A Landscape of Contemporary Theories of International Law

This rich and remarkable volume offers an overview of the most important schools, movements and trends which make up the theoretical landscape of contemporary international law, as well as the works of over 500 authors. It moves beyond generalization and examines how the relevant literature deals with the basic issues of the international legal system, such as international obligations, legitimacy, compliance, unity and universality, the rule of law, human rights, use of force and economics. It offers insights into the addressees (the state, international organizations, individuals and other private persons), and the construction of international law, including law-making, the relationship between norms, and interpretation. Moreover, it widens the discourse by addressing old, yet enduring, as well as new concerns about the functioning of the international legal system, and presents views of non-international lawyers and political scientists regarding that system. It is a valuable analysis for researchers, students, and practitioners.

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Emmanuel Roucounas is honorary and emeritus Professor, Athens University; member and former President of the Institut de droit international; member and former President of the Academy of Athens; Judge ad hoc at the International Court of Justice (2009-2011) and member of the Greek Supreme Court of Article 100 of the Constitution (1992-1995). He is a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. A former member of the International Law Commission, of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and of UNESCO's International Bioethics Committee. In the Council of Europe, he has been a member of the Steering Committee on Human Rights (CDDH) and a member of the “Group of Wise Persons” reporting on the effectiveness of the ECtHR. He was also a member of a Group of Experts of the EU on Central America. Roucounas has published twelve books and over 100 articles on General International Law, the Law of Treaties, the Law of the Sea, Self-Defence, Human Rights, Humanitarian Law, Bioethics, Diplomatic History, and European Unification.
«…a truly remarkable book, astonishing in its quality and the depth of scholarship. It is also wonderfully readable....The way the author has marshalled his ideas, and chosen such an original way to examine the underlying conceptual issues is exceptional. Everything is so original, and intellectually fresh. The author has read, and thought about everything, and everyone! And it is all so up to date…»
Dame Rosalyn Higgins, Professor of International Law, former President of the International Court of Justice.

"Todo este panorama que nos da la obra requiere unos profundos conocimientos del Derecho Internacional General, pero también de sus parcelas o ámbitos específicos, y en ambos casos el Profesor Roucounas es un auténtico maestro, pasando de una cuestión a otra con suma finura, sin perder nunca los ricos parámetros de un refinado internacionalista. Todo esto no le impide ser una persona que desborda honestidad y sencillez, lo que, tras nuestros más de treinta años de amistad con el Profesor Bermejo, y la mitad con la Profesora López-Jacoiste, solo nos cabe darle nuestras más sinceras felicitaciones por esta magnífica obra, estando seguros que a esta ORQUESTA acudirá mucho público."
Prof. Romualdo Bermejo García, Spanish Yearbook of International Law.

‘’…Livre extraordinaire qui résiste à toute classification; livre substantiel par son volume et par la densité intellectuelle de son contenu, qui requière une lecture lente, en petites doses, pour capter, comme dans la dégustation d’un bon vieux cognac, toute sa saveur et son essence... …La promenade s’avère être un voyage multiple autour du monde, ou plutôt de la planète droit international, dans un satellite qui change d’orbite à chaque rotation ; de sorte que le paysage change à chaque tour, bien qu’il s’agisse de la même planète. Emerge de ce balayage multidimensionnel un hologramme du droit international avec une figure et un dynamisme surprenants. …Quel voyage fascinant. Mais pour éviter l’étourdissement, il faut aller doucement. C’est un livre très enrichissant, dense, complexe, à multiples visages. Une fois lu, il reste une référence, à laquelle je reviendrai souvent, pour situer une idée ou un auteur dans le paysage et par rapport aux autres. Et chaque fois qu’on le consulte (ce qui m’est arrivé une ou deux fois déjà), on déniche certains détails ou liens qu’on n’avait pas relevé à la lecture précédente…’’ Georges Abi Saab, 22 mai 2020, former ad hoc Judge of the International Court of Justice, former Judge of the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY and ICTR, former Commissioner of the United Nations Compensation Commission, and former Chairman of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization. honorary professor of international law (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva). Professor Abi-Saab was awarded the 2017 Manley O. Hudson Medal of the American Society of International Law.

