Study of International Law

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Piercing the State’s Corporate Veil: Using Private Actors to Enforce International Norms

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a tragedy of statehood: a state no longer recognises its neighbour’s right to exist. Yet, the wider resistance to this invasion has highlighted the role of private individuals and corporations in enforcing fundamental international law norms. The involvement of the private sector has helped to globalise the conflict. Individuals and companies have come to be treated as, and to portray themselves as, global political actors in their own right, and not merely as subjects of international law. This piercing of the state’s corporate veil can be seen in several ways. Ukrainian and Western governments have explicitly called on global companies to help uphold international norms, with companies responding directly. Some global corporations are going beyond state requirements to disengage from Russia in a way that is arguably tantamount to imposing their own sanctions, sometimes using international norms when justifying their action. Some states have imposed sanctions on private Russian ‘oligarchs’ because they have interpersonal connections with Putin in hope that this will influence his decision-making – i.e. going beyond…

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Revisiting Carlos Calvo on the 200th Anniversary of his Birth

It was recently the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Argentine diplomat and jurist Carlos Calvo. Despite the fact that he died more than a century ago, his name resonates continuously in international literature through the so-called “Calvo Doctrine” and the “Calvo Clause”. However, his rich legal and political thinking exceeds these two concepts. This short piece…

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Treatment of Persons Hors de Combat in the Russo-Ukrainian War

Russian military forces have intensified attacks on several fronts in Ukraine since 24 February 2022. Regardless of the Russian government’s justifications in using force against Ukraine, there is an international armed conflict ongoing between Ukraine and Russia, which requires both parties to respect international humanitarian law (IHL). On 2 March 2022, the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces…

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Chasing Global Legal Particles: Some Guesswork about the Nature of Meta’s Oversight Board

There is a contrast between the image of global law as something grand and the difficulty of spotting it, as if it were made of particles whose existence remains conjectural. Not a big surprise, one may say, given that there is no rule of recognition for global law. This post nevertheless tries to detect some such particles using…

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Walking Back Dissents: A Reply to Helfer and Voeten

We see no need to respond to Helfer and Voeten’s reply (Stone Sweet, Sandholtz, and Andenas, 2021), beyond clarifying one major point. The basis of our critique of the Helfer and Voeten article (2020) concerns our inability to confirm the classifications reported in their data. Our focus is on those cases that are most likely…

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