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With this volume, the Baltic Yearbook of International Law celebrates the centenary of the three Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The editors of the Yearbook launched a call for papers on a theme: the Baltic States and International Law. The volume contains a selection of articles examining diverse issues and it is no surprise that the history of statehood and international law are closely intertwined in the case of the Baltic States.

It is highly symbolic that the Baltic Yearbook of International Law, having been founded and hosted for many years by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute at Lund University in Sweden, has now, from 2018, come home and has taken up residence at the Riga Graduate School of Law (RGSL) in Latvia, in the very heart of the three Baltic States.

Among the selected authors, the Yearbook is glad to continue to introduce new authors from the region.

The Baltic Yearbook of International Law is the first legal journal in the field and sub fields of international law published under the auspices of the Baltic Editorial Board that attempts to bring to the international debate issues that are of importance in the Baltic States, providing a forum for the views on topical international-law themes from Baltic and international scholars. The first volume appeared in 2001 with a symposium on the question of the international legal status of the Baltic States. The Yearbook contains State practice reports from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, thus serving as an important source of international law that is unavailable elsewhere. From time to time the Yearbook has offered articles discussing the history of international law and current issues in Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation, thus making regional discourse more accessible to a wider global audience.

The Role of Practice in International Organizations

The Case of Government Recognition by the International Monetary Fund

Lorenzo Arditi

This article explores the ‘practice’ of the International Monetary Fund (‘imf’) by focusing on the organization’s approach to recognition of governments. After analysing this approach in some detail, it surveys the organization’s practice from three perspectives. First, it identifies the different functions of practice within the imf’s legal system, including the imf’s treaty. Second, the article reviews how the practice of the imf relates to key conceptions of practice under international law: (i) as part of international custom; (ii) under articles 31(3)(b) and 32 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties; and (iii) as a ‘rule of the organization’. Finally, the article compares ‘practice’ under the imf treaty and a national legal system by considering how the United States’ Supreme Court has interpreted the power to recognise governments under the USConstitution.

Philipp Glahé


After the Second World War, the Allies began a program of legal prosecution of war criminals who were to be sentenced in fair and public processes. However, these processes soon evoked vivid criticism, and by no means simply from former National Socialists. The Heidelberg Circle of Jurists (‘Heidelberger Juristenkreis’) is an example of a heterogeneous lobby group including victims of National Socialism as well as supporters of this ideology demanding amnesty for German war criminals between 1949 and 1955. Numbering forty high-ranking judges, lawyers, politicians, professors and church representatives, the Circle had access to a vast network and had a considerable impact on Allied and German war-crimes policy. On the basis of new source material, this article examines the Circle’s evolution, its apparently contradictory composition, its argumentation and its aims, by focusing on three of its members, the former minister of justice of the Weimar Republic and legal philosopher Gustav Radbruch, the internationalist Erich Kaufmann and the Nuremberg lawyer Hellmut Becker.

Fernando Pérez Godoy


This study is part of the current trend of expanding ‘histories of international law’. From a regional perspective, I analyse not just the South American dimension of the process known as the ‘universalization of international law science’, but also focus on the ‘ideological use’ of ius gentium europaeum in the debate on the occupation of indigenous territories governing by the nation Mapuche in the south of Chile (1861–1883) and then the discussion on the legitimacy of the Saltpeter War between Chile and the Bolivian-Peruvian Alliance (1879–1884). I argue that the Chilean national legal discourse applied a core argument of nineteenth-century international law to legitimize its foreign policy in those conflicts: ‘the standard of civilization’. Thus, it is possible to speak about a domestic recreation of imperial logic as part of the globalization of the European law of nations in the nineteenth century.

Tomoko Akami


Adachi Mineichirō was the first non-European and the first Asian President of the Permanent Court of International Justice (1931–1934). This review article introduces the first substantial study of Adachi, focusing on his path of ‘becoming’ one of a few leading international jurists with non-Euro-American backgrounds in his period. This review essay demonstrates that by examining this Japanese diplomat and jurist, the book, written in Japanese, contributes to the debates on the history of international law in two significant ways. First, it reveals the fundamental issues in the development of the international judicial system, namely the nature of international jurists, empires and the principle of the equality of national sovereignty, and the significance of the roles of non-Euro-American actors in shaping the system. Secondly, it demonstrates the necessity of the inter-disciplinary collaboration between international law, international history and specific regional and national history, as well as methodological challenges in evaluating the historical development of the system.

Nicolas Carrillo-Santarelli and Carolina Olarte-Bácares


Looking at successive chronological stages in the development from the de facto independence of former Spanish colonies towards their first timid recognition by the United Kingdom and their later full acceptance as states by the Spanish monarchy, this article examines several factors that indicate that pragmatism, motivated by political and economic reasons, was the defining element that persuaded different European powers to grant recognition to the nascent States in a historical era in which such recognition was essential for statehood. Those Latin American Republics likewise benefited from British recognition and the later definitive recognition of Spain and other European powers, bending the limits of the law then existing with dynamics based on the principle of effectiveness coupled with certain legitimacy considerations, which have been present throughout history, including the present.