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  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: I think it is difficult to contest that the most important state player in world affairs over the last one hundred years – and consistently so over this period – has been the United States of America. World War I – into which, to borrow from Christopher Clark's justly celebrated book, we 'sleepwalked' – marks a useful starting point. It is not only the fairly important role America played in bringing WWI to an end that signals the beginning of this era, but also the no less important role it played in shaping the aftermath. Wilson's 14 points were considered at the time 'idealistic' by some of the yet-to-be 'Old Powers'. But by dismantling the Ottoman Empire through the principle of self-determination (not at that time a universal legally binding norm) it was an early swallow to the demise, a mere generation later, of all other colonial empires and the truly decisive reshaping of the balance of power in the post-WWII world. The US played an equally cardinal role in ideating and realizing the United Nations Organization and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – two lynchpins of our current world order.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Gaza
  • Author: Mónica García-Salmones Rovira
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The article examines the substance and form of 20th century positivist international law; in particular the way in which each determines the other. The text describes the turn to interests in international law, which evolved slowly in scope and depth. By examining Lassa Oppenheim's focus on 'common interests' that united states and Hans Kelsen's focus on the 'struggle of interests' that constituted politics, the article studies two phenomena produced by the foundational role taken by interests during the 20th century. First, this role contributed to putting an end to the moral discussion about the treatment of native populations. Secondly, it curbed debate about a common political project for a global order, thus creating conformity characterized by abuse of power – all in the name of the neutrality of positivist law. This article suggests that the work of these two leading theoreticians in the field has contributed to the shaping of the legal theory of mainstream positivist international law, and seeks to foreground discussions about the different theories on the role of law in politics. In this manner it aims to help reconceptualize law in such a way as to bring about a situation in which discussions of a common political project for the international arena are more central.
  • Topic: International Law, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrew Williams
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The orthodox view of the ECHR and its Court as regime in the context of both the EU and UK has been that it has considerable value albeit with systemic flaws. The purpose of this article is to challenge this orthodoxy. Four inter-related submissions are made: that the ECHR has failed human rights conceptually (1); 'good' or lauded decisions of the ECtHR cannot remedy or sufficiently counter-balance this conceptual failure (2); 'bad' decisions further expose and exacerbate the failure (3); the procedural problems of the ECHR regime may contribute to the underlying failure of concept but their resolution cannot solve it (4). These submissions are to provoke a more intense assessment of value and how such value could be enhanced. It may be too late to see any influence on the accession process but this does not reduce the relevance of the critique for the future of human rights in both the EU and the UK. Ultimately an approach to the ECHR system needs to determine whether it continues to be lauded or its influence resisted (thus seeking reform or replacement - the alternative candidates being the EU Charter and/or a national Bill of Rights) and retained only as an iconic scheme of moral importance.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe