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Beyond Human Rights

Our authors debate Anne Peters book on the individual in international law


With the first symposium after our relaunch, Völkerrechtsblog emphasizes its role as a forum for transnational legal debate – a debate that transcends jurisdictions and that connects scholars from different academic communities and parts of the world. We aim to encourage such debates with our new format, the book symposium. We invite authors to discuss important new publications from the German-speaking community in English language to make them accessible to a wider audience.

Our upcoming book symposium concerns a fundamental question: What is the legal position of the individual in international law? Fresh answers come from Anne Peters’ book „Jenseits der Menschenrechte“, initially published in German and soon available in an updated English version from Cambridge University Press. The book title – “Beyond Human Rights” – is the program: Peters aims to show the extent to which individuals have international legal rights (and duties) that are not human rights. She demonstrates the array of such rights in 17 chapters, traversing diverse fields of international law, and claims that the individual has become a primary subject of international law.

For the current symposium, respondents engage with different aspects of Anne Peters’ book. In the first contribution, Zoran Oklopcic looks at the general structure of Peters’ argument, and uses it as a foil to reflect on the form of argumentation in international legal theory in general. Evelyne Lagrange takes a closer look at Anne Peters’ chapter on investors’ rights. Roland Portmann highlights peripheral areas of international law that play a role regarding the status of individuals or other non-state entities in the international legal system. Finally, Anne Peters herself will address some of the points raised and share concluding remarks.

Of course we do not want to stop the conversation there – rather, we look forward to your critical comments here on the blog as well as further submissions to our symposium. If you would like to contribute a post, please contact us at at


Cite as: Michael Riegner & Raffaela Kunz, “Beyond Human Rights: Our authors debate Anne Peters book on the individual in international law”, Völkerrechtsblog,  18 January 2016, doi: 10.17176/20171005-170845.

Michael Riegner

Michael Riegner is assistant professor of international law and global administrative law at Erfurt University in Germany.

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Raffaela Kunz

Raffaela Kunz is a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Völkerrechtsblog.

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