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  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: I think it is difficult to contest that the most important state player in world affairs over the last one hundred years – and consistently so over this period – has been the United States of America. World War I – into which, to borrow from Christopher Clark's justly celebrated book, we 'sleepwalked' – marks a useful starting point. It is not only the fairly important role America played in bringing WWI to an end that signals the beginning of this era, but also the no less important role it played in shaping the aftermath. Wilson's 14 points were considered at the time 'idealistic' by some of the yet-to-be 'Old Powers'. But by dismantling the Ottoman Empire through the principle of self-determination (not at that time a universal legally binding norm) it was an early swallow to the demise, a mere generation later, of all other colonial empires and the truly decisive reshaping of the balance of power in the post-WWII world. The US played an equally cardinal role in ideating and realizing the United Nations Organization and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – two lynchpins of our current world order.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Gaza
  • Author: Rotem Giladi
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The Martens clause has made F. F. Martens one of the 'household names of our profession'. Since its first appearance in the preamble to the 1899 Hague Convention (II) on the Laws and Customs of War on Land, the clause has incessantly been puzzled over, historicized, celebrated, and re-enacted. Much of the extant discourse, however, is geared towards normative construction of the clause. This article, by contrast, seeks to depart from normative construction of the clause and draw attention, instead, to the discourse it has generated. To facilitate discursive exploration and demonstrate its pertinence, I offer a critical reading of the clause's origins as the enactment of an irony. Thus, the making of the clause saw words used to express something in the opposite of their literal meaning. In time, the clause itself came to represent that which is entirely the opposite of what it was first used for. These and other ironies underpin how the clause itself, its making, and Martens' role therein are interpreted, historicized, and celebrated today. They also pave the way for critical explorations of the clause's epistemic significance.
  • Topic: War
  • Author: Arnulf Becker Lorca
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Conventionally, self-determination is understood to have evolved in a linear progression from a political principle during World War I into an international right after World War II. The history of the right to self-determination before 1945 is thus part of 'pre-history'. This article explores that 'pre-history' and finds the conventional linear narrative unconvincing. During the first three decades of the 20th century and in particular during the interwar period, non-Western lawyers, politicians, and activists articulated international law claims to support the demand for self-government. In this process, they appropriated and transformed the international law discourse. Removing the legal obstacles that prevented self-government beyond the West – that is, by eliminating the standard of civilization – interwar semi-peripherals made possible the emergence of a right to self-determination later, when the international political context changed after the second post-war reconstruction of international law.
  • Topic: International Law, War
  • Author: David Roth-Isigkeit
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: That positivism is not the promised land of legal methods has become a truism among critical international lawyers. All too often the proclaimed objectivity, neutrality and science has turned out to be intertwined with ideology and domination. In line with the historical-economic turn of the Helsinki school, Monica García-Salmones Rovira's book The Project of Positivism in International Law finds the historical roots of positivism deeply embedded in the development of a global neo-liberal economy. The economic foundations of the method are unearthed with two intellectual biographies of its founding fathers, Lassa Oppenheim and Hans Kelsen, whose life projects have so far escaped critical scrutiny. The book weaves into these two biographical studies the story of international law as a pragmatist and scientific project that freed the discipline from the tradition of natural law to become a servant of global economic interests.
  • Topic: International Law, War
  • Author: Milan Kuhli
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The book The Hidden Histories of War Crimes Trials – edited by Kevin Jon Heller and Gerry Simpson – is a compilation of 21 contributions to a conference convened in Melbourne at the end of 2010. The project aims at a scholarly recovery of accounts of war crimes trials that were ‘either neglected or under-rehearsed’ (at 1) in the discipline of international criminal law. Accordingly, the contributions tell ‘stories about familiar but under-explored and misunderstood landmarks in the conventional history of international criminal law’ as well as about trials that have been less analysed in this field (at 1). Gregory S. Gordon’s illustrative chapter on the trial of Peter von Hagenbach (chapter 2) is a story of the first kind, whereas Benjamin E. Brockman-Hawe’s comprehensive account of the Franco-Siamese tribunal for the Colonial Era (chapter 3) exemplifies the latter type.
  • Topic: International Law, War
  • Political Geography: Europe