Study of International Law

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A Tale of Three Cities and International Law

Last July, an international organization meeting in an Asian city took historic decisions that will influence the fate of three European cities for years to come. At its 44th session, held in Fuzhou and online, the World Heritage Committee (WHC) stripped Liverpool of its World Heritage List (WHL) title. The same day, Vienna was removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger, and Venice narrowly escaped being included in it. Although traditionally a non-issue in international law, cities have lately gained attention among internationalists and beyond. Cities today not only play a role in international norm-making and negotiations. They are also subject to increasing normative attention from international organizations. This has influenced notions and concepts of local government law. Less understood is a seemingly conflictive implication of this vertical relationship. While international institutions advance a global model of the “ideal city”, with specific characteristics in terms of organization, policies and relationships with national governments, cities differ from one another and exhibit unique constitutional, structural and socio-economic characters.

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Form and Substance in the Debate over ‘International Law of Democracy’ Scholarship

I appreciate Akbar Rasulov’s foray into the complexities of the relationship between form and substance in international legal scholarship. I maintain, however, that his criticisms of the work of the “anti-ILD scholars” (such as myself) contain some unjustified leaps. Rasulov regards those of us who (for overlapping, though seldom identical, reasons) resisted the claims of…

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‘From the Wells of Disappointment’: Rejoinder to Brad Roth

I am grateful to Brad Roth for his extensive and sincere engagement with my argument. We both share a curiosity about ‘left-of-centre agendas’ and a deep sense of unease about the politics of post-Cold War international law. We both also have a strong interest in understanding the role played in it by neocolonialism, the International Law of…

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Lavrov’s Lament: A Russian take on the rules-based global order

At the end of last month, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov wrote a spirited defence of international law in Kommersant, Russia’s main business paper. True to form, the country’s top diplomat lamented that, unlike the West, Russia still wants universally accepted principles of international law to govern international affairs. But what does it mean for…

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From Eunomia To Eusophia: Planning a better future for the human world

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired much wide and deep thought about the human condition. A global phenomenon, like climate change, it has challenged deep-structural aspects of the organisation of the world.   It has challenged nationalism in requiring a cross-national response, at the level of policy and in complex practical measures. It has challenged established relationships between…

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