Lecturer in International Law

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Jasper Finke, 'Selbstverteidigungsrecht gegen nichtstaatliche Akteure ', (2017), Archiv des Völkerrechts, Vol 55, pp 1-42
Abstract: Use of force taken in self-defence is lawful if it, among other things, responds to an armed attack. Up until today, the central question remains: armed attack by whom? Prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks it was widely acknowledged that it had to be an attack by another state, while after the attacks this view was called into question. Since then, it seems that self-defence against non-state actors had been established as the 'new normal'. Reactions to the military intervention against ISIS in Syria clearly evidences, however, that opposition to this view is still strong, particularly among European international lawyers. Interestingly, both views – a restrictive reading of Art. 51 UN-Charta on the one hand and a rather expansive conception of self-defence on the other hand – start from the same assumption: prior to 9/11 the right to self-defence required an armed attack by another state. What is at issue is therefore the question whether 'the law' has changed since then. But instead of following the 'continuity and change' paradigm, in which the 9/11 attacks qualify as a game-changer, this article emphasizes a 'continuity of change' approach. The concept of self-defence as codified in Art. 51 UN-Charter has been subject to constant change for over 70 years. In addition, the international system itself has changed dramatically from an exclusive club of states to a multipolar order. While these changes are not immediately relevant for the issue whether the right to self-defence applies to non-state actors, it allows for a different conceptual approach. Instead of focusing on the prerequisites for legal change, it asks whether compelling legal reasons exist that in then end restrict the right to self-defence to armed attacks by another state. As possible reasons for such a restriction this article discusses the relationship between the prohibition on the use of force and the right to self-defence, the object and purpose of Art. 51 UN-Charter, existing ICJ jurisprudence, and the territorial integrity of the state from which the non-state actors, especially terrorist groups, operate. While none of these reasons necessitate an interpretation of Art. 51 UN-Charter that restricts self-defence to an armed attack by another state, it also illustrates that the use of force in this context is restricted against the non-state actor and may not directly be used against the harbouring or unwilling and unable state. While self-defence is thus in principle permissible against non-state actor, the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 illustrate how difficult it is to apply Art. 51 UN-Charter to such attacks. Since Germany invokes the right to self-defence as a legal basis to support the military intervention in Syria and thereby explicitly refers to the Paris Attacks, this article in its last section addresses some of the legal obstacles, which arise if self-defence is applied to terrorist attacks.

Jasper Finke, 'Handelskrieg mit den USA: Alarmismus oder realistisches Szenario?', (2017), Bucerius Law Journal, Vol 2017, pp 3-6

Jasper Finke, 'Review of: Surabhi Ranganathan, Strategically Created Treaty Conflicts (Cambridge, Cambridge UP 2014). Ranganathan Book Symposium: Part 2 ', (2016), Völkerrechtsblog

Jasper Finke, 'Funktion und Wirkung der Ausnahme im Recht ', (2015), Archiv des oeffentlichen Rechts, Vol 140, pp 514-541
Abstract: The notion of exception is used ubiquitously in legal debate, especially in times of crisis. Yet, the term has no meaning in and of itself. Rather, it can only be understood within the specific context within which it is being used as an illustration of the opposite. Although devoid of general meaning, the exception nevertheless fulfills three crucial functions within legal discourse, which will be illustrated by analyzing two case studies regarding the interpretation of the German Basic Law in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks when the German legislature reformed the Aviation Security Act. For one, the notion of exception can be purely descriptive: What is being described depends on the corresponding category to which the exception refers. The notion of exception can be factual in the sense that it illustrates the opposite to what is often labeled as normality, or normative in cases in which the exception refers to another legal provision. Secondly, the term has a legitimizing dimension, given that it can provide a justification for handling exceptional circumstances differently. Finally, it also serves reassuring purposes: it implies that situations described as exceptions are actually uncommon. In reality, these three functions often overlap. While differentiating between them might seem artificial at first glance, conceptual clarity is essential in order to avoid that the notion of exception is used so as to expand the boundaries of existing legal concepts and categories – an effect that can in particular be observed in times of crisis.

Jasper Finke, 'Concepts, hybridization, principles, and the rule of law: New literature on international monetary and financial law', (2015), International Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol 12, pp 1054-1070

Jasper Finke, 'The equal treatment dimension of contemporary disputes over religious symbols in the public sphere ', (2014), Bucerius Law Journal, Vol 2014, pp 46-51


Jasper Finke, 'Gedanken-, Gewissens- und Religionsfreiheit Freedom of thought, conscience and religion' in S Heselhaus, C Nowak (ed.) Handbuch der Europäischen Grundrechte (C.H. Beck 2017)

Jasper Finke, 'Notwendigkeit und Grundlagen eines transnationalen Katastrophenschutzrechts ' in Hermann Pünder, Anika Klafki (ed.) Risiko und Katastrophe als Herausforderung für die Verwaltung (Nomos verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden 2016) 211-236

Jasper Finke, 'Staatlichkeit als zeitgebundenes Konstrukt Notwendigkeit und Möglichkeit unmittelbarer demokratischer Legitimation durch das Europäische Parlament' in Lisa Heschl, Julia Juri, Manuel P. Neubauer, Jürgen Pirker, Matthias Scharfe, Lorin-Johannes Wagner, Malina Willgruber (ed.) L’État, c’est Quoi? (Nomos verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden 2015) 193-211

Jasper Finke, 'Regime collisions Tensions between treaties (and how to solve them)' in Christian J Tams, Antonios Tzanakopoulos, Andreas Zimmermann (ed.) Research Handbook on the Law of Treaties (Edward Elgar 2014) 415-446

Jasper Finke, 'Beyond certainty Experimentalism as an answer to the I.C.J.’s decision in Germany v. Italy' in Jost Delbrück, Ursula Heinz, Kerstin Odendahl, Nele Matz-Lück, Andreas von Arnauld (ed.) Aus Kiel in die Welt (Duncker & Humblot 2014) 55-68

Working Papers

Jasper Finke, 'Von Schrotflinten und dünnem Eis – Darf sich Deutschland an einem Militäreinsatz in Syrien beteiligen oder nicht? ' 2015

Jasper Finke, 'Die Griechenlandkrise als Krise europäischer Demokratie: Zur Notwendigkeit einer europäischen Bewegung' 2015

Jasper Finke, 'Griechisches Ablenkungsmanöver oder deutsche Ignoranz? – Die unendliche Geschichte griechischer Reparationsforderungen ' 2015

Jasper Finke, 'The limits of emergency mechanisms: A response to Tine Hanrieder and Christian Kreuder-Sonnen' 2014

Jasper Finke, 'Man bleibt halt gerne unter sich: Das französische Burka-Verbot und der Schutz von Rechten, die es nicht gibt' 2014