Dr. Anja Matijkiw: A U.S. Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Public International Law

Dr. Anja Matwijkiw is, between 2019-2020, a candidate for the U.S. Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Public International Law. It is an award involving that Dr. Matwijkiw carries out research (80% of her time) and teaches (20% of her time), connected to the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human rights and Humanitarian Law and Lund University Faculty of Law.

Dr. Matwijkiw’s research project is called ‘A Dual-Aspect Theory of Life, Freedom and Security: Ethics-Integration, Human Rights and Rule of Law’. During the course of this research, the intention is to:

  • Provide philosophical modes of interpretation that facilitate a critical appraisal of foundational issues which involve contested terms, such as “needs”, “correlative duties”, and “stakeholders”.
  • Engage in interdisciplinary human rights discourse that spans ethics, politics (e.g., democracy), and law.
  • Explore various theoretical frameworks, more precisely, recent trends in legal doctrine from the United States, that accommodate ethical aspects in Public International Law (PIL).

    Here, I look at the role of values and so-called credentials-checking, that is, questions about what constitutes the conditions for status as (basic human) rights in the first instance.

  • Make general jurisprudence recommendations for modern state performance that rely on human rights as a rule of law prerequisite and which commit policymakers to a dual-aspect (value) practice.

As a researcher, Dr. Matwijkiw aims to provide the human rights discourse with general (rights theory) and basic (human rights) norms. She can provide uniquely specialized perspectives on a wide range of topics and themes, which concern talk about stakeholders, including vulnerable ones, such as women, refugees, and the poor.

Among other things, I wish to contribute to work in the areas of transitional or post-conflict justice. In my own case, I use Bahrain as a country-specific case.

The research project: A good match with RWI Programs

Dr. Matijkiw feels that her research project fits well with the type of activities and initiatives that are pursued by the majority of the programs at The Raoul Wallenberg Institute (e.g., Fair and Efficient Justice Center at Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

Since my project incorporates a number of different stakeholder perspectives – all of which originate in business management theory [“A Dual-Aspect Theory of Life, Freedom and Security: Ethics-Integration, Human Rights and Rule of Law”] there is also a overlap with the Institute’s Economic Globalization and Human Rights Center.

Other than that, says Dr. Matwijkiw, her research concerns what the “father of modern international criminal law” Mr. Cherif Bassiouni calls “deep theory”. This means, the kind of almost archeological analysis that digs so deep as to uncover the meta-aspects of law as an empirical phenomenon.

And, this is relevant for all RWI programs. They are all about human rights and a deep understanding can be a benefit in discussions.

Hopes to inspire to collaboration 

While carrying out her research at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Dr. Matwijkiw hopes to inspire to collaboration with researchers on the basis of the ‘not-so-common constellation of interdisciplinary work’ that she pursues, in particular in regard to legal philosophy and ethics.

Deep theory analysis of human rights that are so basic as to qualify as unifiers in PIL (meaning that the relevant basic human rights permeate all branches, including international criminal law (ICL) and jus cogens norms), ultimately, have this status because they come with humanist values.

This is a point made by the so called “father of modern international criminal law” M. Cherif Bassiouni; a famous figure from international law. I agree. Also, I believe that the area of values, philosophy and ethics is under-researched. My work tries to bridge that gap.

The problem is though, she says, while most human rights experts and scholars readily accept that values play a role, their analysis typically do not reach the foundational (deep theory) level where, for example, the logical correlativity thesis is said to apply, nor do they endeavor to experiment with competing types of conceptualizations to, in effect, distill the essence of the meaning of human rights as concepts.

If “new ground” can be broken here, the subtle and very difficult discussion about logical as opposed to the ideological aspects of human rights may become more clear, and clarity is first and foremost what I am after.

