The latest issue of EJIL (Vol, 23, Issue no. 3) has just been published. We open this issue with an article by Alan Boyle, who grapples with the future of environmental protection in international law viewed from a human rights law perspective and in relation to three different aspects (i) procedural rights, (ii) the controversial notion of a right to a decent environment, and (iii) the extraterritorial application of existing human rights treaties to transboundary pollution and climate change. In all three fields, two related questions appear fundamental: Would it be appropriate to go beyond a mere greening of the existing human rights law coupled to a judge-made law approach? If so, which international institutions, mechanisms and instruments could or should be mobilized?
If the plurality of legal orders is undeniably one of the parameters to take into account when answering these questions, it is also an issue which lies at the basis of the Symposium organized by the American and European Societies of International Law (ASIL and ESIL), with additional support from the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL) Project on Transnational Private Regulation, and published in this issue. The symposium, regrouping the contributions of Fabrizio Cafaggi, David D. Caron, Daniel Bodansky, Gregory Shaffer, Francesco Francioni, Petros C. Mavroidis, Elisa Morgera, and André Nollkaemper, aims indeed to define the multi-faceted notion of global public goods (GPG). Foundational issues are thus discussed, such as the conceptual and analytical frameworks for understanding GPG; the modes and technologies of protection of GPG and the related governance and legitimacy issues that such techniques raise; the value that the concept of GPG adds to discourse within international law, and vice versa, the value that an international law perspective adds to our understanding of GPG. These foundational issues are also discussed through analysis of specific instantiations of GPG, such as international cultural goods, free trade, and environmental protection.
EJIL symposia allow our Editorial Board and Scientific Board to discharge their responsibility of introducing into the public discussion issues that we consider of importance but which the normal mail box may not necessarily throw our way, and certainly not in the sustained, probing way that a symposium can. I trust and hope that you share my view that it was high time that the relationship between global public goods and international law were aired in such a way.
Shifting back from Places to Moments of Dignity, Roaming Charges provides in this issue a visual interlude with ‘Waitresses at Rest at the Toufuya Restaurant by the Usuzu River, Ise, Japan’.
We proceed with two different kinds of EJIL: Debates!
There are some issues which are so ideologically and emotionally charged that even research and reflection submitted in utmost good faith in the belief that they represent ‘objective’ scholarship or at least (for those who do not believe in objectivity) scholarship that is attentive to counter arguments will appear to others as far from ‘balanced’. Peer reviewers will write to me and say: ‘The article needs more balance’, or words to that effect. But often I am loath to impose these demands on an author – since at times such an imposition would take the verve out of the piece. I prefer to commission a reaction piece. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one such topic and the question concerning the Armenian Genocide – the very appellation is hotly contested – is another.
The first Debate in this issue of EJIL provides our readers with competing views on Turkey and the Armenian Genocide from a state responsibility perspective, with a piece by Vahagn Avedian and a reply by Pulat Tacar and Maxime Gauin. This EJIL: Debate! illustrates that we sometimes simply have to agree to disagree. Thus, no rejoinder is published.
In the second EJIL: Debate! William E. Conklin and Alexander Orakhelashvili ‘spar’ on the double helix of the identity link between jus cogens and the international community – a topic of perennial interest.
We also publish in this issue a Review Essay by Andreas Wagner, who reflects on lessons of imperialism and of the law of nations through a review of two recent publications, Alberico Gentili, The Wars of the Romans. A Critical Edition and Translation of De Armis Romanis, edited by Benedict Kingsbury and Benjamin Straumann, and translated by David Lupher, and The Roman Foundations of the Law of Nations. Alberico Gentili and the Justice of Empire, edited by Benedict Kingsbury and Benjamin Straumann.
I draw our readers’ attention, especially those readers like myself who have accompanied EJIL from its inception or early years, to this veritable era d’oro in EJIL book reviewing under the inspired and judicious custodianship of Isabel Feichtner.
The Last Page presents the poem ‘Osama Bin Laden is Dead’, by Gregory Shaffer. This is to express our admiration for this versatile and creative scholar and poet who has the unique distinction of publishing both a scholarly article and a poem in this very issue of EJIL.