Theory of International Law

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The Credit Suisse Crisis and International Law: Time to Embrace Regime Complexity?  

There is a quasi-existential urge among international lawyers to present international law as salient whenever the “opportunity” of a crisis presents itself. Judge Charlesworth has famously lamented this urge because it distracts us from the subtle ways in which international law may deliver everyday justice. Yet, when it comes to financial crises, this “quest for international law” has been less anxious. While technical contributions by financial law experts were offered in specific issue-areas following the global crisis of 2008, an attempt to catalogue and present a systematized understanding of the universe of international rules governing financial crisis response has yet to be made. If international law is indeed a “discipline of crisis”, and if international lawyers have in the past been able to systematize climate change law and jus in bello, why has “financial crisis response law” not seen the same fate? And what are the risks of this lack of systematization? This note shares the author’s brief thoughts on these two questions, prompted by the ongoing banking crisis in Switzerland.

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Are sovereignty referendums but a tool to legitimize territorial claims of the powerful?

This is the impression one could be left with in the wake of the popular votes organized by Russia in the occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia. This impression might be reinforced by the fact that, as recently shown by Sze Hong Lam on these pages, these were by far not the first…

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Is there a Right to be Protected from the Adverse Effects of Scientific Progress and its Applications?

An entitlement to access the benefits of scientific progress and its applications, particularly technology, is almost certainly settled content of the right to science. It has traditionally been interpreted from Article 15(1)(b) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but probably inheres in a broader interpretation of Article 15, particularly following General Comment…

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Project 2100—Is the International Legal Order Fit for Purpose?

It is in the darkest moments that we must ask the hardest questions and peer through the gloom in an attempt to see the light. The events to the east of us raise stark questions—about the current world order; about the place and effectiveness of the United Nations; about what the U.S. long-term assessment of global…

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The Gender of Treaty Withdrawal: Lessons from the Istanbul Convention

In the early hours of 20 March 2021 the Turkish Official Gazette announced—in a one sentence statement that offered no explanation—that the President Erdoğan had decided to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, the Council of Europe treaty on preventing and combating violence against women. Two days later, the Communication Directorate of the President offered this justification: “The…

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