Michel Erpelding awarded SFDI’s Jacques Mourgeon Prize

5 June 2018

On 31 May 2018, the Société française pour le droit international (SFDI) awarded Michel Erpelding, Senior Research Fellow at the MPI Luxembourg, the 2018 Jacques Mourgeon Prize for the published version of his doctoral thesis.

The Jacques Mourgeon Prize is one of two annual prizes awarded by the SFDI. It was established in 1998 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Initially known as 'Prix des droits de l'homme', it has been renamed in 2005 after its founder, Professor Jacques Mourgeon (1938-2005).

Michel Erpelding's thesis, entitled "The International Anti-Slavery Law of 'Civilized Nations' (1815-1945)", focuses on the origins of the prohibition of slavery in international law, which are situated prior to the emergence of international human rights. The study is based on a systematic survey of relevant State practice, including more than 450 slavery-related treaties. It addresses the ultimately unsuccessful attempts of Western nations to establish a strict distinction between 'actual slavery' and forced labour in international law.

Defended at Sorbonne Law School (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) on 22 March 2017, Michel Erpelding's thesis was published in December 2017, after winning the Varenne University Institute's Dissertation prize in the field of human rights.

The book can be ordered through LGDJ.