Book ReviewResponse

The “pseudo doctrine”, still a real problem

In her post “The ‘pseudo doctrine’ – a pseudo problem?” Raffaela Kunz reviews my thesis “Das Scheininstitut der unmittelbaren Anwendbarkeit“. Her friendly and well written review raises a few questions, so I am most happy to have the chance for a response. In general Kunz follows my line of arguments but she raises some conceptual doubts and moreover questions the relevance of the abolishment of the pseudo-doctrine of direct applicability …

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Current Developments

Is the spread of Coronavirus already a pandemic?

Unpacking a (legal) definition

On 26 February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that the current spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) “has pandemic potential”. That is, despite the fact that the virus was already reported in all continents except Antarctica, there was still no reason to use the “P” word. He further clarified that declaring it as such would not carry any benefit, rather would only “increase fear and …

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Current Developments

SDGs and the rule of law: the need to globalize the ethics of legal tech

In the context of the rapid adoption and integration of legal technology at a global level, this blog will problematize the consequences of the bias of current discussions on the ethics of legal tech in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs strongly emphasize the importance of the rule of law as a basis for development.  While there is a fast-growing literature on the ethics of legal …

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Current Developments

Climate change in the Security Council

On the road to qualifying climate change as ‘threat multiplier’

Wildfires are heating the Earth from the Arctic to the Amazon, islands are drowning, and the record for the hottest year has been broken every year since 2015. No one would doubt that climate change causes these events. Despite people from all continents protesting in the streets to urge decision-makers to eventually take action to help combat climate change, the UN Security Council (UNSC) has not taken any binding measures …

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Current Developments

More than just a scientific report

The global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services as scientific and political tool

In May 2019, headlines worldwide suddenly became concerned with biodiversity. News sites and journals all quoted a report from the United Nations and its alarming conclusions that a million species could go extinct in the near future. In other terms, approximately one out of eight species, both plant and animal, is threatened with extinction. This massive extinction will be accompanied by a global ecosystem collapse and the consequent loss of …

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Cynical International LawSymposium

In international law we (do not) trust

The persistent rejection of economic and social rights as a manifestation of cynicism

Economic and Social Rights (ESRs) are the unloved and unwanted last born child of the human rights family. Despite a promising start in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the UDHR), ESRs still retain a second class status in most national jurisdictions. What explains this cynicism with which ESRs are (still) regarded? This blogpost analyzes how the skeptical gaze through which ESRs are often viewed legitimizes (or attempts) to legitimize …

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Cynical International LawSymposium

International law beyond cynicism and critique

A plea for a legal scholarship that offers alternatives instead of reinforcing the status quo

Cynics do not have to look far: critical international law has uncovered the ways in which the forces of colonialism and imperialism have been present in the international legal system from its foundation to the present. According to David Kennedy, it is not only cynical use of law by despots but experts, including legal scholars, that –subtly but surely – enable, reproduce, legalize and legitimize this international legal system. With …

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Current Developments

Handschlag oder Kniefall?

Ein Kommentar zum Revised Draft Treaty on Business and Human Rights

Am 16.07.2019 hat die UN-Arbeitsgruppe „Open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights“ (OEIWG) einen überarbeiteten Entwurf [revised draft (RD)] für einen Vertrag zum Thema Unternehmen und Menschenrechte veröffentlicht. Es handelt sich hierbei um eine zweite, überarbeitete Version, nachdem der sog. zero draft (ZD) exakt ein Jahr zuvor veröffentlicht wurde. Der neue Entwurf enthält einige weitgehende Zugeständnisse an Industriestaaten und Unternehmen, die …

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Current Developments

Identifying customary international law from the ivory tower?

Self-defence against non-state actors and why doctrinal precision actually matters

The discussion about the right of self-defence of states against non-state actors is in flux. Among the reasons for that could be new types of terrorism and conflicts which have emerged since the entry into force of the UN Charter. Cross-border impacts and the number of actors involved have increased significantly. These factors, combined with the UN Security Council’s inaction and the increasing threat from terrorist groups, are putting a …

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Current Developments

Neues Tribunal, neues Glück?

Überlegungen zur völkerstrafrechtlichen Aufarbeitung des „Islamischen Staats“

Im Februar drohte U.S.-Präsident Donald Trump per Twitter an, Kämpfer der Terrormiliz „Islamischer Staat“ (IS), die sich im Gewahrsam kurdischer Milizen in Syrien befinden, freizulassen. Viele der Kämpfer sind Staatsangehörige westlicher Staaten und möchten möglicherweise in ihre Heimatländer zurückkehren. Vor diesem Hintergrund verstärkt sich die Debatte, wie der militärisch ausgetragene Konflikt mit dem IS juristisch aufgearbeitet werden soll. Sollte hierzu ein gesondertes Tribunal eingerichtet werden? Es steht außer Frage, dass …

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