Semi-ColonialismSymposium

The Gods and Demons of the Preah Vihear Temple

The Churning I finally visited the Temple of Preah Vihear on 22 December 2018. Strikingly, the makers of the ancient temples of Cambodia appear infatuated with a particular Indian mythic leitmotif, the churning of the milk ocean. In order to churn the milk-ocean, Vishnu, a Hindu god, turns into a turtle to allow the planting of the Mount Mandhar, the churner, on his shell. Next, Vasuki, the serpent, is wrapped …

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Current Developments

An investment arbitration avalanche after a No-Deal Brexit?

How investors could sue the UK for damages in case Britain leaves the EU without a deal

On Tuesday, January 15th, an overwhelming majority in the British House of Commons rejected the Brexit deal, i.e. the Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. With an unsuccessful confidence vote just one day later, the UK’s future in the EU is now more uncertain than ever. And the Brexit clock continues to tick as the UK is still supposed to leave the European Union on …

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Current Developments

The ICC’s ‘Evidence Problem’

The Future of International Criminal Investigations After the Gbagbo Acquittal

On 15 January, Trial Chamber I acquitted Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé of crimes against humanity. This is an important decision. Gbagbo is the first former head of state to be tried by the ICC, and his acquittal comes just months after the controversial acquittal of Jean-Pierre Bemba, a rebel-cum-vice-president of the DR Congo. Of course, as with Bemba (see here, here and here), international lawyers will disagree on …

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Current Developments

Truth or dare?

Blasphemy and the flawed logic of E.S. v. Austria

On 25 October 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) handed down its decision in the case of E.S. v. Austria. The case had begun in the fall 2009 when the anonymized applicant E.S., who is a member of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), gave two seminars about Islam. On this occasion she claimed that Muhammad, the most important prophet of Islam, was not a perfect human because …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Multiperspectivism in and on international law

The symposium on “South and East Asian perspectives on international law” postulates that perspectives matter for the understanding, interpretation, and application of international law. I agree, but would like to caution against throwing out the baby with the bathwater by giving up the never-ending struggle for a bottom-up universalisation of the international legal discourse. Our scholarly approaches, arguments and assessments are value-loaded and connect to underlying political and theoretical preferences …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Backlash against international law by the East?

How the concept of ‘transplantation’ helps us to better understand reception processes of international law

The symbolic metaphor of ‘Eastphalia’ that has been referred to in the opening post of this symposium, which is a wordplay around ‘Westphalia’, is very loaded in its curious terminological choice. Westphalia is a myth that plays a central role in the linear narrative on the development of international law from West to East. The analogy is not very flattering – as it is another ‘orientalist’ labeling that creates an impression …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Are We Living in an Eastphalian Moment?

It is indisputable that economic and geopolitical power has shifted east and that the core-semi periphery-periphery symbolism, a common reference for liberal, socialist and postcolonial states, increasingly mischaracterizes the complexities of relations at play, as do voices who proclaim the beginning of the post-liberal world order. True, in liberal strongholds, nationalistically-minded authoritarianism is on the rise again, more subtle than in the first half of the 20thcentury, but with similar …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

From Liberal and Equal to Fraternal International Legal Order?

Eastphalian Synthesis of Sovereignty and Governmentality

  A quarter half of a century has passed since Francis Fukuyama declared in The End of History the ultimate triumph of Western liberal democracy. Contrary to this prophecy, we are witnessing the sunset of the Western liberal international legal order. It has been revealed in several critical momentathat liberal internationalism has militant, interventionist character that causes paradoxical consequences of ‘illiberal liberalism’: in order to protect what a liberal State perceives …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

A Japanese approach to international law

Territorial disputes and investment dispute settlements

In Japan, only a few academic scholars are aware of the plurality of academic scholarly perspectives. Most others do not think that their methods are different from the Western methods. This phenomenon is visible in international law study too. Such an attitude is not groundless. Japanese international law scholars are more internationalized than domestic law scholars. Most of them understand two or three European languages well, have experience of studying …

