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International Relations International Law
by
Florian Hoffmann

Introduction

Traditionally, international law denotes the legal relations among sovereign nation-states. As a discourse it emerged in the aftermath of the Peace of Westphalia and the consolidation of territorially based states defined by national sovereignty, though it only became a distinct academic discipline and professional practice in the late 19th century. It is doctrinally subdivided into what is now considered to be general international law and a number of increasingly autonomous subdisciplines. The former is concerned with the sources of international legality—mainly treaties and customary norms; its (traditional) subjects, notably states and international organizations; the spaces that it regulates, including a state’s territory, the sea, air, and outer space; as well as the polar regions and the core aspects of sovereignty—namely, a state’s jurisdiction and immunities. Moreover, general international law is concerned with state responsibility, that is, the “civil” liability that applies to the conduct of states, and the institutions and procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes—most important, by international tribunals such as the International Court of Justice. As the international rule of law is generally considered to be an antidote to war, the regulation and, thus, limitation of the use of force by states has, historically and doctrinally, been seen as a central element of international law even if the relevant legal regimes have now developed into distinct subdisciplines. With the gradual and differentiated recognition of nonstate subjects, a broader interpretation of sources, and the emergence of specific concerns of international legal regulation, further distinct subdisciplines have come about, including the international protection of human rights, international criminal law, international economic law, international environmental law, and international refugee law. In that the modern literature on international law has been traditionally doctrinal and practitioner-oriented, more overtly theoretical literature has sprung up only relatively recently, largely on the basis of critical methodology and with a particular interest in historical narrative.

General Overviews

As with many legal disciplines, the literature on international law is firmly rooted in the textbook tradition, with most general works seeking to provide a systematic and often comprehensive account of at least the core of the discipline. This has left less room for “general overview” without textbook aspirations, and often such general works are thus either edited collections covering all major topics in international law, such as Byers 2000; Falk, et al. 1985; Dunnoff, et al. 2006; Goldstein, et al. 2001; and Miller and Bratspiess 2008. Alternatively, there are a number of theory-driven general treatises, such as Charlesworth and Chinkin 2000 and Higgins 1995. Armstrong 2009 and Cali 2010 come perhaps closest to a didactic general overview aimed at nonspecialists.

  • Armstrong, David, ed. Routledge Handbook of International Law. New York: Routledge, 2009.

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    A collection of topically arranged essays by some of the biggest names in contemporary international law. Broader in outlook than the common textbook or doctrinal treatise and aimed at a multidisciplinary readership.

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  • Byers, Michael, ed. The Role of Law in International Politics: Essays in International Relations and International Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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    Again, a collection bringing together many well-known international lawyers and international relations scholars reflecting broadly on the perennial question of the point and relevance of international law.

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  • Cali, Basak, ed. International Law for International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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    A systematic and textbook-like overview of the discipline and its essential doctrines and topics, geared to the student of international relations who seeks to understand international law from within.

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  • Charlesworth, H., and Christine Chinkin. The Boundaries of International Law: A Feminist Analysis. Melland Schill Studies in International Law. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2000.

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    A pathbreaking and much-cited feminist reading of international law that, when it first appeared, stunned the male-dominated international legal academy and has since inspired a generation of feminist writing on the subject.

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  • Dunoff, Jeffrey L., Steven R. Ratner, and David Wippman, eds. International Law: Norms, Actors, Process—A Problem-Oriented Approach. New York: Aspen, 2006.

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    A problem-oriented approach to international law, written from the perspective of the (self-)reflective practitioner.

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  • Falk, Richard A., Friedrich Kratochwil, and Saul H. Mendlovitz, eds. International Law: A Contemporary Perspective. Studies on a Just World Order 2. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985.

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    A contemporary classic compiled by three iconic figures at the borderline of international law and international relations.

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  • Goldstein, Judith L., Miles Kahler, Robert O. Keohane, and Anne-Marie Slaughter. Legalization and World Politics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2001.

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    A collection of essays by leading scholars about the causes and consequences of judicialization and the development of international law.

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  • Higgins, Rosalyn. Problems and Process: International Law and How We Use It. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995.

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    A concise treatise by the former president of the International Court of Justice, who, despite being deeply immersed in the practitioner’s logic, always professed to the influence of the Yale School of International Law and its distinctive way of reframing the discipline.

