International Law in Art, Literature, Thought

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Codification Illustrated: 70 years of the International Law Commission in pictures

In 2018, a photo exhibition illustrating 70 years of ILC activities was shown in New York and Geneva, and later in Bangkok, The Hague and Washington. In view of its success, the Codification Division, which organised the exhibition – and which ensures the Commission’s secretariat – has taken the initiative of publishing a brilliantly illustrated and intelligently commented booklet, also available on the Internet (https://legal.un.org/ilc/publications/pdfs/ilc_exhibit_book.pdf). This is a pleasant way not only of highlighting the work carried out by the ILC since its creation but also of taking stock of public international law as it stands today. Reading the book, one realises that the main areas of international law have been covered, albeit unevenly, by the Commission’s work. There are, of course, the elements of the “constitution” of the international society, those monuments that are the conventions on diplomatic and consular relations or the law of treaties and the 2001 Articles on State Responsibility, but also all the projects devoted to more special subjects though often central to international relations: the law of…

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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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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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Aesthetic Philosophy and the Art of Law in the International Community

Inspired by Sir Hersch Lauterpacht’s writings, Mary Ellen  O’Connell, in the Art of Law in the International Community, provides a contemporary response to the ever increasing erosion by states –in the majority of  cases based on self-interest - of the most fundamental peremptory norm of the international legal order, the prohibition of the use of…

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