After submitting that most scholarly and practical debates about the law of international organizations can be construed as a battle between arguments based on the idea of a contract and those based on the idea of a constitution, this article discusses international legal scholars’ ability to turn the foundational dichotomies between contractualism and constitutionalism into a dynamic and dialectic framework. It makes the argument that international legal scholars, and especially legal academics, while unanimously acknowledging the existence of such paradigmatic tensions, are regularly tempted to iron them out through the promotion of a series of dialectical concepts or moves.
It is against the backdrop of the conceptual impairment inherited from the Articles on State Responsibility (hereafter ASR) that this note, rather than zeroing in on what could have been better devised at the micro-level of the Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations (hereafter ARIO), adopts a holistic view on the approaches to the law of international responsibility. In so doing, the ARIO are not approached in isolation but together with the ASR. This paper argues that, envisaged together with the ASR, the ARIO magnify the structural straits of the law of international responsibility. It more particularly argues that the ARIO reveal that the minor and almost invisible defects at the level of the ASR have enlarged on the occasion of their transposition to the responsibility of international organizations, unveiling the conceptual fissures of the whole law of international responsibility (Section 1). It then formulates a few epistemological considerations on how a normative instrument that so openly lays bare the limits of the current law of international responsibility could nonetheless be usefully received by our professional community (Section 2).
This article contests mainstream accounts of international responsibility and argues that the act of subjecting certain forms of conduct to the regime of international responsibility has a constitutive dimension. It argues that international responsibility constitutes, rather than constrains, power. More than legal personality, it is international responsibility that makes international organizations huge hubs of power. This article starts with some introductory remarks on the extent to which responsibility ought to be understood as a set of formal modes of legal reasoning through which the determination and allocation of the burden of compensation is debated, as well as a few reminders of the political choices that informed the design of its main formal modes of legal reasoning. After showing how the rules regarding the responsibility of States are constitutive of the power of States, attention turns to the claim that the regime of responsibility of international organizations similarly constitutes the power of international organizations and their member States. This article ends with some remarks on the divergent constitutive roles of personality and responsibility, and on the consequences of a shift in perspective from accountability to power in studies on international responsibility.
This chapter uses the metaphor of turntablism to shed light on the confinement of international lawyers’ engagement with history to the terms, vocabularies, and categories of the very historical narratives they seek to evaluate, disrupt, or displace. For the sake of this chapter, turntablism is understood here as the art of creating new music and sound effects by using one or several turntables on which a record is placed. This chapter argues that twenty-first century international lawyers engaging with the history of international law are talented turntablists in that the many historiographical works of international lawyers produced since the so-called ‘historical turn’ have remained confined to the very terms, categories, and vocabularies of the histories whose creation they have been discoursing and theorising. This chapter ultimately shows that turntablism is not the inevitable fate of international lawyers engaging with history, and that a radical historical critique is possible and should be promoted.
Jean d’Aspremont analyses how the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Judgment used the International Law Commission’s (ilc) work on international responsibility – and, in turn, the Judgment’s impact on the Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (arsiwa) – in order to discuss the ‘symbiotic relationship’ between the icj and the ilc in the construction of general rules of international law.