Hostname: page-component-5db6c4db9b-mcx2m Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-27T08:39:05.276Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

International Law and Alterity: The State and the Other

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2008

Abstract

This article argues that orthodox international law is committed to the state at the expense of the Other, that which is not the state, and, at a more philosophical level, to ontology at the expense of ethics. Drawing on the philosophy of Emmanuel Lévinas, it seeks a shift from ontology, focusing on Being, to ethics, constituted by our responsibility to the Other. Section 1 argues that international law assumes the natural existence of a Being of the State and that this ontology of statehood constitutes the ontology of international law. Section 2 explains how the ontology of statehood having been transformed into an epistemology ultimately leads to the violent suppression of alterity. Section 3 proposes a number of projects and strategies through which we may pursue the ethics of alterity in international law. The article concludes with a discussion of three tensions within international law: statehood–alterity, ontology–ethics, and law–politics.

Type
ARTICLES
Copyright
Copyright © Foundation of the Leiden Journal of International Law 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

1 G. Simpson, ‘The Guises of Sovereignty’, paper presented at ‘Sovereignty and Its Discontents’ (SAID) workshop, London, January 2006, 7.

2 See, e.g., C. Schreuer, ‘The Waning of the Sovereign State: Towards a New Paradigm of International Law?’, (1993) 4 EJIL 447.

3 C. Navari, ‘On the Withering Away of the State’, in C. Navari (ed.), The Condition of States (1991), 143, at 144.

4 Simpson, supra note 1, at 1.

5 It needs to be stressed at the outset that this paper does not engage with Lévinas's political views on the state and Israel. David Campbell has, however, addressed this topic: D. Campbell, ‘The Deterritorialization of Responsibility: Lévinas, Derrida, and Ethics after the End of Philosophy’, (1994) 19 Alternatives 455.

6 In this article, I use the terms ‘Being’, ‘Self’, and ‘Same’ interchangeably. The term ‘being’ on the other hand refers to the middle or neutral term by which existence is understood and through which alterity is suppressed.

7 This reflects the way in which the language of international law and international relations is wedded to the State as a primary category of thought.

8 É. Lévinas, Totality and Infinity, trans. A. Lingis (1969), 33.

9 É. Lévinas, ‘Is Ontology Fundamental?’, in É. Lévinas, Entre Nous Thinking-of-the-Other, trans. M. Smith and B. Harshav (2006), 1, at 3.

10 Ibid., at 4.

11 É. Lévinas and R. Kearney, ‘Dialogue with Émmanuel Lévinas’, in R. Cohen (ed.), Face to Face with Levinas (1986), 13, at 18–19.

12 Lévinas, ‘Is Ontology Fundamental?’, supra note 9, at 4 (emphasis in original).

14 Ibid., at 5.

15 Ibid., at 6.

16 É. Lévinas, ‘The I and the Totality’, in Lévinas, Entre Nous, supra note 9, 11 at 11.

17 Ibid., at 12.

18 Ibid., at 12.

19 Ibid., at 12.

20 Ibid., at 13.

21 Ibid., at 14.

22 See N. Onuf, ‘Sovereignty: Outline of a Conceptual History’, (1991) 16 Alternatives 425.

23 N. Onuf, ‘Intervention for the Common Good’, in G. Lyons and M. Mastaduno (eds.), Beyond Westphalia? State Sovereignty and Intervention (1995), 43 at 43.

24 J. Ruggie, ‘Territoriality and Beyond: Problematizing Modernity in International Relations’, (1993) 47 International Organization 139, at 159.

25 Onuf, supra note 23, at 49.

26 A. James, ‘The Practice of Sovereign Statehood in Contemporary International Society’, (1999) XL Political Studies 457, at 459.

27 J. Crawford, The Creation of States in International Law (2006), 19–27.

28 S. Pufendorf, De Jure Naturae et Gentium, trans. B. Kennett (2005), para. 689.

29 Crawford, supra note 27, at 61.

30 R. Jennings and A. Watts, Oppenheim's International Law (1993), 125.

31 Simpson, supra note 1, at 8.

32 Arbitration Commission of the European Conference on Yugoslavia, Declaration of 27 August 1991 of the European Community, (1991) Bull. EC, 7/8.

