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This Article illustrates the functional and conceptual variances of law in different contexts. Whereas legal actors on the international level might normatively aim for law to have a similar effect to that of domestic law, the way in which international and supranational law can fulfill these potential functions is different. Accordingly, this Article argues that an awareness of the particularities and challenges that the potential functions of law encounter in the international and supranational context is needed. Moreover, it suggests an analytical lens to conceptually frame and locate current developments, offering a broader perspective on—or even an element of explication for—the apparent crisis that law is currently facing on the international and supranational scale. After describing the potential functions of law on an abstract scale and grouping them into analytical categories, the Article uses these categories as a lens in order to assess in which way international law can fulfill these potential functions, where priorities regarding certain functions might differ, and where some aspects of these functions are challenged when law is made and applied in the international and supranational sphere.
Scholars today discuss international law from various methodological angles. This Article aims to add perspectives from cognitive science, namely cognitive sociology and cognitive linguistics, or, to be more precise, cognitive pragmatics. It briefly elaborates on these fields’ respective approaches, benefits, and limits. To clearly delineate the usefulness of the methodologies, this Article separately applies both approaches to the same example of a process of interpretation in international law. This Article concludes that the two cognitive approaches can help lawyers better understand and implement international law. This not only provides a description of the process of interpretation, but will hopefully enable a better practice of international law.
A new era of responsibility seems poised to overshadow the human rights discourse in international law. On the one hand, introducing the perspective of responsibility must result in an added value when compared to the former predominant approach. In fact, some justifications are inconsistent, and the most radical interpretations jeopardize the very core of the modern theory of social and legal order—namely, the centrality of the individual. On the other hand, the incorporation of responsibility into the discourse on rights may help to overcome some of its most evident shortcomings. Nonetheless, despite some positive outcomes which the new attention on responsibility may bring about, the concept is flawed by at least two major deficits. First, the reference to responsibility tends to presuppose the possibility of taking the position of a privileged observer. This implicitly rejects the idea that the moral and legal community is essentially constituted by human individuals who freely recognize each other as equal members and rightful holders of entitlements. The second deficit is instead related to the intrinsically particularistic character of responsibility, which makes it rather difficult to apply to the field of international law and relations. An analysis shows that we are confronted with a conflict: while responsibility can, in fact, be assumed to bring an added value, the costs for this are exceedingly high, because they amount to no less than the abandonment of the core concept of modern moral and political philosophy. By recurring to the communicative paradigm of rationality and social order, a possible solution is outlined according to which responsibility is reinterpreted in the sense of a time, space, composition, and content-related expansion of mutual recognition.
More than any other EU institution, the Court of Justice of the European Union has upheld the presumption of mutual trust in EU criminal law cooperation. Surprisingly though, despite mutual trust’s centrality in the Court’s jurisprudence, it has long not qualified nor properly elaborated the notion of trust, but rather held on to its presumed existence based on a high level of fundamental rights protection throughout the Union. This article will assess the important role of the Court in establishing, upholding and ultimately qualifying the trust presumption in the EU criminal justice context. Along the lines of a number of key cases, the narrative of a strong defence of (the presumption of) mutual trust appears, but also of an evolution toward more room for rebuttal in recent cases. This signals the increased weight given to fundamental rights protection in the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice.
Incitement by police officers is a well-known and often utilized police measure in the German investigation process. Yet, when it comes to prosecuting the perpetrators, a moral conflict arises. Should a State, bound by its own constitution and committed to protect its citizens, be allowed to incite or support a possible offender and afterwards judge on his or her wrongful actions? After Germany’s higher courts had to deal with multiple cases of entrapped perpetrators, there has been a strong debate about the admissibility, requirements, and consequences of entrapment within the German legal system. International and national courts as well as scholars represent different legal standpoints in this regard. In particular, the approaches of the European Court of Human Rights and the German Federal Court of Justice differ significantly in their results. As Germany ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and therefore has to adhere to the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling, an additional legal conflict arises. This article depicts and discusses the most relevant approaches to resolve this moral and legal conflict and satisfy both the need for effective prosecution and the procedural rights of the individual person subject to the act of entrapment. Additionally, recent legislative ambitions are presented.