"Roukounas provides a dense, comprehensive analysis of the elements that influence theorizing about international law and the various schools, movements, and trends in theorizing. In tone and style, the analysis is geared to experts in the field, and the work will be less accessible to readers not well versed in international law. For example, Roukounas's discussion of critical international legal studies, like critical analysis itself, is too dense for many readers. However, discussion of essential elements of international law and discussion of regional and national traditions (Europe, US, Latin America, Africa, and Asia) may interest a wider audience. Similarly, his discussion of basic orientations, including liberalism, realism, pragmatism, and so on, and of newer approaches, such as constructivism and deconstruction, provide important insights that could be useful for undergraduates studying international relations theory. The chapter on the formation of norms in international law provides an important perspective applicable to researchers focusing on areas such as human rights, the use of force, and international economic exchange. -Christopher W. Herrick, Muhlenberg College
Preface: The Choir Group

Part 1
Essential Elements

1 Introduction
 1.1 Theories about Theory
 1.2 Theories of or about International Law

2 Thoughts on the Impact of Theory on International Law

3 Important Elements in the Making of Theory
 3.1 Ideology
 3.2 Polysemy of Terms and Concepts: The Role of Language
 3.3 Limits and Limitations of Theory
 3.4 History and Histories of International Law
 3.5 Methodology and Methods
 3.6 International and Domestic Law: Incorporation, Transformation, Coordination, Order of Execution, Adaptation, Approximation, Fusion, Direct Effect, and Resistance
  3.6.1 Subsidiarity
  3.6.2 Inter-judicial Dialogue
  3.6.3 Legal Pluralism from the Viewpoint of the Relationship between International and Domestic Law
 3.7 International Legal Theory and Technical and Scientific Expertise

4 Adumbrations of the Theoretical Adventure
 4.1 Some Characteristics
 4.2 Difficulties in the Assortment of Theorists in Schools and Movements

5 Traceability of Antecedents to Current Scholarship
 5.1 Introduction
 5.2 The Swing between the Two Mainstream Theories
 5.3 Natural Law
 5.4 Positivism(s)
 5.5 Responses to Traditional Voluntarist Positivism
 5.6 Normativism (a System Governed by Legal Norms)
 5.7 Aspects of the Sociological Underpinnings of International Law
  5.7.1 European Scholarship with “Sociological” Inspiration
  5.7.2 American “Exceptionalism”
  5.7.3 Singularities of the Soviet Doctrine (1922–1989)

6 Regional and National Traditions: Prolegomena to the Present (from the End of the Second World War to the 1970s)
 6.1 Introduction
 6.2 Overview of Theories after the Second World War
  6.2.1 Europe
  6.2.2 United States. Traditional, but also “What Seems Almost Evident [Is] the Difference between You and Me”
  6.2.3 Latin America
  6.2.4 Africa
  6.2.5 Asia

7 Self-referential International Law and the Compelling Need to Also Listen to Others’ Voices

8 Concluding Remarks

Part 2
Enduring and New Schools, Movements and Trends

9 Introduction

10 Basic Orientations
 10.1 The Liberal Agendas
 10.2 The Positivist Stronghold
 10.3 Renovated, Expressly Stated, Hidden or Inherited Naturalism
 10.4 Realism
 10.5 Idealism
 10.6 Rationalism and Rationality
 10.7 Pragmatism
 10.8 Empiricism
 10.9 Formalism

11 Other Approaches
 11.1 Modernity, Modernism and Post-modernism
 11.2 Policy-Oriented Theory, Perspective or Jurisprudence
 11.3Structuralism and Post-structuralism
 11.4 Constructivism
 11.5 Deconstruction
 11.6 Critical International Legal Studies
 11.7 Third World Approaches to International Law ( twail )
 11.8 The Feminist Presence
 11.9 Functionalism and Institutionalism
  11.9.1 Functionalism
  11.9.2 Institutionalism in Its Double Sense
 11.10 Instrumentalism
 11.11 International Regime Theories

12 Universal, Plural, Relative
 12.1 Legal Cosmopolitanism
 12.2 Constitutionalism and the “Constitutionalization” of International Law
 12.3 Legal Pluralism
 12.4 Legal Relativism and Relativity
 12.5 Role Splitting