33 J. Bodin, Six Books of the Commonwealth, trans. M. J. Tooley (1967), 28.

34 Crawford, supra note 27, at 33.

35 Onuf, supra note 22, at 439.

36 Ibid., at 437.

37 H. Grotius, De Jure Belli Ac Pacis, trans. F. Kelsey (1925 [1625]), Book 1, at para. XIV.

38 Pufendorf, supra note 28, at para. 672.

39 Ibid., at 464.

40 Onuf, supra note 22, at 432.

41 Grotius, supra note 37.

42 James, supra note 26, at 461.

43 Grotius, supra note 37, paras. 425–426.

44 Bodin, supra note 33, at 25.

45 Onuf, supra note 22, at 463.

46 F. Hinsley, Sovereignty (1966), 26 (emphasis added).

47 E. de Vattel, The Law of Nations, trans. C. G. Fenwick (1916), 6.

48 M. Koskenniemi, From Apology to Utopia (2006), 228 (emphasis in original).

50 This was most notably the opinion of Vitoria: W. Grewe, The Epochs of International Law (2000), 145–7.

51 J. Derrida, ‘Before the Law’, in J. Derrida, Acts of Literature, ed. D. Attridge (1992), 181.

52 T. Walker, A History of the Law of Nations (1899), 31.

53 Jennings and Watts, supra note 30, at 14 (International law depends on ‘the existence of an international community the common consent of whose members is that there shall be a body of rules of law.’).

54 See Derrida, supra note 51. Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that the Westphalian moment is truly mythical: S. Beaulac, ‘The Westphalian Legal Orthodoxy – Myth or Reality?’, (2000) 2 Journal of the History of International Law 148.

55 J. Derrida, ‘Force of Law: The Mystical Foundation of Authority’, (1990) 11 Cardozo Law Review 920.

56 Koskenniemi, supra note 48, at 132.

57 É. Lévinas, ‘Philosophy and Awakening’, in Lévinas, Entre Nous, supra note 9, 66 at 72.

58 É. Lévinas, Existence and Existents, trans. A. Lingis (1978), 85.

59 É. Lévinas, Discovering Existence with Husserl, trans. R. Cohen and M. Smith (1998), 188.

60 Lévinas, supra note 8, at 33–4.

61 Lévinas, ‘Is Ontology Fundamental?’, supra note 9, at 8.

62 Lévinas, supra note 8, at 113.

63 H. Spruyt, The Sovereign State and Its Competitors (1994), 103; Ruggie, supra note 24, at 157.

64 Ruggie, supra note 24, at 179–80.

65 Ibid., at 171–2.

66 Spruyt, supra note 63, at 170 (translation of quotation from Hand-Bernd Spies, ‘Lübeck, die Hanse und der Westfälische Frieden’, (1982) 100 Hansische Geschichtsblätter 110, at 114).

67 Ibid., at 176.

68 A. Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law (2005), 3.

69 Ibid., at 29.

70 Ibid., at 104.

71 M. Koskenniemi, The Gentle Civilizer of Nations (2001), 130.

72 See, e.g., Jennings and Watts, supra note 30, 16–22.

73 R. Higgins, Problems and Process: International Law and How We Use It (1994), 51.

74 Ibid., 47.

75 M. Noortmann, ‘Non-state Actors in International Law’, in B. Arts, M. Noortmann and B. Reinalda (eds.), Non-state Actors in International Relations (2001), 59 at 64.

76 P. Malanczuk, Akehurst's Modern Introduction to International Law (1997), 99.

77 Noortman, supra note 75, at 69.

78 V. Nesiah, ‘Placing International Law: White Spaces on a Map’, (2003) 16 LJIL 1.

79 G. Simpson, ‘The Diffusion of Sovereignty: Self-Determinations in the Post-colonial Age’, (1996) 32 Stanford Journal of International Law 255, at 259.

