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Transnational Science-Based Standards on Radiation: A Japanese Experience

‘Dose limits’ after Fukushima

The readers of this blog might have heard of “millisieverts” or “becquerel”. These are the units of radiation dose and emission. While these notions are primarily the commodities of scientific experts in radiology and related fields, the German political debate might not be unfamiliar to such terms. Germany is currently experiencing a transition away from nuclear power, and nuclear energy has been publicly debated since the 1970s. Yet in Japan, …

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A Pebble in the Shoe: Assessing International Uses of Do No Harm

My paper published in the last edition of ‘Law and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America’ (VRU) is the product of bureaucratic wanderings. Over a number of years, in a meetings on a variety of international topics, I repeatedly heard the same phrase being uttered: “we take a Do No Harm approach.” At first blush, those words had an immediate appeal. Doctors have followed that principle for centuries (primum …

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Civil disobedience. An international issue

Even though this is a blog for international law, I was invited to provide my perspective from political philosophy and media studies on the issue of civil disobedience. My article represents a normative understanding of civil disobedience from a radical democratic philosophical perspective that values civil disobedience as a contesting democratic practice rather than seeing it as a disruption of unquestionable legal order. The main intention of this article is …

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Security mindsets and international law: thinking differently about security and adjudication

Security is a curious term and it comes in many different forms and shapes, and each field of research, every security institution and even more, every security professional has an own very specific understanding of security. Let me give three examples: For military leaders, security is a matter of military strength, tactics and capabilities. If state A has more tanks than state B, state B may want to balance this …

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The WHO’s new emergency powers – from SARS to Ebola

The Ebola outbreak is only the third Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) ever declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO’s emergency authority is based on the International Health Regulations (IHR) adopted in 2005. While these regulations enable the organization only to recommend measures to states, its decisions to declare a PHEIC and to issue temporary recommendations are de facto authoritative points of reference for global and …

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Völkerrecht und die Legislative: Wenn der nationale Gesetzgeber mit den Schultern zuckt

In diesem Beitrag plädiere ich dafür, dass sich Völkerrechtler*innen mit Unterlassungen von nationalen Gesetzgebern befassen sollten. Zweck des kurzen Textes ist die Begründung für eine rechtsdogmatische, -theoretische und -soziologische Auseinandersetzung mit Situationen, in denen Völkerrecht gesetzgeberische Maßnahmen vorgibt, die angesprochenen Legislatoren in den Vertragsstaaten aber mit den Schultern zucken. Warum sollten Unterlassungen der nationalen Legislativen Völkerrechtler*innen beschäftigen? Seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg hat die Zahl der völkerrechtlichen Normen unzweifelhaft zugenommen. Ebenso …

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Selecting Europe’s Judges: on the Evolving Legitimacy of Appointments in Luxembourg and Strasbourg

What is judicial legitimacy?

The concept of legitimacy is a favorite debate among many political philosophers and lawyers. Since our perceptions of what is legitimate change over time, we look at legitimacy not as a static concept but as one evolving over time. Judicial appointments, particularly to constitutional, federal and international courts have always been a sensitive matter. In Europe, the impartiality and professional merit of both domestic and supranational judges are becoming a …

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Will the BRICS Bank change the development world as we know it?

This post inaugurates a new cooperation of Völkerrechtsblog with the journal “Verfassung und Recht in Übersee”/ “Law and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America”, the only law journal based in Germany dedicated exclusively to legal developments in the Global South. Authors from the current special issue on “New instruments in the law of development cooperation” discuss their arguments with respondents here on the blog. We start with the first …

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