Nine years ago, over a pleasant lunch in Paris, Loretta Malintoppi offered that I replace her as Managing Editor of The Law and Practice of International Courts and Tribunals. Explain it by the quality of Parisian food (or Loretta’s strength of conviction), it did not take me long to accept. The gift soon revealed itself as a demanding, and sometimes challenging, experience. It was, however, a genuine and beautiful gift. I have enjoyed every part of it, first as Managing Editor of the Journal and – since my mentor in these functions, Eduardo Valencia-Ospina, decided to step down in 2017 – as its Editor-in-Chief. Given my new responsibilities within the International Law Association and other academic and professional commitments, I have come to the conclusion that the time was ripe for me to resign from all functions with the Journal and leave way for younger and talented colleagues.
Before quietly closing the door, I wish humbly to reflect on this outstanding experience and express much-deserved words of gratitude to a few individuals.
Much to the credit of the founder of the Journal, Shabtai Rosenne, and its first Editor-in-Chief, Eduardo Valencia-Ospina, The Law and Practice of International Courts and Tribunals had already gained a strong reputation in the literature on international law when I joined it. In an always more competitive environment, it has maintained its position and gradually expanded its areas of interest. Editing a journal meeting the highest academic standards is not always an easy task. Much depends on the quality of the submissions received, which are themselves prompted by the credibility which the title already enjoys. As I perceive it now, the role of the Editor-in-Chief is less that of a leader than that of a first supporter: maintaining the identity of the Journal in its combination of theoretical and practical approaches to international judicial life, on the one hand, and purporting to develop and improve our common vision of the, somewhat secret, world of international courts and tribunals, on the other. Publishing regular columns – on the procedure and case law of the International Court of Justice (Fernando L. Bordin), the International Criminal Court (Guillaume Le Floch, Marie Lemey and Lucie Paiola) and investor-State arbitration (Julien Fouret and Dany Khayat) – has proven to be a constant challenge, but also a precious asset, which we should probably cultivate. The same certainly holds true of Special Issues, which have become a distinctive feature of LPICT. At the same time, it is my sincerest hope that the Journal will continue exploring the practice of new courts and tribunals and resist the temptation to focus only on “trendy” tribunals.
More significantly perhaps, I wish that our pages be even more open to a greater diversity of authors – practitioners and academics, senior and more junior experts, women and men coming from different places and sharing the conviction that, in these very tense times of unilateralism, isolationism and mistrust, international law remains our common language.
The present issue goes beyond my expectations in that regard: the interview offered by President Yusuf is an outstanding testimony of the centrality of the World Court. The article by Ms. Callista Harris, winner of the first Rosalyn Higgins Prize, is a highly talented demonstration of the interest attaching to a fresh perspective on international law. The Special Issue directed by my dear friend Chiara Giorgetti, our former Managing Editor, shows that the Journal is also a virtual family, in which the three authors of the ICC column hold a distinctive place.
The table of contents of Volume 18.3 thus makes me more than happy. It amply demonstrates that Professor Freya Baetens (PluriCourts, Oslo), who joined me as Co-Editor-in-Chief last year, has already made a distinctive mark on the Journal. I am convinced that the Journal will benefit from her dynamism and creativity. I am also delighted to announce that Professor Régis Bismuth (Sciences Po, Paris) has kindly accepted to replace me as Co-Editor-in-Chief: with his level of expertise and constant kindness, I could not have envisaged a better successor! Freya and Régis definitely form an outstanding leading team for the Journal, and I wish them the very best in these functions. I am impatient to discover how they will further develop the Journal and am convinced that, in exploring these new ways, they will maintain its identity.
On my way out, I also want to express my deepest gratitude to two colleagues.
Cheryl Dunn-Mabire, our Managing Editor, is a key figure for the Journal; without her support, professionalism and patience, I would not have been able to perform and enjoy my functions during these nine short years. As she reads these lines for copyediting purposes, I would like her to know how much I have appreciated working with her.
As I am going to rediscover the pleasures of opening The Law and Practice of International Courts and Tribunals as a reader, I cannot but feel privileged: in the course of this experience, I met in Marie Sheldon a perfect editorial complice (in French!) and a beautiful person. This will surely survive my involvement with the journal.
Longue vie à The Law and Practice of International Courts and Tribunals!