the Case-Law of the European Court of Human Rights’ (2015) 28 Leiden Journal of International Law 863-885 [requires access to CUP].
- Rachovitsa, ‘Book Review: The Reception of International Law in the European Court of Human Rights (M. Forowicz)’ (2011) 11 Human Rights Law Review 795-799 [open access].
- “I Move Things Around Until They Look Right”: Methodological and Policy Concerns on Human Rights’ Integration, International Conference on ‘The Global Challenge of Human Rights Integration: Towards a Users’ Perspective’ (Dec 2015, Ghent, Belgium).
- Taking a Step Forward: Applying Comparative Methodology in International Law, 50th Anniversary Conference of the Québec Society of Comparative Law (Oct 2011, Québec, Canada).
RESEARCH STRAND 2: CYBERSPACE & INTERNATIONAL LAW
CASE STUDY on the Internet's Technical Infrastructure and Human Rights (with emphasis on privacy online)
Research Start –up Grant, Qatar University (2015) (£6,800)
The grant was awarded to research the protection of privacy online from a legal and technical point of view. The aim was to highlight a series of reasons for which policy-makers should value privacy online.
Participant to the Research Group on Human Rights Protocols Considerations, Internet Research Task Force (May 15 - present). The Group is set up to draft guidelines to be considered by the engineering community when creating and updating Internet standards.
2015-2016 Research Fellow at UC Berkeley - Centre for Technology, Society & Policy
Project on ‘Coding Values in the Internet’s Standards? The Example of Encryption’
A. Rachovitsa, ‘Rethinking Privacy Online and Human Rights: The Internet’s Standardisation Bodies as the Guardians of Privacy Online in the Face of Mass Surveillance’ [open access], European Society of International Law, C. Binder et al (eds.), Conference Paper Series Vol. 7, Conference Paper No. 5/2016 (2016 ESIL Research Forum - Istanbul).
- Invited remote participation to present the paper at IETF 98 (Mar 2017, Chicago, USA).
- Highlighted by the organization Article 19 for its contribution to the IETF’s ongoing work.
- Invited participation at the workshop on 'Decision-making in standard developing organisations for the Internet' organised by the University of Exeter, the University of Salford, the University of Warwick (Apr 2017, Brussels, Belgium).
A. Rachovitsa, ‘Engineering and Lawyering Privacy by Design: Understanding Online Privacy both as a Technical and an International Human Rights Issue in the Face of Mass Surveillance’ (2016) 24 International Journal of Law & Information Technology 374-399 [open access].
- Featured as one of the most informative and interesting articles for 2016’s cybersecurity month by the OUP blog.
- Informed, and referenced by, the Internet Engineering Task Force’s standardisation work.
- Highlighted by Considerati - a law & public affairs consultancy firm on privacy in The Netherlands.
- “Legislation” by Technology while International Law Looks Away?: The Internet Standardisation Bodies as Guardians of Online Privacy, ESIL Research Forum – ‘The Making of International Law’, Koç University (Apr 2016, Istanbul, Turkey).
- Informal International Law-making and Privacy by Design, Amsterdam Privacy Conference – APC 2015 (Oct 2015, Amsterdam, The Netherlands).
CASE STUDY on ICANN & International Law
A. Rachovitsa, ‘International Law and the Global Public Interest - ICANN’s Independent Objector as a Mechanism of Responsive Global Governance’, in J. Summers (ed.), Non-State Actors and Changing Relations in International Law (Martinus Nijhoff, forthcoming 2017) [open access].
A. Rachovitsa, ‘General Principles of Public Order and Morality and the Domain Name System: Whither International Law?’ (2016) 63 Netherlands International Law Review 23-49 [requires access].
- Is ICANN Using Public International Law as a Panacea for Internet Governance Issues?, ILA British Branch Spring Conference 2016 (Apr 2016, Lancaster, United Kingdom).
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