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Current Developments

Das Gespenst einer europäischen Armee

Rechtliche und politische Anmerkungen zu einer gemeinsamen europäischen Verteidigung

In den vergangenen Wochen geisterte einmal mehr die Vision einer europäischen Armee durch die Medien und Köpfe einiger europäischer Staats- und Regierungschefs. Die Idee einer stärkeren Kooperation der EU im militärischen Bereich ist nicht neu und auch heute schon in vielen Teilbereichen verwirklicht. Inwieweit sich die Pläne gemeinsamer Streitkräfte aber fernab von dem artikulierten europapolitischen Willen auch durchsetzen lassen, hängt von unterschiedlichen politischen und auch rechtlichen Faktoren ab. Ein Blick …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

The Ecological Atlas of International Law

A Chinese Reading of Three Celebrated Works in the Comparative International Law Discourse

In an effort to “identify, analyze, and explain similarities and differencesin how international law is understood, interpreted, applied, and approached by different national and international actors”, comparative international law as a research area has recently received more scholarly attention, at a time when faith in international law’s universality seems to be declining. In light of the dynamics of international power, especially the rise of China, “multiperspectivism” is expected to facilitate …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

The ‘Standard of Civilization’ in international law

Intellectual perspectives fom pre-war Japan

Any history of international law in Japan and the discourse on Japan’s semi-civilized status begin with nineteenth-century European encounters. Although there is thick literature on the ‘pre-modern’ international order in the Far East, the normative connection between Japan’s various responses to this order, on the one hand, and its engagement with the nineteenth-century European notion of the standard of civilization, on the other, is not adequately spelled out. I argue …

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Current Developments

Brexit means Brexit!?

Zum möglichen Fortgang der Brexit-Odyssee nach der Absage der Abstimmung im britischen Unterhaus

“Brexit means Brexit!“ So lautete das Mantra, das von der britischen Premierministerin im Nachklang zur Brexitentscheidung immer wieder vorgetragen wurde. Das offenbarte nicht nur eine gewisse Hilflosigkeit, sondern zeigte zugleich, dass die noch von David Cameron vornehmlich aus innenpolitischen Gründen initiierte (unverbindliche) Volksbefragung auch aus demokratietheoretischer Sicht keine Meisterleistung war: Nicht weil das Ergebnis „falsch“ gewesen wäre, sondern weil keine Ja-/Nein-Frage gestellt worden war. Formal stand zwar die Entscheidung zwischen …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Are We Living in the “Eastphalian” Moment?

South and East Asian Perspectives on International Law

Diverging views and perspectives on international law are unavoidable. The global span of this body of law and the different geographical, cultural, religious and educational backgrounds of those who work with it contribute importantly to the understanding of its normative frameworks. Multiperspectivism and situatedness thus somewhat seem to be inherent to the DNA of international law (see e.g. here; see also this recent book). The fact that scholars from different countries and continents …

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Völkerrechtsblog

Funding Völkerrechtsblog

The German national research funding organization DFG will support Völkerrechtsblog in the coming years

Since its inception in 2014, Völkerrechtsblog has been run by dedicated volunteers who spent countless hours of their spare time, and sometimes even their own money, on the blog. As workload and expectations have been growing, the time has come to secure more sustainable funding and to further professionalize the blog. We are thus happy to announce that Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the German national research funding organization, has awarded funding to …

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Current Developments

Voting down international law?

Lessons from Switzerland for compensatory constitutionalism

There was quite some relief in Switzerland when it became clear on Sunday 25thNovember that the so called “initiative on democratic self-determination” had been rejected by the voters (the end result with 66 percent no-votes was much clearer than expected). While it is nothing new in Switzerland that popular initiatives are launched which lead to conflicts with international law (just remember the popular initiatives on the ban of minarets, on the …

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