A Critical Introduction to International Law - EUB

A Critical Introduction to International Law

Première édition

Traduit par Christopher Sutcliffe

Is international law universal? Can it be anything else than the will of the actors who are able to impose on others their values and interests? These are some of the questions that underlie this book, which, following a critical approach, emphasizes the profound ambivalence of international law. Lire la suite

Beyond the strategic objectives that can be pursued – by a lawyer pleading before a court, a state representative operating in an international organization or addressing the general public, an author seeking recognition, or a citizen interested in the law – since international law cannot be interpreted objectively, can it at least be interpreted in a convincing and well-argued way?

International law appears to be torn between, on the one hand, the pursuit of a universalist ideal of justice and peace, and, on the other, the need to deal with power relations in a political context. From this perspective, it would be futile to claim to establish, and even less ‘to discover’, one single ‘correct’ interpretation of legal rules such as, for example, the right to self- determination, the principle of non-intervention or the prohibition of genocide. It is however possible to provide an overview of the main debates among states, other international actors or among legal scholars relating to the interpretation of the main rules of international law. In the book, these debates will be illustrated by references borrowed from popular culture and, in particular, from music and films.

The ambition of this book is to enable the reader, on the basis of these elements, to position himself or herself by selecting and defending the arguments that seem most convincing, and, more fundamentally, to understand the legal and political terms of the controversy...

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Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles
Olivier Corten, François Dubuisson, Vaios Koutroulis, Anne Lagerwall,
Traduit par
Christopher Sutcliffe,
Catégorie (éditeur)
> Droit
BISAC Subject Heading
LAW051000 LAW / International
Code publique Onix
06 Professionnel et académique
CLIL (Version 2013-2019 )
3277 Droit international
Subject Scheme Identifier Code
Classification thématique Thema: Droit international : conflits internationaux et procédure civile

Livre broché

Date de publication
20 septembre 2019
Nombre de pages de contenu principal : 568
Code interne
160 x 240 x 32 cm
900 grammes
Version 2.1, Version 3


Date de publication
14 avril 2020
Contenu du produit
Text (eye-readable)
Nombre de pages de contenu principal : 568
Code interne
Version 2.1, Version 3

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CHAPTER I – The Ambivalences of the International Legal Order
I.    International law – A great story?
II.   Is international law "law"?
III.  Who can interpret international law and how?
PART ONE – The subjects of the International legal order
CHAPTER II – The Creation of States
I.    Is statehood a question of fact? The theory of constitutive factors and its ambiguities
II.   The creation of a state: a question of law?
III.  Declaratory or constitutive recognition of states?
IV.  State succession: what role does law play?
CHAPTER III – State Borders
I.    Agreement as the fundamental criterion for delimitation: the relative character of borders
II.   The principle of uti possidetis juris: a substitute for agreement?
III.  The case of maritime and spatial frontiers: sea and space, "common heritage of mankind"
CHAPTER IV – The Exercise of Sovereignty
I.    Sovereignty framed by law: a paradox?
II.   The national jurisdictions of states confronted with requirements of cooperation
III.  The principle of non-intervention: a general limit to states' exercise of their sovereignty?
IV.  Immunities as specific limits on the exercise of sovereignty: between the interests of states
      and aspirations to a universal morality
CHAPTER V – International Organizations
I.    The definition of international organizations and their legal personality: institutions per se
      or merely the product of agreements among states?
II.   The powers of international organizations: attributed by states or autonomous?
III.  The United Nations, embodiment of the international community?
CHAPTER VI – Private Persons
I.    The development of human rights: the scope and limits of universality
II.   The mechanisms of implementation: beyond the state?
III.  The development of obligations for individuals: a law of the "international community"?
PART TWO – The Sources of International Law
I.    The place of custom in the system of sources of international law: the tension between
      voluntarist and objectivist approaches
II.   The constituent elements of custom: how can fact become law?
III.  The evolution of custom: the paradoxes of a source that is both dynamic and stabilizing
I.    The definition and validity of treaties: is agreement a construction?
II.   The conditions of conclusion, termination, or suspension of treaty obligations:
      an objective regime?
III.  The principle of the relativity of treaties and its limits
CHAPTER IX – Other sources of international law
I.    Unilateral declarations: an autonomous source?
II.   The acts of international organizations: secondary law?
III.  The "general principles of law": an autonomous source?
IV.  Judicial precedent and legal writings: “subsidiary means for the determination of
      rules of law”?
PART THREE – The Implementation of International Law
CHAPTER X – International Law and War
I.   The scope of the prohibition of the use of force: jus contra bellum or jus ad bellum?
II.  Self-defence as an “inherent right”?
CHAPTER XI – International Responsibility
I.   Difficulties in attributing conduct to a state
II.  Recognition of “circumstances precluding wrongfulness”: a confirmation of realism?
III. The random implementation of international responsibility
IV. The limited responsibility of international organizations
CHAPTER XII – Peaceful Settlement of Disputes
I.    An autonomous legal principle?
II.   A sovereign body of law: a free choice between peaceful means of settlement?
III.  Limitation by law? The International Court of Justice as a universal court
IV.  The development of means of dispute settlement and areas of international law:
      towards a fragmentation of international law?
List of Maps and Illustrations
Selective Bibliography


Avant-propos / Foreword

Table des matières / Contents