80 Ibid., at 264–5.

81 Ibid., at 260.

82 Spruyt, supra note 63, at 193.

83 Higgins, supra note 73, at 42.

84 Crawford, supra note 27, at 19–27.

85 P. Fauchille, Traité de droit international public (1922), 28–9; W. Hall, A Treatise on International Law (1909), 39.

86 G. Simpson, Great Powers and Outlaw States (2004), 238.

87 F. de Martens, Traité de droit international, trans. A. Léo (1883), 270–1.

88 G. Schwarzenberger, ‘The Standard of Civilization in International Law’, (1955) 8 Current Legal Problems 212, at 220.

89 T. Walker, A Manual of Public International Law (1895), 7.

90 L. Oppenheim, International Law (1905), 110.

91 Ibid., at 102–3.

92 T. O. Elias, Africa and the Development of International Law, rev. R. Akinjide (1988), 19–20.

93 B. V. A. Röling, International Law in an Expanded World (1960), 47.

95 Koskenniemi, supra note 71, at 174–5.

96 B. Bowden, ‘In the Name of Progress and Peace: The “Standard of Civilization” and the Universalizing Project’, (2004) 29 Alternatives 43, at 53–61.

97 This reflects the way in which international law is seen to penetrate state sovereignty more deeply and in relation to an ever greater number of areas. International law regulates not only the form that political communities must take to constitute an international act and the intercourse between political communities, but increasingly the internal political and economic characteristics of these communities.

98 Simpson, supra note 86; Simpson, supra note 1, at 13–14; G. Simpson, ‘Piracy and the Origins of Enmity’, in M. Craven, M. Fitzmaurice and M. Vogiatzi (eds.), Time, History and International Law (2006), 219.

99 P. Tuitt, Race, Law, Resistance (2004), 96.

100 R. Cover, ‘Nomos and Narrative’, (1983) 97 Harvard Law Review 4, at 46–68.

101 The ‘etc.’ is necessary to denote the infinity or totality of alterity and highlights the essential non-exhaustiveness of any listing of that which is not the State.

102 See Anghie, supra note 68, chapters 1–2.

103 See supra, note 98.

104 Campbell, supra note 5, 455–7.

105 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-international Armed Conflict, 8 June 1977, 1125 UNTS 609, Art. 1(4).

106 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Internal Armed Conflict, 8 June 1977, 1125 UNTS 3, Art. 1(1).

107 C. Af Jochnick and R. Normand, ‘The Legitimation of Violence’, (1994) 35 Harvard International Law Journal 387.

108 Quoted in M. Viorst, ‘The Colonel in His Labyrinth’, (1999) 78 Foreign Affairs 60, at 68.

109 B. Roth, ‘The Enduring Significance of State Sovereignty’, (2004) 56 Florida Law Review 1017, at 1019; James, supra note 26, at 471.

110 W. Benjamin, ‘Critique of Violence’, in M. Bullock and M. Jennings (eds.), Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings (1996), I, 236 at 239.

111 See S. Jodoin, ‘Terrorism as a War Crime’, (2007) 7 International Criminal Law Review 77.

112 Benjamin, supra note 110, 241.

113 For reasons of space and argumentative coherence, this discussion of the ethics of alterity does not include a discussion of the ‘third person’.

114 Lévinas, supra note 8, at 27 (emphasis in original).

115 É. Lévinas, ‘Time and the Other’, in É. Lévinas, The Lévinas Reader, ed. S. Hand and trans. R. Cohen (1989), 37 at 43.

116 Lévinas, supra note 8, at 84.

117 É. Lévinas, Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence, trans. A. Lingis (1981), 159.