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  • Miller, Russell, and Rebecca Bratspies, eds. Progress in International Law. Developments in International Law 60. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2008.

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    A large and diverse anthology with forty essays on nearly all contemporary issues of international law: from the basics, such as the nature of contemporary statehood, to international environmental law. Inspired by interwar American jurist Manley O. Hudson and his 1932 Progress in International Organization (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press).

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Textbooks

Textbooks still occupy a fairly dominant role in international law literature, not least because they tend to be the first and usually most comprehensive exposition the student and scholar of international law has of the subject. Indeed, at least with regard to general international law, a reasonably recent edition of a main textbook is likely to provide a fairly up-to-date overview of the law for quite some time due in part to the still relatively slow pace at which international law develops. Most textbooks are single-author monographs, with edited collections (such as Evans 2006) a notable exception. Of the former, classic syllabus recommendations are Brownlie 2008 and Shaw 2008 in Europe and Weston, et al. 2006 in the United States. Buergenthal and Murphy 2006, Cassesse 2001, and Lowe 2007 provide slightly shorter though perhaps more didactic treatments.

  • Brownlie, Ian. Principles of Public International Law. 7th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    A contemporary classic by one of the best-known and most prolific practitioners in Europe, notoriously theory-averse and, perhaps, the embodiment of the traditional line in international legal doctrine.

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  • Buergenthal, Thomas, and Sean D. Murphy. Public International Law in a Nutshell. 4th ed. West Nutshell Series. St. Paul, MN: Thomson West, 2006.

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    A relatively concise introduction to the subject, cowritten by a former president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and a judge of the International Court of Justice, meant, as the title suggests, as a systematic if elementary treatment of the discipline.

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  • Cassese, Antonio. International Law. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

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    The general treatise by one of Italy’s foremost international lawyers, best known for his pioneering engagement in international criminal law. Adheres closely to the traditional doctrinal division of the subject even if this monograph is somewhat more concise than many other textbooks.

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  • Evans, Malcolm, ed. International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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    Evans has ventured into the textbook tradition in an innovative way, notably by presenting an edited collection featuring some of the best-known experts in the distinct subfields of (general) international law. The result may not be as coherent as a single-author textbook, but it provides for deeper, theoretically engaged, and more cutting-edge reading than do most other textbooks, even if that may prove to be more of a challenge to the incipient student of the discipline.

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  • Lowe, Vaughan. International Law. Clarendon Law Series. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    A deliberately concise and easy-to-follow overview of the subject written by one of Britain’s foremost academic practitioners and geared to the early student or nonspecialist wishing to gain some footing in international law.

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  • Shaw, Malcolm. International Law. 6th ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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    A popular if massive textbook aspiring to almost encyclopedic comprehensiveness of at least the general subjects it includes in its canon. Organized and presented in a fairly traditional style and not always an easy read, it is nonetheless the embodiment of the traditional international law textbook.

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  • Weston, Burns H., Richard A. Falk, and Hilary Charlesworth. International Law and World Order: A Problem-Oriented Casebook. American Casebook series. 4th ed. St. Paul, MN: Thomson West, 2006.

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    An introductory, student-oriented textbook designed for American-style teaching, with strong emphasis on cases and problem solving, though with a wider perspective on international law than its European counterparts.

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Reference Works

With textbooks largely fulfilling the role of reference works, there are not too many other types of publication that clearly fall in this category. There are a number of dedicated dictionaries, such as Boczek 2005 and Parry 2003, as well as the much (student-) used cases and materials collections Harris 2004 and Dixon and McCorquodale 2010. In addition, there are a number of materials collections, most notably Brownlie 2002 and Evans 2009.

Journals

Including both general international law and its specialist topics, there is a large number of dedicated international law reviews and an even larger number of general law reviews regularly featuring articles on international law. The list below is, thus, more than eclectic and only features a few of the major journals in the field. A more representative list can be obtained at WashLaw—Legal Research on the Net. Arguably the lead (English-language) journals in the field are the American Journal of International Law and the European Journal of International Law, while, more locally, the British Yearbook of International Law and the Melbourne Journal of International Law being significant outlets in the UK and Australian contexts, respectively. The Harvard International Law Journal, the New York University Journal of International Law and Politics, and the Yale Journal of International Law are the specialist publications of three leading teaching and research institutions in international law. The German Law Journal, in turn, is quite unique in providing frequent, online-only commentary on the newest developments in international law.

