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The Is and the Ought of International Constitutionalism: How Far Have We Come on Habermas's Road to a “Well-Considered Constitutionalization of International Law”?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2019


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In recent years, a growing chorus of publicists – lawyers, philosophers, political scientists and others – has discussed and often advocated the “constitutionalization” of international law, i.e. the gradual transformation of the whole or at least parts of international law into a world constitution. These “constitutionalists,” many of them having a German background, point to various recent phenomena such as international legal norms with erga omnes effects and peremptory norms (jus cogens) which seem to establish a hierarchical order of global values, going far beyond the classical inter-State relationships of coexistence and synallagmatic exchange. They further list compulsory judicial or quasi-judicial dispute settlement mechanisms (e.g., in the WTO). The constitutionalists put particular emphasis on the human rights revolution since 1945 and the rise of international criminal law that is administered by various international criminal tribunals – phenomena which have transformed individuals into (partial) subjects of international law alongside the states.

Research Article
Copyright © 2009 by German Law Journal GbR 


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