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Over the last decade international lawyers have been increasingly concerned with the ‘fragmentation’ of international law. However, given that this expression has been repeatedly used by the profession since the mid-nineteenth century to depict the state of international law, one may wonder about its recent revival in the international legal discourse. Why has it re-emerged? What can we learn from previous invocations? An answer may be sought by contextualizing the fragmentation debate in a historical perspective. This brings out the repetitive and relatively stylized modes in which the profession has narrated legal developments. This essay suggests a correlation between periods of crisis in general and a critical view of fragmentation on the one hand, and periods of scholarly enthusiasm and the prevalence of positive views about fragmentation on the other. This analysis sheds critical light on both the implicit assumptions and political implications of the current debate on fragmentation.
The question of international law's role in progressive politics has become increasingly important. This is reflected in an upsurge in scholarship dealing with international law's relationship to imperial power and its progressive potential. There has also been an increase in the number of Marxist accounts of international law, with China Miéville's Between Equal Rights being particularly important. Miéville's book is very pessimistic as to the progressive potential of international law. This article contests Miéville's claims by examining his accounts of legal subjectivity, violence, and indeterminacy, and argues that international law's content is open to progressive appropriations. However, the ‘form’ of international law limits its ability to criticize systemic or structural problems, so that it has very little transformative potential. A progressive politics of international law must therefore take advantage of content without falling foul of form. The article finally enquires whether in some extraordinary situations international law might be transformative.
The difficulty in identifying the contours of the international regulation of the use of force is not merely the product of the highly politicized character of this area of international law, let alone of the divide between theory and practice. This paper submits that the problem rather lies in the fact that the interpretive community that produces the official discourse on the use of force is no longer able to agree on the way in which legal categories and interpretive techniques should be used to identify the applicable law. A reflexive consideration, by all actors involved, of the method by which the discourse on the use of force is formed seems to be necessary in order to establish or restore, within that interpretive community, the societal consensus needed to provide the international community with a common understanding of the extant regulatory framework and its scope of application.
Judge Buergenthal argues that the increased acceptance by states of international human rights obligations proclaimed in UN and regional treaties, reinforced by the jurisprudence of international and regional tribunals, accounts for the substantial progress that has been made in the protection of human rights throughout the world. The resultant political significance of international human rights law and the international community's growing expectation of compliance with that law explain why states engaging in large-scale human rights violations increasingly risk serious political and economic consequences for such practices. A state's continuing non-compliance with its international human rights obligations tends also to lead to the gradual loss by its government of the national and international legitimacy it needs in order to govern, which may in time contribute to its fall.
The chief aim of this article is to unearth, explicate, and contextualize the various techniques on which Mahmut Esat, Turkey's agent before the Permanent Court of International Justice in the Lotus case, drew in order to narrate a fresh understanding of Turkish ‘nationhood’ during a period of intense vulnerability for the newly established Republic. The argument advanced by Turkey in this case – that it need not demonstrate the existence of a specific jurisdictional exception in international law in order to proceed with its prosecution of the French captain of the Lotus, a French vessel – has often been dismissed as an example of cynical apologetics. Nevertheless, a close reading of Turkey's pleadings reveals that it was inclined to oscillate between a variety of universalistic and particularistic approaches, Esat litigating the Lotus with an eye to exploiting the schism that lies at the heart of the concept of ‘civilization’ so as to submit Turkey to the normative authority of the international legal system while bolstering its positive power as an independent sovereign state. More specifically, it was by merging two modes of reasoning – the one prizing systematicity, the other prioritizing sovereignty – that Esat sought to construct a new, robustly reconciliatory identity for the ‘Turkish nation’, one that would enable it to embrace its commitment to international order by securing its place in ‘la civilisation contemporaine’ while amplifying the ambit of its autonomy as ‘un état civilisé’.
