Pearce Clancy

Pearce Clancy

Research Topic: Permanent Neutrality in International Law

Pearce Clancy is an Irish Research Council PhD scholar at the Irish Centre for Human Rights and is the current NUI EJ Phelan Fellow in International Law. His research concerns the concept of permanent neutrality in international law. Pearce holds a Bachelor of Civil Law (International) from the School of Law in the University of Galway and is a graduate of the Centre’s LL.M programme in peace operations, humanitarian law and conflict. Prior to re-joining the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Pearce worked as a legal researcher for Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organisation based in the occupied West Bank. Pearce is the editor of the Irish Centre for Human Rights Blog and is a correspondent for the Irish Yearbook of International Law.

Permanent neutrality refers to a legal status whereby a state is bound to remain neutral in all future international armed conflicts, and to avoid any entanglements during peacetime which may render this impossible. It may be based in either bilateral and multilateral treaties, or unilateral declarations made by states. This is distinct from the neutrality of traditionally voluntarily neutral states, such as Ireland, which is not based in any concrete domestic or international legal obligation. Contemporary examples of permanently neutral states include Switzerland, Austria, Costa Rica, Malta, and Turkmenistan, whereas previous examples include Belgium, Luxembourg, and Laos. Pearce’s research charts the legal processes through which permanent neutrality may come about, how it may end, and aims to identify the rights and duties of a permanently neutral state.


Scholarships and Awards:

  • Irish Research Council PhD Scholar 2021-2024.
  • National University of Ireland EJ Phelan Fellow in International Law 2022-2024.

Supervisor: Professor Ray Murphy

Select Publications:

  • ‘Arise, Sleeping Beauty: What PESCO Means for Ireland’ (2020) 15 Irish Yearbook of International Law 79-98.
  • ‘The ICC and Palestine: Breakthrough and End of the Road?’ (2021) 50(3) Journal of Palestine Studies 56-68 (with Richard Falk).
  • ‘Ntaganda and the ‘Conduct of Hostilities Crimes’’ (EJIL:Talk!, 20 August 2021), available at:
  • ‘Permanent Neutrality and the UN Security Council’ (2021) 32(1) Irish Studies in International Affairs 241-259.
  • ‘Palestine and the Meaning of Domination in Settler Colonialism and Apartheid’ (2021) 6(6) Revista República y Derecho 1-30 (with Rania Muhareb).
  • ‘Ireland, Ukraine, and the International Law of Neutrality’ (Irish Centre for Human Rights Blog, 4 March 2022), available at:
  • ‘The Law of Neutrality: Jus ad Bellum or Jus in Bello?’ (2022) 13(2) Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies 353-361.
  • ‘Neutral Arms Transfers and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine’ (forthcoming, International and Comparative Law Quarterly).