Histories

With the “turn to history” having reached international law (more than a hundred years after it made its first methodological entry in theology, historiography, and philosophy), a growing number of histories, historizations, and historiographies of international law has been appearing, with broader theoretical aspirations frequently couched (or concealed) in historical narrative. Bederman 2007 is a careful and cautious approach to the distant origins of interstate normative relations, whereas Grewe and Byers 2000, Truyol y Serra 1995, and Ziegler 2007 are traditionally framed general histories of international law. The as-yet incipient literature on the historiography of international law is represented in the typical theory-oriented fashion in Anghie 2004; Craven, et al. 2007; and Koskenniemi 2004, with Ku and Diel 2003 and Macalister-Smith 1999 providing bibliographic material.

  • Anghie, Antony. Imperialism, Sovereignty, and the Making of International Law. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law 37. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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    A pioneering critical study of the colonial legacy of international law, that has become a reference work for the postcolonial perspective on the discourse and the discipline.

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  • Bederman, David. International Law in Antiquity. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law 16. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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    A fascinating approach to an often mythologized period in which states in the modern sense did not exist and law had altogether different connotations and functions than are recognized today.

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  • Craven, Matthew, M. Fitzmaurice, and Maria Vogiatzi, eds. Time, History and International Law. Developments in International Law 58. Leiden, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004154810.i-255Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A pathbreaking collection of state-of-the-art reflections on the historical dimension of international law, opening a new disciplinary horizon.

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  • Grewe, Wilhelm G., and Michael Byers, eds. The Epochs of International Law. Rev. ed. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2000.

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    A classical account of the history of international law, carefully translated by a renowned international lawyer.

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  • Koskenniemi, Martti. The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of Modern International Law, 1870–1960. 2d ed. Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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    Koskenniemi is one of the icons of contemporary international law, perhaps the most prolific writer on its history, and one who has redefined the stakes of theorizing the discourse. This is his second grand oeuvre, nominally a history of late-19th- and early-20th-century international law, yet really a historically shaped grand theory that builds on his earlier From Apology to Utopia (see Koskenniemi 2006, cited under Theory).

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  • Ku, Charlotte, and Paul F. Diehl, eds. International Law: Classic and Contemporary Readings. 2d ed. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2003.

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    A good reader of both historical and contemporary texts on international law and, as such, a useful resource for the historically conscious student of the subject.

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  • Macalister-Smith, Peter, and J. Schwietzke. “Literature and Documentary Sources Relating to the History of Public International Law: An Annotated Bibliography Survey.” Journal of the History of International Law 1.2 (1999): 136–212.

    DOI: 10.1163/15718059920956724Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An important resource for historical research in international law.

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  • Truyol y Serra, Antonio. Histoire du droit international public. Paris: Editions Economica, 1995.

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    One of the main general histories in French, with ambitions similar to those of Grewe and Byers 2000 and Ziegler 2007.

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  • Ziegler, Karl-Heinz. Völkerrechtsgeschichte: Ein Studienbuch. Juristische Kurz-Lehrbücher. Munich: C. H. Beck, 2007.

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    A “study book” meant to bring the nonspecialist student and scholar closer to the historical dimension of international law; concisely and clearly structured.

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Theory

In general, most theoretical reflections have taken their cue from a host of disciplines around the broad agenda set by critical legal studies, such as Carty 2007, Korhonen 2000, Koskenniemi 2005, Marks 2000, Miéville 2006, and Skouteris 2010. Somewhat rarer are approaches broadly in the traditions of analytical jurisprudence, such as the Besson and Tasoulias 2010 reader, or of natural law, such as Teson 1998. Yet more recently, a number of rational choice and “law and economics” -inspired critical reflections have sprung up around Goldsmith and Posner 2005, a controversial treatise.

  • Besson, Samantha, and John Tasioulas, eds. The Philosophy of International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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    A timely collection of essays in the only incipient systematic reflection on the theoretical dimensions of international law. Largely contouring the traditional doctrinal topics, and exploring them largely from an analytical jurisprudential perspective.

