Dr Federica Paddeu is a Cambridge Early Career Fellow and will be at CRASSH in Michaelmas Term 2019.

‘Economic relations with occupied territories: the international legal framework’

Under international law, States prohibited from recognising, or cooperating in the maintenance of, unlawful territorial situations. These mostly involve situations in which territory has been occupied by a State in a manner contrary to international law (either by the use of force, or in violation of the right to self-determination). There has been, and there remains, considerable uncertainty as to what types of behaviour amount to recognition or cooperation with States unlawfully occupying territory. The uncertainty is particularly acute in the field of economic relations in respect of unlawfully occupied territories, as these relations are the object of two opposing forces. On the one hand, the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial body of the United Nations, held in 1971 that entering into treaties on economic matters amounted to (prohibited) recognition/cooperation. On this basis, the ECJ has recently held that the EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement, for example, does not apply to the territory or the waters off the coast of Western Sahara, which the UN classifies as non-self-governing territory entitled to self-determination. At the same time, the Court held that the peoples of these territories ought not to be deprived of the benefits of international cooperation. So what does this mean in practice? What behaviours of States with respect to these territories would fall foul of the prohibition of recognition/cooperation, and which would amount to enabling the local territories to benefit from international cooperation? The field of economic relations provides some useful instances of practice against which to test this rule of international law. These include the EU’s rules of origin, applied to Israel in relation to produce from Occupied Palestinian Territories; AirBnB’s policy towards the listing of homes in Occupied Palestinian Territories; the use of credit card circuits in Crimea; UEFA’s decision not to recognise Crimean football teams as part of the Russian football league, etc. With this research, I hope to bring some clarity as to the precise scope of the obligations of non-cooperation and non-recognition of unlawfully occupied territories in the field of economic relations.

This research is the first step towards a broader project about the role of international law in the regulation of relations between States and irregular territorial entities (namely entities that are not recognised as States), which is intended to test the place of States as the exclusive territorial subjects of international law.


Dr Federica Paddeu is a Law Fellow at Queens’ College and a fellow of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. She holds an undergraduate degree in law from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB), in Caracas, Venezuela; an LLM and PhD in international law from Cambridge; and, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PGDipLATHE) form the Oxford Learning Institute, University of Oxford. At Cambridge, she was awarded the Clive Parry Prize in International Law (for the top marks in international law in the LLM by a non-native speaker) and the Yorke Prize in recognition of the ‘exceptional quality’ of her PhD dissertation ‘which makes a substantial contribution to its field of legal knowledge’ by the Faculty of Law. Her PhD was published by CUP in 2018 as Justification and Excuse in International Law: Concept and Theory of General Defences and her research has been published in the top international law journals, including the British Yearbook of International Law and the Leiden Journal of International Law. Dr Paddeu frequently contributes to international law blogs and Venezuelan media outlets on matters involving international law. She has also authored and contributed to legal reports on human rights issues including, most recently a report on Protection of Children in Armed Conflict, published in 2018 by Hart, and prepared under the chairmanship and lead authorship of Shaheed Fatima QC (Blackstone Chambers), as part of the Inquiry on Protecting Children in Armed Conflict launched by the UN Special Envoy for Global Education and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and produced a legal report which was published in 2018 by Hart as Protecting Children in Armed Conflict. In 2018 she was also a Research Associate of the Following Grenfell: The Human Rights and Equality Dimension of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Dr Paddeu is the Director of Studies of the British Branch of the International Law Association and a member of the Academic Research Panel of Blackstone Chambers (London). Her main research interests are the law of State responsibility, in particular defences to State responsibility, the law on the use of force and the law of foreign investment.


Tel: +44 1223 766886