History of International Law

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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 legal regulation of the use of force and the rules (or more precisely the meta-rules) on jus cogens. The centre of gravity of this book lies precisely at the intersection between natural law, jus cogens and the ban of unilateral use of force: a fertile ground for legal speculation. There is much food for thoughts in the various threads departing from this dangerous crossroad. I will go along what appears to me the main thread, namely the role of extra-positive elements in the formation and development of the notion and of jus cogens and of the legal regulation of the use of force. From a methodological perspective, these two regimes do have a common…

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Quo Vadis? The Future of International Dispute Settlement through the Art of Law in the International Community

Reading Professor O'Connell's latest opus, The Art of Law in the International Community, one cannot help but see its (deliberate or unintended?) twinning with Hersch Lauterpacht's The Function of Law in the International Community. O'Connell argues for a reimagination of modern international law through three propositions, which respond to and further engage Lauterpacht's  limitations on the…

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The Nightmare and the Noble Dream: An International Law Edition

Mary Ellen O’Connell’s sweepingly ambitious The Art of Law in the International Community is fueled by a sense of urgency: in a world facing a “‘piecemeal’ World War III’, (p. 15), international law, which was intended as a tool to save mankind from itself, is itself in a state of crisis.

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We Can ‘Recover Better’ Through The Art of Law in the International Community

Editor's Note:  This week, EJIL:Talk! runs its first Book Discussion for the year 2020.  As a timely thematic reflection for all international lawyers and international law academics contemplating the role, function, and purposes of the international legal system at this time of a shared global emergency, we are featuring Professor Mary Ellen O'Connell's Hersch Lauterpacht Memoral…

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Statelessness is back (not that it ever went away…)

Citizenship deprivation and statelessness are very much back in fashion. States increasingly resort to such measures to deal with those returning from foreign wars, or as a sanction for those otherwise deemed undesirable and unwanted – it must certainly seem easier than living up to their obligations actually to combat terrorist activities or war crimes or crimes against…

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