In this work Laura Westra draws our attention to the failure of international law to promote and protect the rights of society in the face of the ravages of neoliberal agendas in an era of globalization. This book outlines how international law is perhaps a misnomer, and at its core there is a great distance between laws as they are written and laws as they are implemented. Each chapter in this volume peels back the illusions of laws as instruments designed to protect the public welfare, and shows how the intersection of globalization and neoliberal democracy has stripped people of their dignity, has violated human rights, has resulted in ecological disaster, all for the singular goal of profit and in the name of so-called economic rationality. Westra demonstrates how documents like national constitutions, with its eloquent language on the rights of its citizens, are cast aside when it comes to defending those rights. Calling international law a failed enterprise, the heart of this book explores how we may yet reconstruct a true system of international rights enforced by real international laws, and contemplates the limitations and possibilities of international organizations to effectively address truly international problems. Through the lens of what might be called a political ecology Westra offers us a call for action to protect our environments and indeed our selves.
Laura Westra, Ph.D. (1982) in Philosophy, University of Toronto, and Ph.D. (2005) in Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, currently teaches environmental law at the University of Windsor. She has published twenty-two monographs and collections on environmental justice and human rights issues and international law, and over 80 articles and chapters.
"This is a provocative contribution to a very current debate."
“The growing frustration with collapsing ecosystems and dysfunctional governments make it timely to search for a bold alternative. This book delivers. The analysis is compelling, the call for world governance convincing. I don’t know of anyone who brings philosophical scholarship more forcefully into international law than Laura Westra.”
University of Auckland
Table of contents
by Upendra Baxi Acknowledgments
1. Globalization and World Governance: A Preliminary Discussion
Introduction: Understanding the Impact of Globalization
A Preliminary Discussion of the Possibility of a World State
Some Difficulties with “World State Institutions”
Teleology and Causal Explanations: The Better Alternative
From Biological to Social systems?
Complex Systems and the Problem of Surprises
European Citizenship: A Blueprint for Cosmopolitanism? Identity and Democracy
A World State Reconsidered
2. Globalization as “Plunder”, “Exploitation” and “Ecoviolence”: A Causal Analysis
Chimni on a Marxist Course for International Law
The “Right to Development”?
Introduction to the History of Development and International Law
Chimni on Sen, Development and International Law
“Exploitation”: A Marxist Category?
“Plunder” and Covert Illegality
From Economics to Biological Integrity: The Case for Ecoviolence
State Responsibility for Environmental Harms and its Difficulties
Ecoviolence and the Rsponsibility to Protect
Sovereignty as Responsibility: The Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty
3. Hazards, Ecoviolence and the Need for World Law
Introduction to the Possibility of New Organizations for Protection from Collective Hazards
A World Environment Organization: A Better Approach to the Protection of Collective Human Rights?
Some Preliminary Considerations
UNEO: Another Proposal for Global Environmental Governance
“Employing Public Health for Global Justice”?
Globalization and Public Health: The Disappearance of State Responsibility in International Law
A “Lawless World” and Global Warming: Environmental Harms and Domestic Law
Water as Danger and the Negative Consequences of Climate Change
The Kivalina Complaint and “Civil Conspiracy Allegations”
Connecticut et al. v. American Electric Power et al.: New Hope in Old Doctrines
The Parens Patriae Doctrine: An Old Principle and a Novel Application
The Public Trust Doctrine: A Discussion
4. Cosmopolitanism, Collective Rights and Neoliberal Democracy in Conflict
Introduction: Adopt World Governance or Modify Existing Institutions?
State Sovereignty Revisited
Plan Colombia and the Indigenous Peoples of the Colombia–Ecuador Border Region
A Brief Overview of the Constitutional Protection Available for the Environment in Colombia and Ecuador
The State and Neoliberal Globalization: Democracy v. Principles and Jus Cogens Norms
The Limits of Legal Positivism for World Governance
The Content and Limits of Jus Cogens
Attacks on the Human Person
Ecocrimes as Forms of Genocide: A Possible Way to Link Environmental Crimes and Jus Cogens
Jus Cogens and Erga Omnes Obligations in Defence of the Collective
Current Use of Jus Cogens: Advisory Opinion on Genocide and Bosnia-Herzegovina v. Yugoslavia
The Reality of International Law v. Cosmopolitanism
5. The Right to Water: Israel v. Palestine (A Case Study)
Self-Determination, State-Making and Collective Rights: Israel and Palestine
The Role of the United Nations and Collective Human Rights
The Influence of the Early History of the United Nations
National Protection and Religious Beliefs: Israeli Policies and the Palestinians
“National Protection” and the Case of Operation Cast Lead
“Water is a Human Right”: International Law v. Policies of Denial
International Law in Palestine and the Implications of the Right to Water
The Politics of “Plunder”
Genocide or Crimes Against Humanity?
Ratner’s Approach: Comparing “Evils”
Crimes Against Humanity Reconsidered
6. The United Nations and International Law: Is World Governance the Way Forward?
Introduction: Globalization and Legal Violence—A Review of Some Problems
Neoliberal Democracies and Human Rights: Neglected Customary Law Requirements
The Current Responsibility of States for Human Rights
“In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All”
Aggression and Terrorism in International Law: Violence Beyond Plunder
From 1972 to 2005: Working on an Impossible Definition
The Issues: Terrorism and Collective Rights
Global Governance and the Imposition of “External Constitutions” on States
Global Governance for Collective Security
Fairness in Institutions and the Role of the Security Council
A World State? The Possibility of Global Change in Governance
The European Union: A Model for a World State?
Cosmopolitanism and Global Change: The Need for “Dual Democracy”?
Appendix I List of Cases
Appendix II List of Documents
General interest in law, sociology, on the part of both students and scholars.