118 Lévinas, supra note 8, at 40.

119 Ibid., at 33.

120 Ibid., at 218.

121 Lévinas, ‘Is Ontology Fundamental?’, supra note 9, at 5.

122 Ibid., at 79.

123 Ibid., at 211.

124 Ibid., at 65.

125 Ibid., at 65–6.

126 Ibid., at 189.

127 Lévinas, supra note 8, at 297.

128 Ibid., at 247.

129 Simpson, supra note 1, at 7.

130 Roth, supra note 109, at 1042 (emphasis in original).

131 Ibid., at 1043.

132 M. Koskenniemi, ‘The Future of Statehood’, (1991) 32 Harvard International Law Journal 397, at 407.

133 I address these issues at greater length in S. Jodoin, ‘Critical International Theory – A Critique’ (in progress).

134 See Derrida, supra note 55. See also S. Critchley, The Ethics of Deconstruction (2002).

135 C. Taylor, ‘A Modest Proposal: Statehood and Sovereignty in a Global Age’, (1997) 18 University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law 745, at 753; F. Snyder, ‘Sharing Sovereignty’, (2004) 54 American University Law Review 365.

136 See, e.g., I. Gunning, ‘Modernizing Customary International Law: The Challenge of Human Rights’, (1991) 31 Vanderbilt Journal of International Law 211; D. Rubinton, ‘Towards a Recognition of the Rights of Non-states in International Environmental Law’, (1992) 9 Pace Environmental Law Review 475; J. Mertus, ‘Considering Non-State Actors in the New Millennium: Toward Expanded Participation in Norm Generation and Norm Application’, (2000) 32 New York University Journal of International Law and Policy 537.

137 See, e.g., J. Moore, ‘From Nation State to Failed State: International Protection from Human Rights Abuses by Non-state Actors’, (1999) 31 Columbia Human Rights Law Review 81; I. Gunning, ‘Expanding the International Definition of Refugee: A Multicultural View’, (1989–90) 13 Fordham International Law Journal 35.

138 See J. Mertus, ‘Doing Democracy “Differently”: The Transformative Potential of Human Rights NGOs in Transnational Civil Society’, (1998–9) Third World Legal Studies 205; H. Charlesworth and C. Chinkin, The Boundaries of International law: A Feminist Analysis (2000), 88–95.

139 J. Griffiths, ‘What is Legal Pluralism?’, (1986) 24 Journal of Legal Pluralism 1, at 3.

140 Tuitt, supra note 99, at 97.

141 B. Rajagopal, International Law from Below: Development, Social Movements and Third World Resistance (2003).

142 See, e.g., Charlesworth and Chinkin, supra note 138.

143 D. Otto, ‘Subalternity and International Law: The Problems of Global Community and the Incommensurability of Difference’, (1996) 5 Social and Legal Studies 337.

144 Tuitt, supra note 99, at 101.

145 Ibid., at 114.

146 Campbell, supra note 5, at 469–70.

147 See, e.g., J. Elshtain, ‘Sovereign God, Sovereign State, Sovereign Self’, (1991) 66 Notre Dame Law Review 1355; T. Biersteker and C. Weber (eds.), State Sovereignty as Social Construct (1996).

148 Spruyt, supra note 63, at 55; Ruggie, supra note 22, at 150–1.

149 See Cover, supra note 100.

150 O. Schachter, ‘The Decline of the Nation-State and Its Implications for International Law’, (1997) 36 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 7, 14–15.

151 See Critchley, supra note 134.

152 Lévinas and Kearney, supra note 11, at 27.

153 The defensiveness of international lawyers may also stem from their own anxieties about the primacy of international law – although these anxieties would presumably flow from pre-existing narratives on the nature of law and the nature of international relations.

154 Campbell, supra note 5, at 478.

155 Lévinas and Kearney, supra note 11, at 20 (emphasis in original).

156 Koskenniemi, supra note 48, 224–302 (on the tension between different conceptions of sovereignty).

157 Symposium, ‘Passing Through the Door: Social Movement Literature and Legal Scholarship’, (2001) 150 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1, at 54–5.

158 Lévinas, supra note 8, at 1.

159 Critchley, supra note 134, at 221.

160 General Act of the Conference of Berlin, 26 February 1885, in A. Keith, The Belgian Congo and the Berlin Act (1919), 302–4.