Hans Kelsen is known both as a legal theorist and as an international lawyer. This article shows that his theory of international law is an integral part of the Kelsenian Pure Theory of Law. Two areas of international law are analysed: first, Kelsen's coercive order paradigm and its relationship to the bellum iustum doctrine; second, the Kelsenian notion of the unity of all law vis-à-vis theories of the relationship of international and municipal law. In a second step, the results of Kelsenian general legal theory of the late period – as interpreted and developed by the present author – are reapplied to selected doctrines of international law. Thus is the coercive order paradigm resolved, the unity of law dissolved, and the UN Charter reinterpreted to show that the concretization of norms as positive international law cannot be unmade by a scholarship usurping the right to make law.
This article focuses on Antonio Gramsci's hegemony theory. Hegemony, for Gramsci, is a particular way of living and thinking, a Weltanschauung (world-view), on which the preferences, taste, morality, ethics, and philosophical principles of the majority are based. Social struggles are transformed into legal ones in the course of processes in which juridical intellectuals are organizing hegemony under the special conditions of the legal system. We try to use this concept to contrast it with the prevailing readings of hegemony in international relations and in international law. ‘Hegemonic law’, we argue, is not the law of any superpower, but an asymmetric consensus which relies on a climate of world-society-wide recognition. The concrete form of hegemonic law under particular social conditions depends on the ‘historical bloc’, in which it is coupled with other social praxes. In the post-Westphalian system the historical bloc is fragmented into transnational and colliding legal regimes and law-generating processes in civil society.
This article uses the contested independence of Kosovo as an opportunity to re-examine the theoretical imagery behind the concept of self-determination, and then confront those findings with the more recent approaches to polity formation from other theoretical genres: normative theories of secession, on the one hand, and the global governance approach to self-determination, on the other. What emerges from the encounter between these bodies of thought is not a new interpretation, or a theory of self-determination and its relationship to uti possidetis, but rather a plea for an approach to polity formation which is simultaneously critical and prudential. That is, an approach which would accept the role of external actors as inevitable, but goes further and unmasks them as complicit in labelling certain projects as ‘civic’ and ‘multicultural’ on the one hand and ‘ethno-nationalist’ on the other. Equally, the proposed approach reveals the ever-present aspiration to unanimity as a concealed ideal of polity formation, shared by both the ‘civic’ and the ‘ethnic’ variants of self-determination. Finally, this approach to polity formation sketches the contours of an alternative, thin vision of a political community – one not wearing the badge of peoplehood – one glued together not by normative imperatives of participation and solidarity, but rather by the acknowledgement of geopolitical fiat.
The future of international law is uncertain. The long-hoped-for revitalization of international law and its institutional structures following the end of the Cold War now seems at risk from an increasing deformalization of, and neo-liberal disregard for, international law. Meanwhile European international lawyers are responding by reasserting a Kantian project for a global constitution under an international rule of law. In this article I attempt to position these recent claims that the international legal order is undergoing a process of constitutional transformation in the context of a long-standing connection, since at least the post-revolutionary nineteenth century, between the idea of a positive international law and the emerging structures of the European constitutional nation-state. If one can trace a cosmopolitan or constitutional project to the influence of domestic public law from this time, one can also trace the inherent tension between international law's promise of a substantive ‘good life’, or sense of justice, and its purported legitimacy in a commitment to a voluntarist, or contractarian, form of obligation. These simultaneous commitments seem incompatible, but are inseparable from international law's embedded liberalism, which requires interplay between them to make sense of progress in the absence of any explicit underlying philosophy. In tracing similarities in concerns from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first, as well as repetitions in legal arguments, I suggest that the alternatives of American empire and a (European) vision of global constitutionalism are merely necessary oppositions, reflecting this broader tension underlying the discipline. Because lawyers avoid clarity on what is taken for granted in a leap from (selective) empirical realism towards assertive normative ambition, I argue that it is a mainstream, liberal-juridical consciousness – rather than any explicit legal theory – which continues to sustain shared assumptions about international law's past, as well as a promise of a future liberal world order. The apparently opposing visions of future world order are merely different sides of the same coin: each reflecting back, but each ultimately sustained by the other.
