The Max Planck Trialogues are a publication series of the MPIL that is published with Cambridge University Press. In a Max Planck Trialogue, three authors discuss one topic within the international law surrounding armed conflict. Each trio is composed so as to engage different modes of legal thinking, intellectual paradigms, regional backgrounds, and professional specialisation. By bringing the pluralism of premises and methods to the fore, the Trialogues facilitate the emergence and global refinement of common legal understandings.
Currently four volumes are published or under preparation:
Vol. I - Self-defence against non-state actors (co-authored by Mary Ellen O'Connell, Christian Tams, Dire Tladi), 2019
In this book, self-defense against non-state actors is examined by three scholars whose geographical, professional, theoretical, and methodological backgrounds and outlooks differ greatly. Their trialogue is framed by an introduction and a conclusion by the series editors. The novel scholarly format accommodates the pluralism and value changes in the current era, a shifting world order with rising nationalism and populism. It brings to light the cultural, professional, and political pluralism which characterises international legal scholarship and exploits this pluralism as a heuristic device. This multiperspectivism exposes how political and factors and intellectual styles influence the scholarly approaches and legal answers. The trialogue structure encourages its participants to decenter their perspectives. By explicitly focussing on the authors’ divergence and disagreement, a richer understanding of self-defence against non-state actors is achieved, and the legal challenges and possible ways ahead are identified.
Vol. II - Law Applicable to Armed Conflict (co-authored by Helen Duffy, Janina Dill, Ziv Bohrer), 2020
Which law applies to armed conflict? This book investigates the applicability of international humanitarian law and international human rights law to armed conflict situations. The issue is examined by three scholars whose professional, theoretical, and methodological backgrounds and outlooks differ greatly. The multiperspectivism exposes that and how political factors and intellectual styles influence the scholarly approaches and legal answers, and the trialogical setting encourages situated participants to decenter their perspectives. By focussing on the authors’ divergence and disagreement, a richer understanding of the law applicable to armed conflict is achieved.
The book, firstly, provides a detailed study of the law applicable to armed conflict situations. Secondly, it explores the regimes’ interrelation and the legal techniques for their coordination and for preventing or mitigating potential norm conflicts. Thirdly, the book moves beyond the positive analysis of the law and probes the normative principles that guide or should be guiding the interpretation, application and development of law.
Vol. III - Reparation for Victims of Armed Conflict (co-authored by Cristián Correa, Shuichi Furuya, Clara Sandoval), 2020
Are victims of armed conflict entitled to reparation, which legal rules govern the question, and how can reparation be implemented? These key questions of transitional justice are examined by three scholars whose professional, theoretical, and methodological backgrounds and outlooks differ greatly. They discuss how regional human rights case law, international criminal law, the practice of ad hoc international bodies, and domestic practice give rise to a right to reparation. This right emerges out of the interplay between international and domestic law. The problems of mass claims, fragile statehood, and high risk of marginalisation of particular groups of victims are addressed. The analysis is alert to the current backlash against international legal institutions, and to the practical constraints in making post-conflict law work. The multiperspectivism of the trialogical setting exposes the divergence and complementarity of the authors’ approaches and leads to a richer understanding of the law of reparation.
Vol. IV - Intervention by Invitation (co-authored by Olivier Corten, Gregory Fox, Dino Kritsiotis) - in preparation
Vol. V - The UN Security Council and the Maintenance of Peace (co-authored by Cai Congyan, Larissa van den Herik, Tiyanjana Maluwa) - in preparation
Workshop: The UN Security Council's contribution to the law of peace and war
online workshop on 25-26 September 2020
Workshop: On the doctrine of ‘Intervention by Invitation’
On 8-9 November 2018 the fourth Trialogue workshop, dealing with the doctrine of ‘intervention by invitation’ took place.
Workshop: Reparations for Victims of Armed Conflict
On 10-11 November 2017 the third Trialogue workshop, dealing with the international law on reparations for victims of armed conflict took place.
Workshop: The Applicability of International Humanitarian Law
On 30-31 March 2017 the MPIL hosted the second authors' workshop. This workshop dealt with the scope of the applicability of IHL.
Workshop: Self-defence against Non-state Actors
On 4-5 November 2016 the MPIL hosted the first authors' workshop of the Max Planck Trialogues. The workshop addressed the timely topic of self-defence against non-state actors.
"(...) the book certainly sets out what it seeks to achieve and provides the opportunity for three eminent scholars to enter into a 'trialogue' that is at the same time provocative, illuminating, and, perhaps most of all, enriching."
"(...) it showcases the richness and diversity of contemporary international legal scholarship on this controversial issue while at the same time highlighting all too vividly the indeterminacy surrounding it, including the way in which personally held views as to the purpose and function of law are reflected in the outcomes of legal inquiries."
Christian Henderson, The American Journal of International Law, 114 (2020), 809-818.
A New Format of Academic Publishing
The book series “Max Planck Trialogues on the Law of Peace and War” offers a new approach to the law surrounding armed conflict and makes use of an innovative way of academic publishing. Published by Cambridge University Press, it consists of volumes that are each co-authored by three scholars whose geographical, theoretical, and methodological background and outlook differs greatly. The authors are asked to write around 80 pages on one and the same issue, approaching it from their own distinct perspective. The idea is to obtain a multi-perspective and discursive yet comprehensive account of a specific problem that highlights the current controversies and the diversity of approaches to that problem.
The individual volumes pertain to the fields of ius ad bellum, ius in bello and ius post bellum. The project is (initially) planned as a publication series of nine volumes that take up classical topics but will also react to recent challenges to the law surrounding armed conflict.
The Writing Process
In contrast to usual edited volumes, the fact that there are three authors who write on the same topic guarantees that the subject of one book is covered both in depth and comprehensively. Moreover, key to the plan is that the three authors engage in an exchange with each other so that their three voices have to take into account the others’ perspectives and thus mutually enriched each other. The “trialogue” happens at authors’ workshops hosted by the Max Planck Institute where authors, further invited commentators and other interested participants discuss the draft chapters. The additional comments are not published in the books, but in the Heidelberg Journal of International Law.
The Academic Advisory Board
The Max Planck Trialogues are guided by an academic advisory board whose members are Orna Ben-Naftali, Theodore Christakis, Lori Damrosch, Larissa van den Herik, Maurice Kamto, Inger Österdahl, Christian Tomuschat, and Sir Michael Wood.
Series Editors and Conveners
The book series is edited and coordinated by Anne Peters and Christian Marxsen. The series editors write a short introduction as well as an epilogue to each book.