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  • Author: Andrew Guzman
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: In the classic novel, Frankenstein , Doctor Frankenstein creates a living creature in the hope of cheating death. The monster turns against Doctor Frankenstein and kills several people, causing the doctor to regret his decision to make the monster in the first place. When states establish an international organization (IO), they create an institution with a life of its own. In doing so, states risk the institution becoming a monster and acting contrary to their interests. In contrast to Frankenstein, however, states are aware of this risk and are able to guard against it. This article explains that much of the existing landscape of international organizations has been formed by the state response to this 'Frankenstein problem'. The effort by states to avoid creating a monster explains, among other things, why there are so many IOs, why they vary so widely in scope, and the manner in which they are permitted (and not permitted) to affect international law and international relations. The article also identifies the four types of activities that IOs are typically allowed to undertake and explains how states choose which activities to place within which organizations. In addition to providing a new analytical perspective on IOs and how states use them, the article advances the normative argument that states have been too conservative. As if they learned the lessons of Frankenstein too well, states have been reluctant to give IOs the authority necessary to make progress on important global issues. Though there is a trade-off between the preservation of state control over the international system and the creation of effective and productive IOs, states have placed far too much weight on the former and not nearly enough on the latter.
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Loveday Hodson
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: This article places the UN Women's Committee at its centre in order to consider the normative implications of having a space within the realm of international law that is headed by women decision-makers, whose remit is specifically gendered and whose task is to uphold the rights of women. It suggests that the Committee's importance has largely been overlooked, which is a considerable oversight. The Committee is uniquely positioned to contribute to the transformation of human rights norms, occupying, as it arguably does, positions simultaneously at the centre and at the periphery of international law. In particular, this article examines the jurisprudence that has emerged under the individual complaints procedure of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and questions how far the Committee has been able to develop women's rights in recent years into a body of law that departs from the normative and structural limitations of international human rights laws.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United Nations