In this contribution the author takes stock of the extent to which R2P has both met and fallen short of the dreams of its founders since its endorsement by the 2005 World Summit. As an effective reactive counter-force to atrocity crimes already under way, R2P’s record has been disappointing. But as an institutional catalyst and preventive mechanism it has been generally successful, and as a normative force it has been, and remains, very influential.
This article explains why R2P failed to motivate action to protect vulnerable Syrians in the first two years of the crisis. We focus on the United States and argue that official discourse ‘localised’ the meaning R2P by grafting it on to preconceived ideas of America’s role in supporting democratic revolutions, which is how the situation was understood. American ‘exemplarism’ demanded the US support democracy by calling on Assad to go while not corrupting the ‘homegrown’ revolution through foreign intervention. The call for political and criminal accountability aligned exemplarist democracy promotion to R2P, but it did nothing to protect vulnerable populations from the conflict that ensued. This refraction of the norm complicated the United Nations sponsored peace process, which provided an alternative means of protecting the Syrian population. We address a gap in the literature by examining Western localisation and draw policy lessons, namely the importance of examining national predispositions when implementing R2P.
Over the past fifteen years since the adoption of the Responsibility to Protect, all eyes have been on the UN Security Council and its ability to respond to situations at imminent risk of, or experiencing, atrocity crimes. To the contrary, little attention has been given to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council (hrc) and its procedures and mechanisms. This is interesting considering that the hrc has responded to emerging and protracted atrocity situations around the world, often at times when the Security Council remained silent. hrc response to atrocities in Myanmar, Venezuela, and elsewhere highlights the unique role it can play in implementing R2P and triggering follow-up action outside of Geneva; yet, much remains to be done to overcome both institutional and political challenges to fully utilise the hrc’s potential to uphold our individual and shared responsibility to protect.
The current, prevailing narrative on the WIPO-WTO relationship refers to “forum-shifting”. The idea is that developed countries moved from WIPO to WTO in order to obtain stronger IP protection at the international level by joining trade talks with IP negotiations. As a result, WTO would have become the main international forum for trade-related IP issues. This paper argues that the forum-shifting narrative, despite its merits, may fail to catch the complexity of WIPO-WTO relationship. Moreover, long-standing issues, as well as recent developments in trade and IP, demonstrate that the two Organizations have been characterized by continuity and constitute in reality interdependent, complementary fora. This is not to deny the differences existing between WIPO and WTO nor to discard the merits of the forum-shifting theory. Nonetheless, it is argued, it is time to move beyond it in order to grasp the implications of the WIPO-WTO relationship towards future international economic governance.
Whilst most legal scholarship focuses on the responsibility of the United Nations for human rights violations few studies have ascertained the legal basis of the primary rules leading to such responsibility. This article fills this gap by reviewing the theories used to bind the UN to customary human rights law: (1) the UN has inherited its member states’ obligations, (2) participation in the formation of customary human rights law implies being bound by it, (3) the UN is bound by international law because it has legal personality and (4) as the UN is embedded in international law it must comply with its norms. Such theories are further tested against the backdrop of international organizations’ theories. The article draws the conclusion that (1) should be rejected, (2) is not yet legally sound and (3)-(4), despite their flaws, are more persuasive. Ultimately, recourse must be had to general international law.
Within the debate on the attribution of international responsibility to international organizations and/or its Member States, the role that the internal rules of the organization may play is not settled. The competence-based approach, where a relationship is supposed to exist between the EU/Member States’ division of competences and international responsibility, and the normative control doctrine, where the Union is deemed responsible for the actions of its Member States in the course of implementing EU law, are at the heart of such debate. This contribution aims to investigate whether the recent practice concerning the Union’s international responsibility in the fields of fisheries and investment adds clarifying elements. The analysis will specifically focus on the 2015 ITLOSAdvisory Opinion (Case No 21), an award under the Energy Charter Treaty (Electrabel v Hungary), and the investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanisms laid down in the recent EU bilateral investment agreements. Although one of these cases seems to implicitly recognise the normative control as a rule for the attribution of conduct to the EU when its Member States act implementing Union acts, what is missing, however, is a clear and deep debate on its specific elements. Discussions on a competence-based approach and normative control seem generally confused at the EU as well as at the international community level, suggesting that important opportunities have been missed to properly re-open the debate on the role of the organizations’ internal rules for the attribution of international responsibility.
Contemporary international relations have resulted not only in the establishment of intergovernmental organizations (‘IGOs’), but also in the emergence of certain IGO-like entities which are entering into ‘diplomatic-like’ relations with states, characterised by privileges and immunities similar to those provided under classic diplomatic law. This paper analyses such diplomatic-like relations between states and a number of these IGO-like entities primarily in relation to so-called ‘trans-governmental organizations’ (‘TGOs)’. In addition, organizations composed of formally non-state entities, but with an undoubtedly public purpose, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (‘ICRC’) or the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (‘IFRC’), as well as other so-called ‘advanced’ non-governmental organizations (‘NGOs’), will also be discussed due to their participation in legally regulated international, diplomatic-like relations with states and IGOs.
Treaty organs constitute a new system of international cooperation. The lack of definition and regulation for these new entities and their particularities deserves in-depth analysis due to its proliferation, especially in the area of international environmental law. This article will analyse the establishment of treaty organs and will seek a definition that allows them to be differentiated from international organizations. It will give attention to the concept of a set of organs and legal personality to determine the differences between international organizations and treaty organs. Finally, the possible application of international institutional law to treaty organs will be studied.