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  • Author: Lauri Mälksoo
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: This review essay examines the main breaks and continuities in the history of international legal theory in Russia. In particular, it draws on works by leading Russian international law scholars: Peter Pavlovich Shafirov (1670-1739), Fyodor Fyodorovich Martens (1845-1909), Baron Mikhail Taube (1869-1956), Vladimir Emmanuilovich Hrabar (1865-1956), Fyodor Ivanovich Kozhevnikov (1893-1998) and Grigori Ivanovich Tunkin (1906-1993). The reception of these theoreticians' works in today's Russia is also examined. The history of the discipline in Russia opens itself up as a civilizational dialogue with (Western) Europe. The main questions have been: Is international law universal or fragmented; what is the progressive force in international law? The Russian theory of international law has moved from proving that 'we too are civilized/European' in the early 18th century to an aspiration towards Western European civilization in the 18th and 19th centuries to the break with the West and an affirmation of Russia's own distinctiveness and primacy in the 20th century. Those who hurriedly celebrated Russia's reunion with Europe (and Western liberal theory of international law) following the end of the Cold War should not lose sight of the longer historical perspective and especially the experiment of the 'civilizing'/Europeanizing/liberalizing project in 19th century Russian and Baltic German international law scholarship.
  • Topic: Cold War, International Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Armin Von Bogdandy
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Cultural diversity is an important political and legal topos in the European Union. At the same time, the concern for cultural diversity gives reason for grave reservations towards the Union. This article intends to assist, on the basis of international law, in distinguishing appearance and reality. The Union will be analysed first as a situation of the application of the international law of cultural diversity, secondly as the regional executive of this international law, and thirdly as its global promoter. It shows that international law and Union law reinforce each other. The former conveys to the Union instruments to pursue European unification which at the same time serve its own implementation. Furthermore, it does not set limits to European unity since it protects only cultural pluralism but not state-supporting distinctiveness. A prerequisite for this consonance is that the Union's constitutional law allows for political unity without cultural unity and that international law remains mute about important questions on European unification. The international law perspective thus does not fully exhaust the problem: conformity with international law alone cannot dissipate concern for the future of cultural diversity in the Union.
  • Topic: International Law, Culture
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Moshe Hirsch
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: International economic law (IEL) is influenced by diverse theoretical approaches. This article emphasizes that international economic activity is a social phenomenon and international trade should also be conceived as a specific type of social interaction. The scarcity of sociological analysis in contemporary IEL literature does not diminish the influence of social factors that are active in the under-explored layer of the international economic arena. Sociological analysis may recast well-known dilemmas in a different manner and generate insights regarding better legal mechanisms for coping with modern challenges faced by IEL. These properties of sociological analysis are illustrated in this article, which addresses one of the most challenging dilemmas in current IEL literature: the relationship between the World Trade Organization (WTO) and regional trade agreements (RTAs). The underlying argument of this article is that the economic dimension of RTAs is overlaid with a sociological dimension. Consequently, the global/regional debate is analysed with new conceptual tools: sociological theories, mainly the structural-functional perspective, the symbolic-interactionist approach, and the social conflict perspective. The core sociological theories lead to different conceptions of IEL and different interpretations of existing WTO legal provisions regarding RTAs. This article argues that while each of the above sociological approaches underscores certain significant aspects of the global/regional debate, the symbolic-interactionist perspective should generally serve as a point of departure for law- and policy-making in this sphere. This approach suggests that the relevant WTO legal rules should be interpreted in a liberal manner.
  • Topic: Economics, International Law, World Trade Organization
  • Author: Thomas Schultz
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The Internet is caught between old forces of local territorialism and new forces characteristic of global economies. As a result, this article maintains that it may end up being carved or fragmented into discrete legal spheres. This development contradicts with the hitherto traditional vision of the Internet as a paradigmatic example of a borderless world of global transnationalism. This fragmentation is taking two forms: one vertical which reflects concerns of public policy and the protection of local values, the other horizontal which is driven by the rationale of commercial efficiency. The former (vertical), if not understood and handled properly, may lead to an informational impoverishment of the Internet. One response to this risk resides in new configurations of the appropriate jurisdictional bases for assertions of state power. I argue in favour of a double standard of jurisdiction for the regulation of Internet content: one, based on the principle of targeting, used to sanction behaviour, the other, an incarnation of the effects doctrine, used to prevent actions and fulfil the cathartic function of law. The latter (horizontal) form of fragmentation should lead us to rethink certain aspects of the concept of law, in particular with regard to legal pluralism, and to discover new places where law is to be found.
