Senior Fellow

Prof. Dr Wouter Werner

Current Fellows

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Tel: +49 (0)203 379-5248
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: werner@spam


Prof. Dr Wouter Werner joins the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Research Fellow from March 2018 to February 2019. He conducts his research in the Research Unit "Pathways and Mechanisms of Global Cooperation".

Research Project at the Centre

Restatements, Narration and Collective Sense Making in International Law

This project focuses on a specific technique in legal narration: the construction of (legal) meaning through acts of repetition.  Repetition is more than an act of copy-pasting the past into the present. It involves the construction of a narrative about the past’s relevance for the presence and the future, as well as a story about the way in which the present and future are linked to the past.

In my project I will focus on some specific, institutionalized forms of repetition in international law: the restatement of existing rules by international committees of legal experts- as well as the way in which these restatements themselves have been taken up by other parties in global governance.  Restatements combine two elements. On the one hand, restatements present a rule as being already in existence, thus creating a sense of narrative coherence in international law. On the other hand, a restatement is a beginning in and of itself: it brings something from the past into the present, thus presenting the previously established rule as valid now and as an appropriate guide for future actions.  Restatements thus combine continuity and renewal, much like other acts of repetition do.  I study continuity and renewal in restatement practices of three rather different expert bodies: (a) the International Law Commission (ILC); (b) the group of experts invited by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence; (c) the expert bodies connected to the UN Counter Terrorism regime.

Video Interview

Research Interests

  • Narration in International Law
  • Cinematic Representations of International Law
  • Theatre and International Law
  • The Formation of Customary International Law Through Restatements
  • Punitivity in International Law

Current Projects

  • Repetition in Legal Argumentation
  • Restatements of Law
  • Moot Courts as Theatrical Rehearsal Practices
  • Cinematic Representations of International Law
  • Punitive Wars


since 2006 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands
Department of Transnational Legal Studies
Professor of International Law
2004 University of New South Wales, Australia
Department of International Law
Guest Researcher and Lecturer
2002-2005 Utrecht University, Netherlands
International and European Law
Associate Professor
1999-2002 Utrecht University, Netherlands
Institut for International and European Law
Assistant Professor
1995-1999 Twente University, Netherlands
Institute for Constitutional and Administrative Law
Assistant Professor

Selected Publications

Werner, W.G. (2017): Recall it Again, Sam: Practices of Repetition in the Security Council, Nordic Journal of International Law 86 (2), 151-16.

Werner, W.G. (2017, in print): Social Acceleration and International Law, in: Andrew Lang & Moshe Hirsch (ed.): Research Handbook on the Sociology of International Law, Edward Elgar.

Werner, W.G., De Hoon, M. & Galan, A. (eds., 2016): The Law of International Lawyers, Reading Martti Koskenniemi, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rayfuse R., Ambrus M. & Werner, W.G. (eds., 2016): Risk and the Regulation of Uncertainty in International Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Werner,  W.G. (2016): Justice on Screen, a Study of Four Documentary Films on the International Criminal Court, Leiden Journal of International Law 29 (4), 1043-1060.

Werner, W.G. (2016): “What’s Going on?- Relfections on Kratochwil’s Concept of Law, in: Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 44, 258-268.

Leander, A. & Werner, W.G. (2016): “Tainted Love; The Relation Between International Law and International Relations”, in: Aalberts, T. Raikovic, N. & Gammelthoft Hansen, T.:  The Power of Legality, Cambridge: Cambridge  University Press, 75-99.

Gordon G. & Werner, W.G. (2016): Kant, Cosmopolitanism and International Law, in: Anne Orford & Florian Hoffmann, Oxford Handbook of International Legal Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nouwen S. &  Werner, W.G. (2015): Monopolizing Global Justice; International Criminal Justice as a Challenge to Human Diversity, in: Journal of International Criminal Justice, 157-175.

Werner, W.G. (2015): Security and International Law; Between Legalism and Securitization, in: Philippe Bourbeau: Security Across Disciplines, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 196-219.

Werner, W.G. (2013): “We Cannot Allow Ourselves to Imagine What it All Means”; Representations of Victimhood and Expertise in ICC Documentaries, in: Law and Contemporary Problems, 76: 3-4.

Werner, W.G. & Kessler, O. (2013): Expertise, Uncertainty, and International Law: A Study of the Tallinn Manual on Cyberwarfare, in: Leiden Journal of International Law, 26, pp. 793–810.    

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Theories and Approaches to War and Collective Security (double course with Prof. Wolfgang Wagner)
  • Legal Restraints on War (with Prof. Wolfgang Wagner)
  • International Law (Introductory Course)
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • International Law Seminars
  • Documentary Film, World Politics and International Law
  • Thesis Seminars

Expertise and Consulting Work

  • Chief Editor of the Netherlands Yearbook of International Law
  • Co-Director Centre for the Politics of Transnational Law, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
  • Co-Editor Routledge Book Series "The Politics of Transnational Law"
  • Consultant for Research in International Law for the Nuffic Project on Capacity Building at the Westbank (in cooperation with Utrecht University and the Universities of Bir Zeit, Al Quds, Hebron and Al Najah)

Seminars and Conferences

  • Justice on Screen, Seminar Osgoode Law School, January 2018
  • Cinematic Representations of International Law, University of Amsterdam, November 2017
  • International Law and the Absurd, Seminar, Asser Institute, The Hague, January 2018
  • Punitive Wars, Research Seminar Bir Zeit University, April 2018
  • Methods of International Law, Research Seminar for the University of Indonesia Law School, held in Bogor , August 2017
  • Objects of International Law, Conference, London, September 2016
  • Film and International law, Conference, London, April, 2016
  • Restatements of International Law, Research Seminar VU University, Amsterdam, November 2017


  • 2017: Freehill Scholarship Cambridge University for short sabbatical stay at the Lauterpacht Center for International Law
  • 2015-2019: Nuffic funding for capacity building project (together with VU International Office and Leiden University).
  • 2015-2019: Nuffic funding for development research capacity on the Westbank
  • 2017: Faculty of Law, VU University, PhD competition, four year funding for PhD research on “Narratives of Beginning in EU military missions” (together with Tanja Aalberts)
  • 2011-2015: COST funding 2011-2015 for establishing a pan-European research network
  • 2015: Societal Impact Funding for “Transnational Listing Project” (VU University)
  • 2013: Faculty of Law, VU University, PhD competition, four year funding for PhD research on “International Criminal Trials as Theatrical Performances”
  • 2010: Dutch Research Council, four year funding for PhD research on “rogue states” (co-applicant)

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