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  • Carty, Anthony. The Philosophy of International Law. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007.

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    The second grand oeuvre of one of the leading historians and theorists of international law, dense and deep, though one of the very few systematic theory efforts. In essence, this is a mixture of Marxist and humanist critique of what, for Carty, is a Hobbesian stranglehold over the discipline.

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  • Goldsmith, Jack L., and Eric A. Posner. The Limits of International Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    A highly controversial, though sharply argued and concentrated critique of the legalist dominance over international legal discourse. Employing a rational-choice analysis, the authors purport to demonstrate why international law as conceived by (European?) positivism cannot (and ought not?) work.

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  • Korhonen, Outi. International Law Situated: Culture, History and Ethics. Erik Castreén Institute Monographs on International Law and Human Rights 1. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2000.

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    A treatise by one of the finest minds in the theory of international law, this is a thorough exploration of the broader discursive context within which international law as a discipline is situated.

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  • Koskenniemi, Martti. From Apology to Utopia. The Structure of International Legal Argument. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511493713Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Arguably the most influential contemporary work in the theory of international law, and the author’s first grand oeuvre, originally published in 1989 (Helsinki: Finnish Lawyers’ Publishing). A deconstructive deep reading of the language and structure of international law that has changed the way international lawyers talk about their craft.

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  • Marks, Susan. The Riddle of All Constitutions: International Law, Democracy, and the Critique of Ideology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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    A carefully argued and erudite effort in ideology critique of international law.

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  • Miéville, China. Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law. Historical Materialism Book Series 2. Chicago: Haymarket, 2006.

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    A forceful argument in favor of Pashukanis’s commodity-form theory of international law in a theoretically mature Marxist voice.

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  • Skouteris, Thomas. The Notion of Progress in International Law Discourse. The Hague: Asser, 2010.

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    A timely critique of the progress narrative in international law.

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  • Tesón, Fernando R. A Philosophy of International Law. New Perspectives on Law, Culture, and Society. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1998.

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    A self-conscious, neohumanist natural law-inspired rereading of international law, a small school of thought today, but harking back to a long and rich tradition of which the discourse of international law is by no means free.

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Sources of International Law

The sources doctrine is the traditional starting point for any account of international law. Seemingly simple in its authoritative articulation in Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, it is in fact extraordinarily complex and continues to attract much reflection and discussion. In terms of general treatments, D’Amato 2004 is the classic account, with van Hoof 1983 and Reisman and Willard 1988 raising important questions about the viability of the traditional-sources doctrine. Hannikainen 1988, Orakhelashvili 2006, and Ragazzi 2000 then deal, in slightly different ways, with the nature of international obligation and the special type of “super-norms” that international law knows as jus cogens.

  • D’Amato, Anthony A. International Law Sources. Leiden, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 2004.

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    One of the foremost authorities on the sources of international law, D’Amato’s is the classic statement, mixed with a touch of American realist thinking.

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  • Hannikainen, Lauri. “Peremptory Norms (Jus Cogens) in International Law: Historical Development, Criteria, Present Status.” Helsinki: Finnish Lawyers’ Publishing, 1988.

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    Still an informative and comprehensive account of this special type of international norm, a custom removed from customary practice. Although of relatively little import in daily legal practice, it is a subject that has fascinated international lawyers, and this thesis (University of Lapland, 1988) is one of the first general reflections on its nature.

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  • Orakhelashvili, Alexander. Peremptory Norms in International Law. Oxford Monographs in International Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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    A more recent and up-to-date account reflecting developments in international human rights and international criminal law.

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  • Ragazzi, Maurizio. The Concept of International Obligations Erga Omnes. Oxford Monographs in International Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198298700.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Yet another treatise linking a reflection on the nature of international legal obligation to one on sources, around the important if rarely used concept of an erga omnes obligation.

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  • Reisman, W. Michael, and Andrew R. Willard, eds. International Incidents: The Law That Counts in World Politics. Papers originally presented at the Yale Law School spring 1984 seminar “The Incident as a Decision Unit in International Law.” Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988.

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    Prima facie not a book on sources and, yet, a forceful statement from the perspective of the Yale School of what, according to the authors, really matters to international law—namely, those crises during which the law is enunciated and developed. While not an uncontroversial argument, it captures with deliberate candor what international lawyers effectively thrive on.

