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1 - Foundations and Functions of International Law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 May 2022

Stefan Talmon
Affiliation:
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
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Summary

This chapter is concerned with Germany’s perspective on the foundations and functions of international law. It is structured in two parts: international law in general and sources of international law. The first part deals with the notion of ‘rules-based order’ as brought forward by Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The term is understood to be broader than ‘international law’. It is argued that the same is putting at risk the principle of sovereign equality, while ultimately undermining the credibility of international law. Secondly, the first part focuses on Germany’s criticism of the United States’ approach to international law with respect to Israel’s occupation of certain Palestinian territories. The third topic addressed in the first part is Germany’s concept of an ‘Alliance for Multilateralism’, which is assessed as a rather loose and incoherent network of primarily European States. The second part discusses a ruling of the German Federal Constitutional Court concerning the state of necessity as a general principle of international law. The decision is grounded in the context of Argentina’s debt crisis. It is argued that the German Constitutional Court did not seize the opportunity to offer a substantive contribution to the question of State bankruptcy.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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