History

The idea for the Research Society of International Law Pakistan (RSIL) originated in the late 1980’s while its founder and President, Ahmer Bilal Soofi, completed his studies at the University of Cambridge. Upon his return, he registered the society in 1993. In March 2003, the Research Society acquired permanent premises, which became fully operational by 2004 through a private grant.

RSIL provides a perspective on both theoretical and practical applications of international law through analytical writing to both domestic and international stakeholders including the Government of Pakistan, non-governmental organizations, the legal fraternity, the media and the academia of Pakistan.

Routinely, RSIL conducts capacity building workshops and seminars. It periodically invites world-renowned guest lecturers to share their knowledge with RSIL’s in-house researchers and external stakeholders. Annually, the Society conducts internship programs in Lahore and Islamabad for law students and lawyers at the early stages of their career as well as a Fellowship program in Lahore for more experienced individuals from both the government and private sectors seeking to further their understanding of international law.

The legal expertise provided by RSIL contributes to an enhanced understanding of international law among those directly and indirectly involved in national policymaking.

 

Timeline

October 2016

Mr. Saad-ur-Rehman and Mr. Jamal Aziz from RSIL were invited by the US Embassy to discuss US-Pak relations with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, Jedidiah Paul Royal, and Director, Office of Pakistan Affairs, US Department of State, David Ranz. The purpose of the session was to generate debate by young professionals working on policy matters.

Mr. Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs visited RSIL and addressed both the RSIL and ABS & Co. teams. Mr. Fatemi was very impressed with work being done at RSIL, particularly the work of their advisory team and their publications.
Mr. Fatemi further stated that international law has advanced greatly and new issues, such as the environment, anti-money laundering and terrorism have taken centre stage. Therefore, it is integral that Pakistan prepare an approach towards the resolution of these issues. Citing interactions with lawyers working in the private sector, he emphasised the importance of taking a legal approach in formulation of foreign policy.
Mr. Fatemi was also given a tour of RSIL’s Islamabad office by Mr. Soofi and the senior team, which was followed by brief verbal presentations on RSIL’s numerous publications and interactions with the junior team.

RSIL, in collaboration with the American Bar Association (ABA), is conducting ongoing training workshops for lawyers under the ABA’s “Rule of Law Initiative”. Under the program, RSIL is drafting a report on Pakistan’s anti-terrorism legislative framework and human rights.

Alongside report preparation, RSIL will be conducting workshops in Islamabad and Lahore. The objective of the project is to promote due process and fair trial standards in Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Courts.

Training 3 – Punjab Judicial Academy, Lahore, 7th October, 2016:
Approximately 150 participants

September 2016

Workshop hosted by the Muslim Institute in Islamabad.
RSIL Research Associate Mr. Abeer Mustafa gave a presentation on the Legal Aspects of the Junagadh State issue, while Mr. Soofi spoke and sat on the panel of experts.

A talk held at the International Law Training Centre by Prof. Eirik Bjorge on 5 September 2016. The talk was on the “Law of Treaties and its Intersection with the Domestic Legal Framework”.
Mr. Bjorge is a distinguished Barrister and academic. He currently serves as a Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College, University of Oxford.
Mr. Bjorge has been a visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute, Heidelberg. He completed his Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) and D.Phil from Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford.
Mr. Bjorge has been a counsel in several international arbitration’s and has published numerous peer reviewed articles.
One of Mr. Bjorge’s recent articles is in collaboration with Sir Franklin Berman titled “Treaties” in Oppenheim’s International Law (10th Edition) which is forthcoming in 2017.

RSIL conducted a workshop on Improving Pakistan – India Bilateral Relations through Legal Diplomacy. The event was moderated by his Excellency Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan. The Chief Guest on the occasion was the Honourable Attorney General of Pakistan, Mr. Ashtar Ausaf Ali.
The workshop was attended by approximately 250 participants, including numerous senior Government Officials, Foreign Diplomats, members of Civil Society and journalists.

August 2016

The Conflict Law Centre (CLC), RSIL held a training on International Humanitarian Law on 2nd and 3rd August 2016. A distinguished panel of speakers presented at the session including Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi, President, RSIL, Mr. Stephen Wilkinson, Senior Legal Research Associate, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University, Ms. Lakmini Seneviratne, Legal Adviser, ICRC Sri Lanka, Mr. Reto Stocker, Head of Delegation, ICRC Pakistan, Mr. Ali Sultan, Vice President, Mr. Jamal Aziz, Executive Director, RSIL, Mr. Muhammad Oves Anwar, Director, CLC and Barrister Zarnab Aurakzai, Research Associate, CLC. The Training targeted interested applicants from a vast range of professional and academic backgrounds to increase understanding and awareness of the discipline with specific reference to contemporary conflicts and domestic law in Pakistan.