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  • van Hoof, G. J. H.. Rethinking the Sources of International Law. Boston: Kluwer Law, 1983.

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    An even older treatise and, yet, an interesting account from the late stages of the Cold War, an early voice in the now-frequent call to revise the sources doctrine with a view to bringing it closer in line with the reality of international affairs.

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Custom

Customary international law is the most archaic of all sources, ephemeral and yet omnipresent at the same time. Byers 1999 presents it in the broader context, with D’Amato 1971 being, again, the classic account. Newer general treatments are Villiger 1985 and Wolfke 1993, with Kontou 1995 providing a link with treaty law. Beckett 2008 and Lepard 2010 engage in critical examination of the concept of international custom, with the former being more skeptical of its continuing, if changed, relevance.

Treaties

Treaties are the most common form of international legal engagement, and they account for the vast majority of international lawmaking. The literature is accordingly large, and the titles listed below make up only a small selection. General treatments include Klabbers 1996 and Aust 2007, with Wolfrum and Röben 2005 reflecting on newer developments in treaty-making practice. Article-by-article commentaries on what has become a quasi-constitutional document in international law and has, itself, been declared to constitute international custom, notably the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, have been undertaken by Villiger 2009 and Klein and Corten 2006, with Fitzmaurice, et al. 2010 adding a general appraisal of this treaty of treaties. The all-important treaty interpretation has been authoritatively dealt with by Gardiner 2008.

  • Aust, Anthony. Modern Treaty Law and Practice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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    Yet another solid and comprehensive treatment from one of the United Kingdom’s most experienced practitioners, suitable for both the interested student and the scholar looking for reference, as well as the practitioner.

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  • Corten, O., and P. Klein, eds. Les Conventions de Vienne sur le droit des traités: Commentaire article par article. 3 vols. Brussels: Bruylant, 2006.

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    The leading French commentary, with comprehensive article-by-article discussion of the drafting history and legal intricacies of each stipulation. A revised English version is forthcoming from Oxford University Press as of 2010.

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  • Fitzmaurice, Malgosia, Olufemi Elias, and Panos Merkouris, eds. Treaty Interpretation and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties: 30 Years On. Queen Mary Studies in International Law 1. Leiden, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004181045.i-382Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An up-to-date collection on the evolution of interpretative paradigms with a number of heavyweight contributors, providing a good overview of the current state of the debate.

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  • Gardiner, Richard K. Treaty Interpretation. Oxford International Law Library. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    An in-depth study of one of the most protracted issues in international treaty law—namely, treaty interpretation, which is the international counterpart of the domestic debate on constitutional interpretation, which is almost as often the cause for disputes and forcefully led debates about what constitutes the meaning of a treaty.

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  • Klabbers, Jan. The Concept of Treaty in International Law. Developments in International Law 22. The Hague: Springer, 1996.

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    A theoretically and solidly grounded account of treaty law that has not lost its currency and continues to be standard reading for the subject.

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  • Villiger, Mark E. Commentary on the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004168046.i-1058Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Together with Corten and Klein 2006, one of the two standard commentaries on the Vienna Convention, composed in a textbook-like fashion by one of the foremost experts on treaty law.

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  • Wolfrum, Rüdiger, and Volker Röben, eds. Developments of International Law in Treaty Making. Beiträge zum ausländischen öffentlichen Recht und Völkerrecht 177. Berlin: Springer, 2005.

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    From the German perspective as developed in the ambit of the Max Planck Institute for International and Comparative Law, this account sums up the major doctrinal developments of the past years in a comprehensive yet concise and readable manner.

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International Legal Personality

If the viability of the traditional-sources doctrine has recently come under discussion, it is actually because a topic that international law does or should recognize has been controversially discussed for some time. Contested issues range from the question of the nature of the state, international law’s original (and only) subject, in light of the transformations it has been undergoing, via the international accountability of international organizations, to the personality and standing of nonstate actors, most notably corporations, guerrilla groups or “terrorists” and, of course, individuals. In relation to states, the core issues concern the recognition of states and governments and, now, slightly less prominent than it was in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, state succession. By contrast, in relation to both international organizations and nonstate actors, it is the question of legal personality and standing that, in light of the demand for international accountability, informs the debate.