  • Topic: International Law
  • Author: Jochen von Bernstorff
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The article explores the genesis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the turn to rights in international law. To this end, it focuses on how international lawyers have received the Declaration in their contemporary doctrinal and political contexts. The fact that the political and moral importance of the Declaration from the very beginning outweighed its concrete legal significance invited intriguing scholarly reflections on the symbolic dimension of the document. Despite early sceptical voices about its legal and moral value, international lawyers welcomed and reaffirmed its significance during the 1960s and 1970s. While attention turned to human rights treaty law in the 1980s, the Declaration embodied the hope for a new era of human rights protection after the end of the Cold War. Throughout the 1990s a new scholarly defence of the universal character of the Declaration could be observed, later being accompanied by new insecurity and soul-searching in the face of institutional limitations. In general, the Declaration became synonymous with the turn to individual rights in international law, and whenever there was a sense of crisis because of institutional blockades or challenged foundations, the Declaration received new and increased attention. It symbolized unity in an increasingly fragmented and contentious institutional and political environment for international human rights protection. The story of its scholarly reception is therefore also a story of the failed and perhaps unattainable attempt fully to institutionalize international human rights in a cosmopolitan legal order.
  • Topic: Cold War, Environment, Human Rights, International Law
  • Author: Jean d'Aspremont
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The concept of soft law which rests on the idea that the binary nature of law is ill suited to accommodate the growing complexity of contemporary international relations has been endorsed by a large number of scholars. It has however remained under the attack of those who are commonly portrayed as positivists. Although it does not seek to rehabilitate positivism as a whole, this article will try to offer a refreshed and modernized account of the positivist objection to soft law. It will accordingly distinguish several types of softness. Such a dichotomy will help to unravel the underlying agenda of some of the staunchest supporters of the concept of soft law. The article will ultimately expound on the proneness of international legal scholars to stretch the limit of their object of study by constantly seizing materials outside the realm of international law in order to alleviate the strain inherent in the contemporary proliferation of international legal thinking.
  • Topic: International Law
  • Author: Chiara Ragni
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: This book offers a thorough and detailed analysis of the doctrinal debate on the controversial question whether state organs are entitled to invoke any kind of immunity, before either international or national tribunals, when accused of committing or ordering the commission of international crimes, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The problem is not merely a theoretical one, given that, since the end of the Second World War and in particular since the Pinochet Affair 1 (decided in 1999 by the British House of Lords), national judges from all over the world have been required to determine whether all state organs can benefit from immunity from jurisdiction and, if so, whether this can cover all the possible violations of international law, including the most serious ones. Initially, and as long as the courts could properly cope with the question of the immunity of former military officers, no problem seemed to emerge with regard to the possibility of judging the latter for crimes committed during a war; however, the choice seemed to be more controversial when the accused were high-ranking representatives of the state and the acts in question were performed in times of peace. The leading case in this regard was the above-mentioned Pinochet case, since it made clear the differing attitudes of judges according to the accused's rank in the state hierarchy and, as the author notes, according to whether or not the person in question was still in office. The debate which ensued with regard to those issues and to the controversial practice which had developed on the subject makes the book reviewed here particularly interesting. First, it has the merit of taking into account the different points of view expressed by scholars dealing with the topic and comparing them with the practice – described in a historical perspective – of international and especially of national courts and tribunals. Secondly, even though the literature on the subject of immunities is quite broad, this work stands out thanks to the author's original approach to the subject and to the accuracy of the analysis conducted.
  • Topic: Crime, International Law
  • Author: Ole Spiermann
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The 20th century saw the transformation of international law into a legal discipline concerned with the practical application of law. It was fuelled by a manifold variety of treaties, procedures and institutions. Still, international lawyers persisted in conceiving and judging their discipline against a background coloured by national legal traditions. International lawyers did not overcome the optimist and evolutionary tradition based on the assumption that international law is but an ever closer approximation of national legal systems; nor did lawyers escape the flip side of this tradition, i.e., doubt and insecurity about international law and its basis. Rather than facilitating international law as a practical discipline, a superficial understanding of internationalism reinforced fetishisms of the discipline's theoretical past, not least the axiom that states only are proper subjects of international law. To a degree, international law has expanded at the price of becoming less separate from national law and national legal traditions.
  • Topic: International Law