TASK: You are an analyst working in an international NGO that conducts independent research into issues of international law. You have been asked to prepare an analysis on one of the specific cases below. This will take the form of a report that is targeted at policy-makers, practitioners working in the field, and academics who are interested in the case at hand. There are a number of things your analysis must contain:
1. Your report must outline the context in which you’re considering the issue, including the relevant international legal and normative frameworks, relevant historical context, and the international political context.
2. It must consider the major actors and interests involved in the issue. This involves identifying key states and their roles in relevant international processes, as well as exploring the role international organisations, both intergovernmental and non-governmental, play in relation to the issue at hand. La Trobe University 11
3. You must provide an analysis of what the current ‘state of affairs’ is in relation to the aspect of international law that you’re considering. What are the important things the reader must know about what is currently going on in relation to your specific topic? What are the major challenges and critiques facing the legal frameworks / organisations / institutional bodies at hand in terms of the development or implementation of the law at hand? How effectively are they achieving the ends they were designed to achieve? And to what extent are states supporting the development of international law and international organisations in this arena?
4. You must discuss the prospects for the future in relation to the case at hand. This involves providing recommendations about how the key actors can address the challenges and obstacles you’ve identified. You should outline the goals you recommend they work towards, in the context of your earlier analysis.
• The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
• The Responsibility to Protect doctrine
• The International Criminal Court
• The African Union and its moves towards developing an African Criminal Court
• The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
• The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
• The 1951 Refugee Convention
• Your own choice (must be approved by Dr. Westendorf before submission, and must be relevant to the subject)
Please remember that this is an analytical task – you cannot just provide a description of the history of the case you’ve chosen. Also remember that your job is to provide an analysis of the current state of affairs, so avoid focusing too heavily on the historical narrative. The four elements of the task will be weighted equally, however they will not necessarily require the same amount of words. It is up to you how you choose to organise your report – remember that it is not an academic essay, but rather an analytical report intended to inform relevant policy-makers and practitioners involved in the field you’re examining.