Professor Robin Geiss
- Professor of International Law and Security and Director of the Glasgow Centre for International Law and Security (GCILS) (School of Law)
Robin Geiss joined the Law School in 2013. Previously, he was Professor of International and European Law at the University of Potsdam. Prior to that, he worked as Legal Adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva and as ICRC delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Council. At Glasgow, he leads the Research Group of International Law, Conflict and Security and is founding director of the Glasgow Center for International Law and Security (GCILS). He is the director of the LL.M. Programme on 'International Law and Security' and the newly established dual-degree Master Programme on 'The Law and Politics of Global Security' delivered jointly by the University of Glasgow and the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (IBEI).
Professor Geiss studied law in Bielefeld, Edinburgh, Kiel (Ph.D. 2003) and at the New York University (LL.M. 2004), and is a qualified German lawyer (First and Second State Exam). His areas of research include most major subjects of public international law, in particular collective security and the use of force, human rights, international humanitarian and international criminal law. A former scholar of the German National Merit Foundation, Robin Geiss is currently director of the “Security Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood”-project at the Collaborative Research Centre 700 in Berlin, principal investigator of the EU-sponsored research project "Transnational Security Law", and Rapporteur of the International Law Association’s (ILA) Study Group on the challenges to international humanitarian law in contemporary armed conflicts.
From 2012-2014, he was part of an EU-FP7 funded European research consortium that investigated the unintended consequences of international counter-narcotic measures. Professor Geiss has authored and edited a number of books among them “Failed States” (Duncker & Humblot 2005), “Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea” (OUP 2011, with A. Petrig), "Humanizing the Laws of War - The Red Cross and the Development of International Humanitarian Law" (CUP 2017, with A. Zimmermann et al.), "Autonomous Weapons Systems - Law, Ethics, Policy" (CUP 2016, with N. Bhuta et al.). He is editor of the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law and from 2011-2013 was a member of the international group of experts that, under the auspices of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, authored the “Tallinn Manual” on international law applicable to cyber-warfare (CUP 2013). He has published in a wide range of scholarly journals and has taught at universities in Italy, France, China, and Germany.
In addition to his academic work, Professor Geiss has advised international organizations and states, inter alia, in proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and on matters pertaining to new (military) technologies and cyber security. His advisory work has included mandates from the United Nations, NATO, the German Federal Foreign Office, the World Health Organization, the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, the Military Academy of the German Armed Forces, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, the Centre for Economic and Social Rights in New York and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. He is a member of the Lieber Prize Committee of the American Society of International Law and the German National Committee on International Humanitarian Law.
International law and security.
In particular: United Nations law; human rights law, the laws of armed conflict; cyber security; new (military) technologies; and transnational organized crime.
Geiss, R., Zimmermann, A. and Haumer, S. (Eds.) (2017) Humanizing the Laws of War: The Red Cross and the Development of International Humanitarian Law. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107171350
Bhuta, N., Beck, S., Geiss, R., Liu, H.-Y. and Kress, C. (Eds.) (2016) Autonomous Weapons Systems: Law, Ethics and Policy. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107153561
Geiss, R. and Durham, H. (2016) Article 12. In: ICRC, Commentary on the First Geneva Convention: Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field [2nd ed.]. ICRC/CUP: Geneva.
Geiss, R. and Petrig, A. (2011) Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea: The Legal Framework for Counter-Piracy Operations in Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. Series: Max Planck research on international, European, and comparative criminal law, 1. Oxford University Press: Oxford. ISBN 9780199609529
Geiss, R. and Siegrist, M. (2011) Has the armed conflict in Afghanistan affected the rules on the conduct of hostilities? International Review of the Red Cross, 93(881), pp. 11-46. (doi: 10.1017/S1816383111000191)
Professor Geiss has been awarded the following grants:
European Commission (EC) (2021-2025) - Project: “Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in International Law of Global Security, Peace and Development (ILGSPD)” - €4.32 million.
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and DFG (German Research Foundation) (2020-2023) – Project: “The Law of Protracted Conflict: Bridging the Humanitarian-Development Divide” (PI) – £385,000.
