The successful adoption of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is hailed as the ‘landmark of the highest significance in the codification of international law’. It represented the first significant codification of any international instrument since the United Nations was established. However, despite the codification of the above rules, which is largely based on the pre-existing customary international law, the scope of diplomatic protection was not free from issues and controversies. In recent times, unfortunately, there is a growing tendency amongst the diplomats to abuse their diplomatic status to commit acts prohibited by law and still claim immunity from legal process. The States-parties also aggravate this situation by selectively interpreting the rules in their favor, ignoring the fact that reciprocity is the basis for the successful functioning of the diplomatic protection. In this connection, this paper addresses the problem of abuse of immunities and privileges and its adverse implications on the balance between immunities and the duty to respect the local laws and regulations, especially with special reference to the recent Indian experience. It explores the two recent Indian diplomatic confrontations, namely, the arrest of Devyani Khobragade and the travel ban on Daniele Mancini. Based on the study, it highlights the need for a well-balanced and equitable enforcement of the Vienna Conventions in the interest of maintenance of cordial diplomatic relations in the international community.
The world stands at the precipice of a transitional moment in the international law writ caused by the reasonable likelihood that new architects will be joining (and eventually supplanting) the present-day architects. Transformative geo-political and economic developments such as obor, the aiib, ndb and the increasing internationalization of the Yuan all herald potentially significant changes to the existing international governance architecture. “Revisionist” states with strong motivations and global ambitions, may will become international law creators as these new architects influence the economic and legal orders. International law is not static and several of the new architects’ customs and norms inherently conflict with current Western ideals. Will international law norms converge? Will Western notions gravitate towards the other spectrum in enlightened self-interest? The impact on international law norms, enforcement, human rights, sustainability, trade and investment treaties and arbitration will be far-reaching. Understanding how this potential re-orientations in power will affect international law is of critical importance.
China’s free trade agreements (ftas) reveal malleability as the most striking feature. The paper analyzes the following questions: what is the trend of China’s fta approach to investment concerning malleability? Is China a rule follower, shaker or maker? How may China approach the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (rcep) regarding investment? It argues first that the malleability will probably expand from investment protection to investment liberalization. China converges with deep ftas regarding investment protection and may incrementally move to investment liberalization. Second, increased malleability of China’s ftas exists in regulatory autonomy and investor-state dispute settlement. Third, China is likely to be a rule shaker in the short to medium term, and become a rule maker later if challenges are addressed. Its approach may evolve from selective adaption to selective innovation. Finally, the rcep may adopt low-level investment rules and an early harvest approach due to, inter alia, existing agreements and the nature of mega fta.
In recent years, the un Security Council has repeatedly come under criticism for its inaction in the face of serious violations of international law. As a means to prevent further deadlocks, this article advocates the introduction of a duty to explain votes cast in the Council. In certain situations, such a duty to give reasons already exists today, although it is not implemented. We propose to extend this duty to all votes in the Security Council and to codify it in its Provisional Rules of Procedure. A comprehensive duty to give reasons has three major virtues: it increases the quality of Council decisions, it enhances legal certainty, and it improves the accountability of the Council and of its members. As opposed to structural reforms, our proposal does not necessitate amending the un Charter and thus does not depend on the consent of the Council’s permanent members.
Security Council resolutions seldom only appear only once. More often than not, they are recalled, reiterated, recognised, re-emphasised or reaffirmed in subsequent resolutions. In this article, I study some of the effects of such acts of repetition. Based on an analysis of acts of repetition in films and novels, I argue that acts of repetition are related to (a) the problem of origins, (b) the problem of authorship/authority and (c) the problem of continuity and change. Through acts of repetition, resolutions can claim that they had already begun before they were enacted, that there was something “before the beginning”. Moreover, acts of repetition help securing the continuity of the author (authority) of resolutions. Finally, acts of repetition make it possible to confirm and at the same time adapt earlier statements or rules of law.
Entry into force of the UN Watercourses Convention in August 2014, and the opening of the UNECE Water Convention to all states in March 2016, are significant milestones in international water law. A comparative analysis of these two global water conventions and the 1995 Mekong Agreement reveals that all three instruments are generally compatible. Nonetheless, the international legal principles and processes set forth in the two conventions can render the Mekong Agreement more up-to-date, robust and practical.
The Governance Regime of the Mekong River Basin: Can the Global Water Conventions Strengthen the 1995 Mekong Agreement? contends that strengthening the Agreement would be timely, given the increasing pressures associated with the rapid hydropower development within the basin and the gradually emerging disputes therein. Due to these fast-moving developments, Kinna and Rieu-Clarke strongly recommend that the Mekong states should seriously consider joining both conventions in order to buttress and clarify key provisions of the 1995 Mekong Agreement.
States are obliged to protect the right to life by law. This article analyses the way in which states do this in the field of aviation law, maritime law and the law on migrant smuggling. A comparative description of these fields shows that states differentiate in protecting the right to life. Regular travellers benefit from extensive positive obligations to safeguard their right to life, whereas the lives of irregularised travellers are protected first and foremost by combating irregularised migration and, if the worst comes to pass, by search and rescue. The right of states to exclude aliens from their territories leads to exclusion of irregularised travellers from their main positive obligations under the right to life. This situation is analysed through Zygmunt Bauman’s notion of ‘wasted lives’. The contrast with aviation and maritime law makes clear that this situation is the outcome of human choice, which can be changed.
International courts have at times interpreted the customary rules on interpretation. This is interesting because what is being interpreted is: i) rules of interpretation, which sounds dangerously tautological, and ii) customary law, the interpretation of which has not been the object of critical analysis. The present paper, aims to fill this lacuna and prove that not only interpretation of customary rules of interpretation is not problematic (it is neither tautological nor impossible), but also that it is a process completely distinguishable from that of formation/identification of customary international law. Whereas the latter determines the existence of a customary rule and has to grapple with ‘practice’ and ‘opinio juris’, interpretation of customary rules concerns itself with the rules after they have come into existence. I will then demonstrate that customary rules of interpretation have consistently been interpreted in international jurisprudence and that the interpretative process bears certain similarities to treaty interpretation.