We open this issue with two articles addressing the changing relationships between states and international organizations in contemporary international law. Andrew Guzman argues that the fear of creating a ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ explains the current overall configuration of international institutions and the distribution of activities between them. Describing the various categories of activity carried out by international organizations, Guzman concludes that the ‘Frankenstein problem’ has made states overly cautious in endowing international organizations with the powers needed to effectively tackle international issues. In an article that provides a nice complement to Guzman’s analysis, Geraldo Vidigal-Neto examines the important issue of the ability of WTO members to amend their WTO obligations through bilateral arrangements that effectively legislate regarding the interpretation of WTO law inter se, situating this phenomenon within the range of possible ways in which the content of WTO law can be altered.
This issue’s symposium on the International Law Commission’s recent Guide to Practice on Reservations to Treaties reaffirms EJIL’s commitment to the study of international legal doctrine. EJIL is as much a Law Journal as a Journal about the Law. An introduction to the symposium by Marko Milanovic and Linos-Alexander Sicilianos is followed by a ‘General Presentation’ of the Guide to Practice by the Special Rapporteur, Alain Pellet. Three additional articles, by Michael Wood, Daniel Müller, and Ineta Ziemele and Lasma Liede, explore different aspects of the Guide to Practice and reservations to treaties generally.
In Roaming Charges, we feature Places of Destruction and Rebirth, with a photograph of a remnant of the Kraków Ghetto Wall.
Two more entries in this issue under our rubric EJIL: Debate! provide occasions for the kind of spirited discussion of international legal issues that we encourage in the Journal. An article by Andrew Williams assesses the case against the European Convention on Human Rights, including the ‘heretical’ proposition that the Convention has failed human rights conceptually and should be done away with. In his Reply, Stelios Andreadakis defends the Convention and argues that the flaws identified by Andrew Williams are far from fatal. The second EJIL: Debate! in this issue continues a conversation that began with an article by Abigail Deshman in issue 22:4, on the phenomenon of horizontal review between international organizations, the Council of Europe and World Health Organization. Rosa Raffaelli argues that a number of additional reasons, not noted by Deshman, can explain the behaviour of the two parliamentary bodies in these organizations.
We continue our occasional series, Critical Review of International Governance, with a piece by Gurdial Nijar on traditional knowledge systems. Taking Malaysia as a particular example, Nijar describes the applicable national and international law regimes, identifies the ways that both have failed to provide sufficient recognition and support for traditional knowledge systems, and surveys a variety of initiatives that might offer a way forward.
The Last Page in this issue presents a poem by one of our regular contributors, Greg Shaffer, entitled ‘Cashmere from Rachungkaru’. We take this opportunity again to invite our readers to submit ̶ and to spread the word about our interest in ̶ poems which reflect in some way, direct or indirect, the world in which we live, the world we strive to change for the better, the world with its many contradictions that international law seeks to address.