HAGUE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS: International Court of Justice
This article was prompted by the retirement of Dame Rosalyn Higgins as judge and president of the International Court of Justice in February 2009. It reviews her brilliant career as law professor, barrister, advocate before various international courts, and international arbitrator. The major part of the article deals with her role as judge and president of the ICJ and her impact on the elaboration and development of international law by the Court.
The familiar critical claim that propositions of international law cannot be both objective and normative casts a long shadow over international legal theory. The claim relies on the conjunction of two ideas: first, that the truth-conditions of any proposition of international law will include some element of evaluative judgement (about the right or the good) that gives the proposition its normative character, and, second, that evaluative judgements cannot be objectively true or false. International lawyers have two main strategies for defending their discipline against this sceptical challenge. A more modest strategy would accept that legal objectivity and normativity are incompatible and attempt to sidestep the sceptical critique by abandoning the claim to normativity. A second and more ambitious strategy would resist the sceptical challenge by disputing the plausibility of its attack on the objectivity of evaluative judgements. This strategy would rely on the claim that objectivity and normativity are not mutually incompatible and that the aim of producing an account of international law that displays both features is realistic. My aim in this paper is to show that there exists at least one version of this second strategy that can succeed against the sceptical challenge. I argue that scepticism about values is incoherent and, therefore, that the opposition between the objectivity and the normativity of international law is illusory. Setting such scepticism aside will allow international lawyers to concentrate fully on the substantive normative questions that drive theories of international law and on the values that provide the best account of its content.
HAGUE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS: International Court of Justice
This article examines the reasoning and findings of the International Court of Justice in its judgment in Djibouti v. France on issues pertaining to the immunities and inviolability of state officials. While recognizing the Court's contribution to the clarification of certain aspects of the legal regime of the immunities and inviolability of state officials, the article emphasizes a number of points on which a clear response cannot be found in the judgment. Moreover, some concerns or doubts are raised about the way in which the Court dealt with certain issues regarding, in particular, the classification of immunities, their scope, their implementation, and the acts precluded by their operation. The Court's judgment clearly shows the complexities surrounding the legal treatment of numerous aspects of a topic which continues to be of the highest importance and sensitivity in international law and international relations.
HAGUE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS: International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
This quantitative study analyses the sentencing practice of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The sentencing process is only loosely regulated by the ICTY Statute, and consequently it is not clear how judges exercise their broad discretionary sentencing powers in practice. By analysing the existing case law, legal factors influencing the sentencing decisions are examined. The extent to which the selected factors predict sentence length is tested in a multiple regression analysis. The analysis suggests that the sentence can be to a large extent predicted by legal criteria. The number of offences and the rank of the offender are the strongest predictors of sentence length in the model.
Collectives and their interrelations are central to international law. Legal relations between collectives can be analysed with reference to the classic account of Hohfeld without reducing those collectives to mere aggregates of individuals and without recourse to the legal fiction of treating the collective, for example the state, as a quasi-individual. The rights of collectives have been widely if not conclusively explored within international law, but Hohfeld's ‘field’ approach to legal relations enables the scrutiny of the range of relations, including immunities, liberties, powers, and disabilities, as well as claim-rights and the corresponding obligations in others. The main substantive topics for discussion are the legal relations of collective entities such as peoples and minorities, and closely related matters such as self-determination. Applying Hohfeldian analysis to international law highlights the centrality of international collective entities of which the state represents only one variety. The approach described here therefore takes account of the dethroning of the state within contemporary international law and contributes to the theorization of that development. Nearly one hundred years after its first appearance, Hohfeld's analytic scheme continues to generate insights for international law.