May 2016

RSIL, in collaboration with the American Bar Association (ABA), is conducting ongoing training workshops for lawyers under the ABA’s “Rule of Law Initiative”. Under the program, RSIL is drafting a report on Pakistan’s anti-terrorism legislative framework and human rights.
Alongside report preparation, RSIL will be conducting workshops in Islamabad and Lahore. The objective of the project is to promote due process and fair trial standards in Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Courts.
Training 2 – Islamabad Hotel, Islamabad, 14th May, 2016,
Approximately 120 participants

The RSIL-CLC team visited the USA in May 2016 with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The purpose of the visit was to engage with officials of the US Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) in a strictly academic context to learn from their experiences in the application of IHL in various theatres internationally. During their interactions with officials at the Pentagon, the CLC team learnt about the training of US military lawyers and their role in targeting and detentions, as well as procedural safeguards employed by US Military Commissions.
During their three week visit, the RSIL delegation also engaged with prominent think-tanks and other institutes in Washington D.C. such as the Stimson Centre, Woodrow Wilson Centre, Atlantic Council and the United States Institute of Peace.
The team also called on the Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani as well as the Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in New York, Mr. Nabeel Munir. The team ended their tour by giving a detailed presentation at Harvard University on the application of international humanitarian law and human rights in Pakistan.
The RSIL delegation comprised of Mr. Jamal Aziz, Executive Director, Mr. Muhammad Oves Anwar, Director Conflict Law Centre and Ms. Maira Sheikh, Senior Research Fellow.

March 2016

RSIL conducted a Workshop on the Legal Aspects of the Bangladesh War Crimes Trials at the Marriot Hotel in Karachi.

February 2016

In collaboration with the American Bar Association, RSIL carried out a Training on Human Rights and Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Legal System in Islamabad at the RSIL Office.

Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi is unanimously elected as the Chairperson of the United Nations Human Rights Expert Advisory Committee at its 16th Session in Geneva.

RSIL held a Workshop on the Legal Aspects of the Bangladesh War Crimes Trials at the Serena Hotel in Islamabad.

November 2015

Mr. Muhammad Oves Anwar, Team Lead at the Conflict Law Centre, RSIL, gave a presentation at the Royal Danish Defence College on Pakistan’s Criminal Justice System.

September 2015

In collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Conflict Law Centre was established at the RSIL Office.

Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi and Mr. Jamal Aziz, Research Fellow, attended the annual Conference on International Humanitarian Law at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo, Italy.

June 2015

Mr. Saad-ur-Rehman Khan, Research Fellow, represented Pakistan at an Expert Session on the Judicial Interpretation of International Humanitarian Law in Geneva, Switzerland.

April 2015

Research Associate, Ms. Aleena Alavi attended the Tallin Manual 2.0 Expert Meeting at the ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015 at the World Forum, Hague, Netherlands.

March 2015

An RSIL delegation, led by Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi, visited the head office of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

December 2014

Mr. Saad-ur-Rehman Khan, Research Fellow, represented Pakistan at the International Committee of the Red Cross’ First Regional Workshop on Legislative Drafting on International Humanitarian Law in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Ms. Aleena Alavi, Research Associate, represented Pakistan at a seminar on ‘International Law and State Behaviour in Cyberspace Series Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar in Seoul, South Korea.

November 2014

Research Fellow, Mr. Jamal Aziz represented Pakistan as a Judge at the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Regional International Humanitarian Law Moot-Court Competition in Tehran, Iran.

August 2014

President RSIL, Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi attends the 13th session of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee from the 11th – 15th of August 2014 in Geneva

May 2014

Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi is appointed as Pakistan’s Co-Agent before the International Court of Justice in The Republic of the Marshall Islands v. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (2014).

RSIL in collaboration with the UNICEF hosted a provincial consultation in Lahore on a proposed Draft Child Labour Law

April 2014

Executive Director, Mr. Ali Sultan attended the 5th South-Asian International Humanitarian Law Conference in Khatmandu, Nepal.

March 2014

Seminar on Counterterrorism Legislation and The Way Forward conducted by RSIL in Islamabad

February 2014

Executive Director, Mr. Ali Sultan visited the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

12th Session of Human Rights Council Advisory Committee attended by President Ahmer Bilal Soofi and Executive Director Ali Sultan

Visit from Peter Lavoy, U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs

December 2013

Democracy Reporting International’s launch of its publication on international election law standards written in conjunction with RSIL

November 2013

RSIL-IP3 Project, 2013

October 2013

RSIL-BHC Project on Anti-Terrorism Reform in Pakistan

September 2013

Mr. Ali Sultan appointed as Executive Director, RSIL

March 2013

Ahmer Bilal Soofi is appointed Interim Minister of Law, Justice, Human Rights and Parliamentary Affairs

January 2012

RSIL inaugurates its new office in Islamabad

October 2011

Mr. Steve Hadley, National Security Advisor to former US President Mr. George Bush, visits RSIL for discussion

March 2011

Ahmer Bilal Soofi was chosen as the member of the Advisory Committee of the United Nations Human Rights Council, during its sixteenth session.

January 2011

Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary of US for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor visits RSIL

June 2010

Candace Putnam, U.S. Consul General, Peshawar, along with Ms. Carmela Conroy US Consul General, Lahore visited RSIL

January 2010

Workshop on the legal aspects of the State of Junagadh

December 2006

Dr. Stephen p. Cohen visits RSIL

June 2006

1st Annual Internship Program

December 2005

1st Annual Fellowship Programme

President of the International Criminal Court, Judge Phillipe Kirsch visited RSIL

Ahmer Bilal Soofi negotiating a Convention in the UN General Assembly, Vienna

March 2003

RSIL’s Formal Inauguration