We are pleased to announce that the 2014 Friends of ACUNS Biennial Book Award has been awarded to Guglielmo Verdirame for their book on The UN and Human Rights: Who Guards the Guardians? (Cambridge University Press).

Through an analysis of UN operations including international territorial administration, refugee camps, peacekeeping, the implementation of sanctions and the provision of humanitarian aid, this book shows that the powers exercised by the UN carry a serious risk of human rights abuse. The International Law Commission has codified and developed the law of institutional responsibility, but, while indispensable, these principles and rules cannot on their own ensure compliance and accountability. The ‘liberty deficit’ of the UN and of other international organisations thus remains an urgent legal and political problem. Some solutions may be available; indeed, recent state and institutional practice offers interesting examples in this respect. But at a fundamental level we need to ask ourselves whether, judged on the basis of the principle of liberty, the power shift from states to international organisations is always beneficial.

About the Author
Verdirame is a Professor of International Law and joined King’s College London in September 2011. Before coming to King’s, he was a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law (2003-2011); a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford (2000-2003); and a Research Officer at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford (1997-98). He also held a visiting appointment at Harvard Law School (2007) and was Director of Studies for Public International Law at the Hague Academy of International Law (2006).

Verdirame has also authored Rights in Exile (Berghahn Books, 2005), as well as numerous articles and chapters in books.

Click here to read a sample chapter of The UN and Human Rights.