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Author: Jan Klabbers
Whether or not a certain norm is legally binding upon international actors may often depend on whether or not the instrument which contains the norm is to be regarded as a treaty. In this study, the author argues that instruments which contain commitments are, ex hypothesi, treaties. In doing so, he challenges popular notions proclaiming the existence of morally and politically binding agreements and so-called `soft law'. Such notions, Klabbers argues, are internally inconsistent and founded upon untenable presumptions. Moreover, they find little support in the pertinent decisions of municipal and international courts and tribunals.
The book addresses issues of importance not only for academics working in international law, constitutional law and political science, but also for practitioners involved in the making, implementation and enforcement of international agreements.
In: Regulatory Hybridization in the Transnational Sphere
In: Treaty Interpretation and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties: 30 Years on
Author: Jan Klabbers

This article addresses the ecology and functioning of the World Health Organization in a time of crisis, zooming in on the pressures on both the organization and its leadership generated by the circumstance that the organization cannot avoid allocating costs and benefits when taking decisions. The article argues that the covid-19 crisis illustrates how international organizations generally and the who in particular are subjected to conflicting demands, and how this impacts on the role of decision-makers. The latter, it transpires, need to display considerable practical wisdom.

In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
In: Nordic Journal of International Law
Author: Jan Klabbers

This article aims to inventorize, discuss and analyze the normative output of the WHO, and aims to do so not in terms of ‘binding’ versus ‘non-binding’ instruments or ‘hard’ law versus ‘soft’ law, but in terms of the epistemic authority exercised by and through the WHO. This broader focus allows for a discussion not just of treaties and resolutions, but also of the normative effect of training courses produced by the WHO, or such documents as the World Health Reports. In the background resides the idea that there is a disjuncture between the authority exercised by international organizations, and the tools lawyers have readily available to evaluate such authority: the normative gap of the title. The article enjoins lawyers broaden their repertoire, as precisely lawyers would be well-equipped to address epistemic authority.

In: International Organizations Law Review