Prof. Geiss is part of a British-Scandinavian research project "Taking surveillance apart?: Accountability and Legitimacy of Internet Surveillance and Expanded Investigatory Powers, funded by NordForsk, Nordic Societal Security Program (2016-2019).
100.000 €, European Commission, FP7 Marie Curie (CIG) Grant, TransSec: Transnational Security Law.
340.000 €, German Research Foundation (“DFG”) for a research project on “Security Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood” which will be carried out as part of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB700) in Berlin, 2014-2017
20.000 €, Fritz Thyssen Foundation for a project on “Autonomous Weapons Systems – Law, Ethics, Policy”, (held together with Professors Bhuta, Kress and Beck)
880.000 €, European Commission, FP7 Program, for a European research consortium (8 participants) on “Understanding the unintended consequences of international counter-narcotics measures for the EU”, initially allocated to the University of Potsdam in 2011 and transferred to the University of Glasgow in 2013.
Professor Geiss is interested in supervising research students in international law, and in particular in the following areas: human rights law, humanitarian law, international criminal law, UN law, the law of the sea.
In addition to proposals for doctoral research, Professor Geiss welcomes applications by students seeking to study towards an LLM by Research.
Students interested in pursuing socio-legal research in the field of international law/relations should explore the potential of applying to the Scottish Doctoral Training Centre. Details available here
Research students under supervision
Joanna Dingwall - 'Law of the sea and deep seabed mining beyond national jurisdiction, including the regulation of commercial mining activities by non-State actors'
Ferhat Ercümen - Military Use of Foreign Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf
Jeanne Gillet - 'The right to privacy in the digital era'
Yincheng Hsu - 'Underwater Cultural Heritage in International Law: the Conflicts of Treaties'
Minh Huong Mai - 'The issue of cultural heritage protection in resolving international investment disputes'
Asli Ozcelik Olcay - 'Peace agreements and international law'
Jessica Schechinger - 'Private (Armed) Security Actors in the Contemporary Fight against Maritime Piracy: Issues of International Responsibility'
Sören Sommer - 'German-French Armament Cooperation and Export Control in the context of the European Defence Policy'
Konstantina Tsekeri - 'The application of the best interest of the child principle in the refugee status determination process. The case of unaccompanied children claiming asylum in the UK and Greece.'
Luca Thieme - 'EU-US cooperation in counter-terrorism: Time for SWIFT III?' (LLM by Research)
Joanna Wilson - 'The Legality of Autonomy and the Ethics of Lethality. Establishing a Comprehensive Regulatory Framework for the Use of (Lethal) Autonomous Weapons Systems and Questioning the Morality of the ‘Killer Robot’'
Research Project (TransSec) on ‘Transnational Security Law’
This project is funded by a Marie Curie FP7 Integration Grant within the 7th European Union Framework Program.
In the course of globalization organized crime has diversified, gone global and in some instances reached macro-economic proportions, undermining governance and development in conflict-ridden areas and threatening global security. As a result, in recent years various transnational organized crime phenomena have become recognized as newly emerging security threats that require international responses. Apart from large-scale counter-terrorism operations across the globe, current counter-drug operations in Afghanistan, EU Operation Atalanta and the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Aden as well as the confiscation of small arms in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by UN peacekeepers are all exemplary of this trend. In addition, cyber space has opened up an entirely new domain where criminal activity is on the increase and where law enforcement is facing new challenges. In 2012, the United Nations Security Council, for the first time in its history, qualified traditional organized crime phenomena such as piracy, drug- and weapons-trafficking as “serious threats to international peace and stability”, thereby paving the way for future transnational law enforcement operations on the basis of the UN-Charter.
This has led to a growing number of transnational law enforcement operations and policing activities more general. Yet in spite of a rapidly growing corpus of international (state) practice, such forms of global policing remain poorly understood and insufficiently regulated; often to the detriment of affected communities and the long-term success of sustainable crime/threat reduction. Global policing and transnational law enforcement operations are in many ways still a novelty from the perspective of public international law.
Against this backdrop, the TransSec research project aims to assess how the international legal framework is adapting to a changing reality and to develop and sketch out the contours of the newly emerging discipline of ‘Transnational Security Law’, i.e. the principles and body of rules applicable to cross-border policing and transnational law enforcement operations.