Project Title: ‘International law’s implications for economic activities in areas of contested statehood: the (forgotten) case of the Western Sahara’ Background: The dispute over the Western Sahara between the Moroccan authorities and the Polisario Front (PF) is one of the most longstanding international disputes of modern times. While long ignored, recent litigation at the domestic and EU level has rendered increasingly acute the question as to whether – and under what circumstances – third States and foreign companies can entertain economic and trade relations with the region, given its status as a non-self-governing territory, whose right of self-determination continues to be denied by Morocco. The aim of this project is to use the Western Sahara dispute as a case study to engage in an in-depth analysis of international law’s implications for economic activities in occupied or annexed territories, or in other situations of contested statehood. In particular, the twofold aim is (1) to identify and clarify the existing international legal framework, as well as (2) to analyse how this legal framework is put into practice by the various actors involved, i.e., the State administering the area, third States, as well as foreign companies. While the Western Sahara case admittedly presents certain unique features, it is submitted that the envisaged case study has far broader appeal and that the lessons learned will be useful for a wide range of other situations. Thus, the project also has the potential of contributing to a more coherent policy of non-recognition at the EU level.
PhD Research Tasks:
The successful applicant will conduct scientific research on the proposed topic which will ultimately result in a doctoral thesis. He or she is expected to submit research output for publication in peer-reviewed academic journals and to participate in the educational and research activities of the Department and of the Ghent-Rolin Jaequemyns Institute (GRILI) in the field of international law. The successful applicant will work at the Ghent law faculty under the supervision of Prof. Tom Ruys.
- Applicants should possess a Masters degree (or equivalent) in law, with demonstrated knowledge of international law, or they should at least demonstrate that they will obtain such degree by September 2021 at the latest.
- A postgraduate degree (LLM or other) focusing on international law or international relations is an asset;
- Previous research or teaching experience is an asset;
- Excellent English language proficiency is required. Knowledge of Dutch, French and/or Arabic is an asset.
- Willingness to support the administrative, teaching and research activities of the Department in a collegial way.
How to apply
- Applicants should submit their application no later than 20 February 2021, including a CV and a letter of motivation.
- Applicants should list three referees that may be contacted by the Department and are moreover invited to submit a research sample (publication or research paper).
- Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis.
- Applications should be sent to email@example.com.
The successful applicant will be appointed for a term of four years (subject to a periodic evaluation after 2 years), starting between April and October 2021 (exact starting date to be determined in consultation between the promotor and the successful applicant). The monthly salary will be determined in accordance with the wage indexes of the University.