Results and findings: 

Dr. Matwijkiw’s Fulbright research project, “A Dual-Aspect Theory of Life, Freedom and Security: Ethics-Integration, Human Rights and Rule of Law” attempts to provide answers to the deep theory questions and indeed challenges and obstacles to human rights interpretation that the correlativity thesis as well as the incommensurability thesis and the separation thesis pose. These are yet other (archeological) layers that have to be addressed.

Articles and teaching 

Dr. Matwijkiw’s will publish two articles. One of these will become a chapter in a monograph entitled ‘Stakeholder Philosophy, Activist Jurisprudence and Post-Conflict Justice: The Case of Bahrain’.

She will also teach one course for the Lund University Law Faculty’s LLM/ Master’s of Laws in International Human Rights Law.

The course, “Ethics and Human Rights Doctrine” enables me to introduce some of the recent general jurisprudence trends from the United States, such as M. Cherif Bassiouni’s Mixed Approach, (the Integrative Approach), the American Legal Process Theory, and Stakeholder Jurisprudence, which I pioneered and developed over the last decade as an integrative doctrine concerning law and ethics.

Her research and teaching focuses attention on the values that underpin international human rights norms and principles, with a view to general jurisprudence research in the area of public international law (PIL), first and foremost international criminal law (ICL).

In particular, I have almost twenty years of experience, professional expertise, service on editorial boards for leading law journals and yearbooks, and publications on philosophical, political, and ethical dimensions of so-called jus cogens norms, including specialized knowledge of the basic human rights that are at stake in the event of violations, for example, life, freedom and security. These values, so I intend to argue in my proposed project, are of a dual-aspect nature.


Outputs: U.S. Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Public International Law
Edited Journal Volumes

  • International Criminal Law (ICL), International Criminal Justice (ICJ), and Public
  • International Law (PIL): The Demarcation Debate, special issue of International
  • Criminal Law Review, Brill/Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden, the Netherlands, 2019 (online) and 2020 (forthcoming hardcopy).
  • The “Burqa Ban” – Interdisciplinary Perspectives on International Law &
  • International Relations, approved as a special issue in International Studies Journal
  • (Int’l Stud. J.) (co-editor with Mehdi Zakerian, Henrik Palmer Olsen, and Bronik Matwijkiw),Tehran, Iran, 2019.

Anja Matwijkiw & Anna Oriolo (eds.), The Legal Burqa Ban Trend: Criminalizing the Trivial or Separating National and International Law? (submission for Intersentia)

*Note for burqa ban: Work on the so-called burqa ban is a continuation of a number of past activities I have been engaged in and which have demonstrated the importance of engaging in interdisciplinary and critical analysis of law at the national and international levels. For example, France introduced a legal burqa ban in 2010 and this was upheld in a 2014 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), dismissing arguments that it violated religious freedom. However, this was contradicted in 2018 when the United Nations Human Rights Committee found that a French law banning full-face veils in public violates the religious freedom rights of Muslim women. Other countries which disproportionally targets the minority of Muslim women are DENMARK (Austria, the Netherlands, and Belgium…), the country I was born in and left because of its intolerance towards so-called “Danes with a different ethnic background”. Ghettoes and marginalization and various forms of indirect discrimination go hand in hand there… and the burqa ban is one of the manifestations of the not-so-tolerant attitude.

“The Burqa Ban”: Legal Precursors for Denmark, American Experiences and Experiments, and Philosophical and Critical Examinations, 15/1 International Studies Journal (Int’l Stud. J) (co-authored) 157-206 (abstract at VIII-IX) (Mehdi Zakerian ed., Tehran, Iran, 2018).

The 2018 Danish “Burqa Ban”: Joining a European Trend and Sending a National Message, 15/1 International Studies Journal (co-authored) 55-80 (abstract at III-IV) (Mehdi Zakerian ed., Tehran, Iran, 2018).

International Relations Begin at Home: A Humanitarian Learning Lesson from the Kingdom of Denmark, forthcoming in International Studies Journal (co-authored) (Mehdi Zakerian ed., Tehran, Iran, 2018).

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