This issue opens with a short, reflective article by Jochen von Bernstorff on the proper role of international legal scholarship. Recapitulating themes and concerns sounded in other articles published earlier in this volume – see, especially, Anne Orford’s ‘Keynote’ and the article by Tilmann Altwicker and Oliver Diggelmann, both in issue 2 – von Bernstorff points to the problematic legacies of positivist 19th-century legal thought and argues that scholarship has the potential to act as a ‘cooling medium’ for international law and politics. In the next article in the issue, Kristina Daugirdas makes a not-dissimilar case for the importance of the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations. Taking the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti as a case study, Daugirdas argues that the Articles may turn out to provide a useful focal point for ‘transnational discourse’ among states and non-state actors about the compliance of international organizations with international law, thereby ultimately accruing to their legitimacy and effectiveness.
Our third article, by Richard Bellamy, continues with the theme of the legitimacy of international organizations. Bellamy takes on political constitutionalist objections that international human rights courts, such as the European Court of Human Rights, lack democratic legitimacy. Rather than reject the premises of those objections he shows how an argument consistent with those premises may be constructed in favour of the European Court of Human Rights. The fourth article in this issue also relates political philosophy to international law. In his article, Oisin Suttle bridges the gap between global justice theory and international economic law, developing a typology of international coercion that promises to illuminate a variety of problems and positions in the regulation of international trade. Look out for the EJIL: Live! interview with Oisin Suttle in which we discuss some of the issues raised by this stimulating article.
Under our regular EJIL: Debate! rubric, Lorand Bartels brings us back to the legal obligations of international organizations. Bartels’ article considers the human rights obligations imposed on the European Union under EU law, in particular in relation to the extraterritorial effects of EU policy measures; and Enzo Cannizzaro provides a thoughtful Reply. The debate will continue on EJIL: Talk! with a Rejoinder by Lorand Bartels to Enzo Cannizzaro. Readers are invited to join the discussion there.
In Roaming Charges, we feature a photograph entitled Places of Permanence and Transition: On the Mekong River. When visiting the Mekong, one may shut one’s eyes and be transported to the 1930s or 40s or 60s or 90s, or indeed to 2014.
This issue offers two ‘bonus’ articles under our occasional series, The European Tradition in International Law. Helmut Aust examines the contribution of André Mandelstam to the development of international human right law. Reut Paz uncovers the largely forgotten career of Helen Silving-Ryu, a student of Hans Kelsen who became the first woman professor of international law in the United States. Both articles approach their subjects with sensitivity to both history and theory. Both make a worthy contribution to the series.
Our occasional series, Critical Review of International Governance, presents yet another example of the flourishing ‘empirical turn’ in international legal scholarship. Drawing on an extensive, original dataset, Thomas Schultz and Cédric Dupont test three commonly-held views about the principal function of investment arbitration. No doubt the debate on this topic will continue, and we welcome readers’ responses on EJIL: Talk!
The Last Page in this issue presents a poem entitled ‘A Pronunciation Lesson’ by Jonathan Shaw.