13 Further Explorations
 13.1 Law and Economics or Rational Choice Approaches to International Law
 13.2 General Systems Theory ( gst ) or Systemic Theory (ST)
 13.3 A Place for Chaos Theory
 13.4 Current Marxist, Neo-Marxist and Leninist Approaches
 13.5 Moving in a “Middle Road”

14 Sociological Aspects of International Law Theories

15 Concluding Remarks

Part 3
Connecting More Writings to Theory

The International Legal System: Important Issues

16 Where is the International Community or Society?
 16.1 Evolving Views

17 Ontological and Post-ontological Discourses
 17.1 “International Law as Law”
 17.2 Mature or Primitive Law
 17.3 Discontent
 17.4 Law and Crisis

18 General (or Grand) Theories of International Law and General International Law
 18.1 In Search of a Current Specimen of General Theory
 18.2 General International Law: The Parameters

19 Legal Basis of International Obligations

20 Legitimacy

21 Compliance

22 Unity and Universality
 22.1 Unity
 22.2 Universality

23 Fragmentation
 23.1 Siblings of Fragmentation: Self-contained or Special Regimes
 23.2 Cohesion of Special Regimes or Subsystems

24 The Issue of Jurisdiction and Competence

25 Fictions

26 Hegemonic Power and Unilateralism

27 The International Dimension of the Rule of Law

28 Normativity Forming an Integral Part of International Law
 28.1 The Safe Port of Human Rights
 28.2 Non-use and Use of Force
 28.3 International Humanitarian Law ( ihl )
 28.4 The Economy: No More a Passing Silhouette

29 Concluding Remarks

Flashes about the Addressees, the Fabrication and Operation of International Law

The Addressees of International Law

30 The “Users” of International Law: Moving beyond Doctrinal Controversies on “Subjects”, “Non-state Actors” and “Participants”

31 The State
 31.1 The Concept
 31.2 Creation and Recognition
 31.3 Sovereignty
 31.4 International Legal Personality
 31.5 Equality
 31.6 Territory
 31.7 State Immunity/Immunities
 31.8 Responsibility
 31.9 Liability
 31.10 Self-determination
 31.11 Secession
 31.12 Succession
 31.13 Statehood and “One Size Fits All” Approaches

32 International Organizations
 32.1 Role and Legal Status
 32.2 Responsibility and Accountability of International Organizations. A Story of Loopholes

33 “Individuals” and Other Private Persons
 33.1 An Unfinished Symphony
 33.2 Non-governmental Organizations ( ngo ?s) and the International Civil Society

Aspects of the Fabrication and Operation of International Law

34 Law-Making
 34.1 Producers
 34.2 Main Products and Modes of Fabrication
  34.2.1 Customary International Law
  34.2.2 Treaties
  34.2.3 General Principles of Law

35 Expanding the Products and Modes of Fabrication
 35.1 Soft Law
 35.2 Standards
 35.3 A Converging Category: Transnational Law

36 Relationship between Norms
 36.1 Hierarchy of Norms
 36.2 The Intertwined Duo of Jus Cogens and Obligations Erga Omnes
  36.2.1 Jus Cogens
  36.2.2 Obligations Erga Omnes
 36.3 Successive, Parallel and Contradictory Commitments. The Issue of Transtextuality

37 Interpretation

38 Concluding Remarks

Widening the Discourse

39 Interrogations and Expectations
 39.1 Progress and “Progressive Development”
 39.2 Democracy
 39.3 The Eternal Quest for Ethics and Morality
 39.4 Fluctuations on Justice Stemming from International Law
 39.5 Globalization
 39.6 Governance and Global Administrative Law
 39.7 International Law and Politics
 39.8 International Environmental Law

40 A Skeleton Meeting of Minds
 40.1 Attempts for a Dialogue between International Law and International Relations (IR) Theories
 40.2 General Theories of Law and Political Science Touching on International Law
  40.2.1 General Theories of Law
  40.2.2 Other Doctrines Addressing Questions Related to International Law

41 Concluding Remarks

42 Final Conclusions: The Choristers’ Performances

Index of Authors
Index of Subjects
All interested in public international law, in particular theory of international law and its currents trends.