State Recognition

The classic account is Lauterpacht 1947, which has now found a contemporary complement in Crawford 2006. Roth 1999 and Talmon 1998 deal with the recognition of new governmental authority, whereas Knop 2002 and Cassesse 1995 look at the protracted question of self-determination and its relationship to statehood.

  • Cassese, Antonio. Self-Determination of Peoples: A Legal Reappraisal. Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

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    A thoughtful reflection of one of the most controversial issues in international law by one of Italy’s leading international lawyers.

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  • Crawford, James R. The Creation of States in International Law. 2d ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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    The standard work on statehood as developed in international legal practice and doctrine. An indispensable grounding for all those wishing to comment on this most contested issue.

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  • Knop, Karen. Diversity and Self-Determination in International Law. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law 20. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511494024Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A critical-theoretical rereading of developed doctrine drawing on feminist and post-structuralist scholarship.

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  • Lauterpacht, Hersch, Sir. Recognition in International Law. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law 3. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1947.

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    The classic position on recognition, exposed with customary erudition and comprehensiveness. It stated the legal position that would influence the subsequent decolonization period and the proliferation of statehood.

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  • Roth, Brad R. Governmental Illegitimacy in International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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    A useful discussion of a difficult issue that tends, however, to be less prominent in the discussion, the traditional focus being on states, rather than governments.

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  • Talmon, Stefan. Recognition of Governments in International Law: With Particular Reference to Governments in Exile. Oxford Monographs in International Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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    Similar to Roth 1999, a comprehensive account of governmental recognition, with an interesting historical component.

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State Succession

A predominant theme in the 1990s, state succession has now somewhat subsided in intensity but continues to generate significant literature. Klabbers, et al. 1999 and Koskenniemi and Eisenmann 2000 present the current state of the law, Mrak 1999 looks at specific elements of the succession regime, Craven 2007 provides a theoretical rereading, and Fabry 2010 and Stern 1998 visit the historical context in which most of the earlier discussion on state succession took place.

  • Craven, Matthew. The Decolonization of International Law: State Succession and the Law of Treaties. Oxford Monographs in International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    An innovative deep reading of the succession doctrine showing its colonial(ist) background narrative and exposing the workings of modern treaty practice.

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  • Fabry, Mikulas. Recognizing States: International Society and the Establishment of New States since 1776. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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    A doctrinal history of recognition, informative and comprehensively looking at the complex legacy of modern state creation since the American Declaration of Independence.

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  • Klabbers, Jan, Martti Koskenniemi, Olivier Ribbelink, and Andreas Zimmerman, eds. State Practice Regarding State Succession and Issues of Recognition: The Pilot Project of the Council of Europe. Leiden, The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 1999.

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    A historical and theoretical survey of state practice compiled by an impressive array of editors; a reference and standard work on the subject, still sufficiently up to date in the 1999 edition.

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  • Koskenniemi, Martti, and Pierre Michel Eisenmann, eds. State Succession: Codification Tested Against the Facts/La succession d’Etats: La codification à l’épreuve des faits. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 2000.

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    Shortly after the volume on state practice, Koskenniemi paired up with P. M. Eisenmann to produce another (bilingual English and French) collection on a critical examination of codification attempts in the matter of state succession.

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  • Mojmir, Mrak. Succession of States. Developments in International Law 33. Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1999.

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    A doctrine-based broad and comprehensive overview, more a handbook; unlike some of the other accounts, it goes into some technical detail about succession issues.

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  • Stern, Brigitte, ed. Dissolution, Continuation, and Succession in Eastern Europe. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1998.

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    By one of France’s leading international jurists, this is a comprehensive legal account of the breathtaking changes that took place after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Looks at all the difficult issues that accompanied this (nearly) revolutionary period.

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International Organizations

International organizations are both closely controlled derivatives of state will, as well as increasingly supranational and global actors with such a breadth of competences that questions of responsibility and accountability must arise. A theoretically interesting and doctrinally solid general treatment is Alvarez 2005; Wellens 2002 deals with specific aspects of the legal personality of international organizations. Simma, et al. 1994 provides the standard commentary on the charter of the UN as the original “international organization,” Roberts and Kingsbury 1993 puts the latter into a broader (international relations) picture, and Bedjaoui 1994 zooms in on arguably the most prominent UN body, the Security Council, and the much-discussed question of the reviewability of its acts.

