André Nollkaemper, professor of International Public Law at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), has been appointed to the position of independent adviser in international law at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Minister Rosenthal. This appointment is in reaction to the Davids Commission report. The commission was initiated to investigate the Dutch political decision-making process regarding the war in Iraq. Nollkaemper’s task will be to provide solicited or unsolicited advice to the ministry concerning matters of international law.
The Balkenende IV cabinet formed the Davids Commission in January 2009 to look into the decisions that led to Dutch political support for the war in Iraq when the United States and Great Britain began an attack on the regime of dictator Saddam Hussein. In 2010, the commission concluded that there was not a sufficient mandate under international law to justify the invasion in Iraq. The commission also found deficiencies in the advice on international law given to the minister(which never reached the minister due to intervention by senior civil servants) and provided recommendations to improve the provision of advice.
Minister Rosenthal has chosen for a two-pronged approach to improving the process for official consultation on matters of international law. First, the director or deputy director of the international law office at the Department of Legal Affairs is now permitted to report directly to the minister without intervention from senior civil servants. Secondly, the minister has named Nollkaemper as an external adviser in international law. He is charged with providing independent advice on matters of international law directly to the minister. His advice can serve as a second opinion alongside the advice of the official international law advisers.
About André Nollkaemper
In addition to his position as professor of International Public Law, Nollkaemper is also vice-dean of UvA’s Faculty of Law. Until 2008, he was director of the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL). Furthermore, Nollkaemper is the lead researcher for The International Rule of Law research project, which is one of the 15 research priority areas of the UvA. In 2009, the European Research Council (ERC) awarded him an Advanced Grant of €2.1 million for research on Shared Responsibility in International Law