Cynical International LawSymposium

Back in time to Roman Law

Thoughts on an analogy of ‘Abuse of Right’ in International Law

The prohibition of abuse of right calls into question that branch of legal positivism that sees law as a ‘pure’ discipline with necessarily no connection with morality (the so-called exclusive positivism). Law prohibits something that is allowed within its own system, but that is rejected according to other rules (the rules of morality). Is the law therefore flawed? Is it cynical? One might object and say that if the prohibition …

READ MORE →

Semi-ColonialismSymposium

Semi-colonialism and international legal history: the view from Bhutan

As simply a matter of history, the Kingdom of Bhutan’s experience with Occidental powers could not be more different than that of the colonial experience of Bhutan’s neighbor and closest ally, India. Bhutan proudly – and for all intents and purposes, rightly – claims that it has never been conquered or colonized, either by a European power or by an Asian neighbor. Furthermore, consequences of geography and geology make comparisons …

READ MORE →

DiscussionResponse

A BIT of resistance

A response to Prof. Prabhash Ranjan’s plea for embedded liberalism

In our current framework of post-truth/factual/reality politics, much of the debates surrounding crucial issues of both domestic and international governance are invariably couched in an inflexible, partisan and for most parts, in parochial terms. There is either utter disdain towards opposing perspectives or deliberate display of ignorance for plausible and varying rationalities. Nothing has been as vehemently contested as the role of the state in the economy, financial intermediation and …

READ MORE →

Semi-ColonialismSymposium

The a-historicity of Preah Vihear and the space for inter-disciplinarity in international law

Of International Law, Semi-colonial Thailand, and Imperial Ghosts is wide-ranging in research, nuanced in analysis, and replete with archival nuggets and food for thought. Prabhakar makes a number of important and interesting contributions in this paper. First, he convincingly substantiates a practical and theoretical distinction between colonies and semi-colonies. He goes on to demonstrate the continuing relevance of this distinction to the engagement of former colonies and semi-colonies with international law. …

READ MORE →

DiscussionResponse

Taking Trump Seriously

Why international lawyers are at loss in dealing with Trump

In her recent contribution “Trump’s latest attack on international law”, Lena Riemer very accurately points out the threat to international customs and institutions posed by Trump and – currently – by his candidate for the US Supreme Court: Brett Kavanaugh. She demonstrates how Kavanaugh has repeatedly shown disrespect for humanitarian law and human rights in his career as a judge for the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of …

READ MORE →

DiscussionKick-off

Brother, where art thou?

Libya, spaces of violence and the diffusion of knowledge

The key political question in recent months has been how to reduce the number of unauthorized migrants that arrive to Europe’s shores in rickety vessels from politically unstable countries in North Africa. The overwhelming majority of the more than 134.000 migrants that arrived by sea to Europe this year landed on Italian shores (approximately 103.300). Most of the migrants landing in Italy departed from wartorn Libya. Italy seems to have …

READ MORE →

Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Pushing for Transformation

Comment on the VRÜ anniversary conference panel on “Transformative Constitutionalism”

Transformative constitutionalism is a somewhat fuzzy notion. Reflecting about its exact meaning, one wonders what it actually is that distinguishes transformative constitutions of other types of constitutions. On the surface, the qualification as transformative signifies that a constitution contains norms that describe a particular aim or status to be reached. In the German context, one might for example think of Article 3 (2) of the Grundgesetz requiring the state to …

READ MORE →

Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

The Global South in Comparative Constitutional Law

Opening remarks on the 50th VRÜ anniversary conference

While scholarship in comparative constitutional law is booming, this anniversary conference is an unusual event in at least two ways: It is asking particularly about the role of the Global South in comparative constitutional law, and it does so with a group of speakers that is mixed, if not dominated by voices from the Global South. And indeed: This conference is meant to be not just a reflection of current …

READ MORE →

Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

The 12mm-Winchester-Gun and the Global South in Comparative Constitutional Law

Symposium accompanying the 50-year anniversary conference of our partner journal VRÜ

This week, our partner journal Verfassung und Recht in Übersee (VRÜ) / Law and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America celebrates its 50th birthday with an international conference on “The Global South in Comparative Constitutional Law” in Berlin. We will accompany this conference with an online symposium also featured on the blog of the International Association of Constitutional Law. The symposium is not only intended to make the conference …

READ MORE →

Current DevelopmentsEvent

Grenzenloses Recht. Dem Völkerrechtshistoriker Jörg Fisch zum 70. Geburtstag

Wie universal kann ein eurozentrisch geprägtes Völkerrecht sein? Und wie lässt sich vermeiden, dass faktische Ungleichheit eine internationale Rechtsordnung sprengt, die seit der Dekolonisierung als Recht zwischen Gleichen ausgestaltet ist? Mit diesen Fragen hat sich der Zürcher Historiker Jörg Fisch schon in seiner 1984 veröffentlichten Bielefelder Habilitationsschrift „Die europäische Expansion und das Völkerrecht“ befasst – einer bahnbrechenden Studie über „die Auseinandersetzungen um den Status der überseeischen Gebiete vom 15. Jahrhundert …

READ MORE →