History of International Law

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A Lateral View of the International System: Responding to the Collapse of Global Government

The human world is beset by unprecedented global problems in a state of unprecedented global disorder. Climate change. Destruction of habitats, exhausting of natural resources, extinction of animal species. Global threats to human health, including plagues and pandemics. War and the threat of war, including new forms, such as cyber war, space war, bacteriological war. Internal wars that are proxy wars, or in which other states intervene directly or indirectly. Inherited, and still threatening, international situations, such as those in the Middle East and the South China Sea and Taiwan, and arising from the scarcity of essential natural resources. Global and local terrorism, supported in some cases by governments. Internationally organised crime and corruption, affecting governments and major economic actors. Failed states, and the descent of democratic states into autocracy. Gross abuse of public power by governments oppressing and exploiting their people. Global and regional intergovernmental systems that have failed to transform the international relations of their members. A globalised economy in which profound and persistent social and economic inequality are sources…

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Making Humanity Greater Again: Self-evolving and self-perfecting

January 20, 2021 is an important date in the history of the United States.  It could be an important date in the history of the human world.  The neo-isolationism of the previous administration was unusual even by American standards.  It succeeded in disrupting all kinds of international system from the UN and UN Specialised Agencies and WTO to…

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The Myth and Mayhem of ‘Build Back Better’: Human Rights Decision-Making and Human Dignity Imperatives in COVID-19

Human rights were already under siege everywhere around the world before COVID-19.  But there is also a dawning race now against reaching the ‘twilight of human rights law’, due to: 1) authoritarian regimes’ dismissal of the relevance of human rights while using this pandemic to expand and consolidate their power, such as to silence speech,…

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Concluding Rejoinder: The Art of International Law and Altruism of International Lawyers

In the introductory essay, I sought to apply The Art of Law in the International Community as a response not only to military force and other ills, but to the COVID-19 pandemic. Four colleagues have contributed on how they believe the book works and could work better. They have done so at a time of extraordinary challenge and…

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The Art of International Law-Making: Musings on The Art of Law in the International Community

The new book of Mary-Ellen O’Connell, The Art of Law in the International Community, has a number of merits. One merit is to have placed extra-positive approaches to law-making back at the centre of the stage. A second merit is to consider their role to explain the rise of two pillars of contemporary international law, namely the…

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