International Law in Art, Literature, Thought

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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 force. Such a response requires a renewal of the theory of international legal process (p. 6) consisting of a new approach to natural law (p. 7) drawing “on the arts and aesthetic philosophy “ and resulting in a fascinating “distinctive approach“ (p. 1).  The prohibition on the use of force and the peaceful settlement of disputes are the two interconnected fundamental pillars of the international legal order.  Peace can only be maintained by a strict interpretation and compliance with the prohibition - allowing no room for derogation – and a revitalized process of peaceful resolution of disputes.  The political theory of realism ignores natural law and manipulates customary international law…

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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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Intergenerational Reflections on International Law: An Essay from Pierre Marie Dupuy

  The international legal system established in 1945 can be seen, in its very design, as an incarnation of western rationalism.  Like that rationalism, it implicitly embodies a certain ideology of progress. In terms of its philosophical underpinnings, it would seem to be heir to the philosophy of the Enlightenment and the Aufkärung despite the fact that a…

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Gravity of the Past: Polish-Ukrainian Memory War and Freedom of Speech

There is a power to the words ‘I remember’: the power of an event long past, exerting itself upon the present […] When the words begin a flow of warmth or love, it is a positive, binding power, but it is the most divisive and negative one possible when they lead on to events of death and…

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A Moving Conference: Rights, Justice and Memories of the City

Conferences rarely get reviewed (but see a recent such review here), but given the amount of time, money and carbon emissions that goes into them, we may wish to evaluate them. Moreover, in reviewing a conference, we can try to capture and share an experience that, unlike a book, cannot be picked up again.

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