Prof. Dr. Erika de Wet

University of Pretoria

Curriculum Vitae

Erika de Wet studied law at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, where she obtained a doctorate degree in Comparative Institutional Law. She further completed a Master of Law at Harvard University and obtained her habilitation in 2002 at the University of Zurich with a treatise on “The Chapter VII Powers of the United Nations Security Council”. From 2004, Erika de Wet has been professor for International Constitutional Law at the Amsterdam Center for International Law at the University of Amsterdam. Numerous teaching obligations and research stays have led her, inter alia, to North-Western University in Potchefstroom, the University of Leiden and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. Since 2011, she is co-director and professor for International Law at the University of Pretoria’s Institute for International and Comparative Law. Since July 2015, Erika de Wet is further teaching at the University of Bonn as an honorary professor. From October 2015 to July 2016, she was Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”. Since January 2016, she is SARCHI Professor of International Constitutional Law at the University of Pretoria.

Research Project

Customary Public International Law and Human Rights: The tension between state practice and legal culture

The United Nations World Summit Outcome in 2005 confirmed the central role of human rights protection within the international legal order. International standards for the protection of human rights also constitute a Leitmotiv in the debate pertaining to the constitutionalization of international law. At the same time however, the universality of human rights are persistently questioned in light of cultural differences between and within regions. The current project examines whether such cultural differences affect the manner in which different (regional) judicial bodies apply similar international standards in different (regional) contexts. For example, do the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights and the African Court of Human and Peoples’ rights apply certain rights which may even have acquired customary international law status differently? If so, to what extent do different cultural understandings of issues such as property, family and remedies inform differences in the legal analysis.

Publications (selected)

  • The modern practice of intervention by invitation in Africa and its implications for the prohibition of the use of force, in: European Journal of International Law (26) 2015/2016, forthcoming.
  • The Implications of the Visit of Al Bashir to South Africa for International and Domestic Law, in: Journal of International Criminal Justice (13) 2015, forthcoming.
  • The Evolving Role of ECOWAS and the SADC in Peace-Operations: A Challenge to the Primacy of the United Nations Security Council in Matters of Peace and Security?, in: Leiden Journal of International Law (27) 2014, pp. 353-369.
  • From Kadi to Nada: Judicial Techniques Favoring Human Rights over United Nations Security Council Sanctions, in: Chinese Journal of International Law (12) 2013, pp. 787-807.
  • Jus Cogens and Obligations Erga Omnes, in: Dinah Shelton (ed.): The Oxford Handbook on International Human Rights Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2013, pp. 541-561.
  • The Rise and Fall of the Tribunal of the Southern African Development Community: Implications for Dispute Settlement in Southern Africa, in: ICSID Review (27) 2013, pp. 1-19.
  • Conflicts between International Paradigms: Hierarchy versus Systemic Integration (with Jure Vidmar), in: Global Constitutionalism (2) 2013, pp. 196-217.
  • Hierarchy in International Law: the Place of Human Rights (with Jure Vidmar), Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012.
  • South Africa, in: Dinah Shelton (ed.): International Law and Domestic Legal Systems: Incorporation, Transformation and Persuasion, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011, pp. 567-593.
  • The Governance of Kosovo: Security Council Resolution 1244 and the Establishment and Functioning of Eulex, in: American Journal of International Law (103) 2009, pp. 83-96.
  • Zur Zukunft der Völkerrechtswissenschaft in Deutschland, in: Zeitschrift für Ausländisches Öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht (67) 2007, pp. 777-798.
  • The International Constitutional Order, in: International & Comparative Law Quarterly (55) 2006, pp. 51-76.
  • The Chapter VII Powers of the United Nations Security Council, Hart Publishing 2004.