HAGUE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS: International Criminal Court and Tribunals
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued its third confirmation decision against Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo,1 the former president of the rebel Mouvement de Libération du Congo (MLC) and commander in chief of its military wing, the Armée de Libération du Congo (ALC).2 The decision is, in principle, to be welcomed, since it constitutes a further consolidation of the ICC case law and breaks new ground in some important areas, for example the law of crimes against humanity (Art. 7 of the ICC Statute3)4 and command responsibility (Art. 28).5 From an outsider's perspective it also seems that the Chamber, on the basis of the available (disclosed) evidence, took the right decision when it changed the Prosecutor's liability from (co-)perpetration (Art. 25(3)(a)) to command responsibility. Yet there are some fine legal-technical points where the Chamber did not dig deep enough, incurred conceptual errors, or drew some illogical conclusions. These issues shall be discussed briefly here, not in a destructive spirit but to contribute constructively to the improvement of the future case law.
The provisions of the ICC Statute allowing victims to participate in the criminal proceedings in their own right were a novel feature in international criminal proceedings. While representing a welcomed restorative element, victim participation has been a time and resource consuming issue for the ICC to handle. After a number of decisions concerning participation in the investigation and pre-trial phases of the process, the trial chamber in the Lubanga case and the Appeals Chamber have issued the first rulings with respect to victim participation at trial. This note addresses these decisions and controversial issues therein, such as the nexus between the victim and the crime charged and the victim's right to adduce and challenge evidence. One may now ask whether victims as ‘participants’ are in fact becoming ‘parties’ to the criminal proceedings.
Witness proofing – or witness preparation – has been common practice at the ad hoc criminal tribunals but was prohibited in the first trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) (the Lubanga case). The ad hocs have robustly defended the practice, claiming that it assists the efficient presentation of evidence and enhances the truth-finding process. This article examines the way in which the ad hocs have allowed the process to become an integral feature of their procedural regimes without sufficient examination of these apparent merits. The ad hocs appear to have accepted that prohibiting the parties from rehearsing, practising, and coaching evidence was in the interests of justice, but yet – in the uncritical acceptance of the benefits of proofing – have sanctioned practices which are impossible to distinguish. The Lubanga case represented a welcome attempt by the ICC to examine proofing and its attendant risks and, for the reasons outlined in the article, the chambers arrived somewhere close to the right decision.
HAGUE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS: International Criminal Court
The argument against factoring peace processes into the discretion of the ICC Prosecutor is based on the premise that international law can be decontextualized from international politics and that in doing so will have superior consequences in terms of deterring atrocity and in consolidating peace. This view is at odds with the history of international criminal tribunals and the cases currently under review by the ICC. Those episodes demonstrate that the effectiveness of international criminal justice and its impact on peace are shaped and constrained by the political strategies of conflict resolution used by states and intergovernmental organizations to end criminal violence. Hence the Prosecutor should construe his discretion broadly to take account of the political context in which international criminal law has to operate.
HAGUE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS: International Court of Justice
This article comments on Jörn Griebel and Milan Plücken's recent analysis in the Leiden Journal of International Law of the approach of the International Court of Justice to state responsibility in its judgment in the Genocide (Bosnia v. Serbia) case. The article also provides more general remarks on the law of state responsibility as it pertains to acts of non-state actors. In that regard, it discusses attribution based on de facto organ status and attribution based on direction and control, as well as whether, as a matter of policy, the law of state responsibility meets the needs of the modern world.
HAGUE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS: International Criminal Court and Tribunals
In Martić, the ICTY held that the term ‘civilian’ in the chapeau of crimes against humanity excludes persons hors de combat, but that such persons may still be victims of crimes against humanity. This paper analyses that holding and its applicability before the ICC. It observes that the holding may result in additional protection to prisoners of war, leave the group of victims of crimes against humanity undefined, and render the term ‘civilian’ in the chapeau nugatory. Some recommendations are offered in these regards.