  • Alvarez, José E. International Organizations as Law-Makers. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    An influential and oft-cited argument on the greatly enhanced role of international organizations, at once a reflection on the nature of international organization and a contribution to the sources doctrine.

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  • Bedjaoui, Mohammed. The New World Order and the Security Council: Testing the Legality of Its Acts. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 1994.

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    An early contribution to the ongoing debate on the role of the UN’s most powerful body and the question of whether it can or should be held accountable for its far-reaching interventions.

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  • Roberts, Adam, and Benedict Kingsbury, eds. United Nations, Divided World: The UN’s Role in International Relations. 2d ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 1993.

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    A formidable collection of essays brought together by two eminent scholars equally well-versed in international law and international relations; a thorough appraisal of the principal international organization, its role, capacity, and challenges.

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  • Simma, Bruno, Hermann Mosler, Albrecht Randelzhofer, Christian Tomuschat, Andreas Paulus, Eleni Chaitidou, and Rudiger Wolfrum, eds. The Charter of the United Nations: A Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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    The standard commentary on the charter and the authoritative voice on charter interpretation; an indispensable tool for any serious scholarship on the UN.

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  • Wellens, Karel. Remedies Against International Organisations. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law 21. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511494451Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Like Bedjaoui 1994, an examination of the reviewability of the acts of international organizations, though more general and with a focus on remedies.

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Other Nonstate Actors

Next to individuals, the commonly “recognized” nonstate actors are corporations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and guerrilla/rebel/“terrorist” groupings; none of these is, however, considered to possess full international legal personality, and recent discussion has focused on how to bring these actors into the ambit of international (legal) responsibility. Here the emphasis has been on the human rights and criminal responsibility of both guerrilla/rebel/“terrorist” groupings and of multinational corporations. Alston 2005 and Bianchi 2009 provide comprehensive treatments of all aspects of the issue, whereas Clapham 2006, Lindblom 2005, and Schutter 2006 specifically deal with human rights, NGOs, and corporations, respectively.

  • Alston, Philip, ed. Non-State Actors and Human Rights. Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law 13.3. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    A cutting-edge collection on one of the most discussed issues in relation to the nonstate actor predicament; the contributions were originally delivered as lectures in the ambit of the Academy of European law at the European University Institute.

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  • Bianchi, Andrea. Non-State Actors and International Law. Library of Essays in International Law. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2009.

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    A comprehensive and doctrinally solid treatment of the issue, providing both a good introduction to the subject, as well as some food for further thought on what remains one of the central challenges to current international legal doctrine.

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  • Clapham, Andrew. Human Rights Obligations of Non-State Actors. Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law 15.1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199288465.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The standard reference on the topic, comprehensive and sharply argued. Through a perspective based on a wide and creative reading of the doctrinal position on legal personality, Clapham manages to bring the theme closer to the center of international law. Although focused on human rights, it is a useful reader on the nonstate actor challenge in general.

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  • Lindblom, Anna-Karin. Non-Governmental Organisations in International Law. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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    A good introduction to the issue, examining NGOs in international law from a variety of angles, though with particular emphasis on human rights.

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  • Peters, Anne, Till Foerster, Lucy Koechlin, and Gretta Fenner Zinkrnagel, eds. Non-State Actors as Standard Setters. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511635519Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A fine and very up-to-date reader examining the different types of nonstate actors, questions of their accountability and legitimacy, and also the extent to which they complement or, at times, supplant the state in terms of governance and effectiveness.

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  • Schutter, Olivier De, ed. Transnational Corporations and Human Rights. Studies in International Law. Oxford: Hart, 2006.

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    Edited by one of Europe’s foremost human rights lawyers and the current UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, this collection provides cutting-edge reflections on the human rights responsibilities of corporations.

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Spaces

The regulation of the physical spaces occupied or used by states is one of the oldest elements of international law. Foremost is, of course, the legal foundation of a state’s title to territory, as disputes over such titles have been among the most common quarrels among states, resulting, not infrequently, in war. Similarly, the use of maritime spaces, crucial for international commerce but also a state’s security, continues to be one of the most entrenched and respected areas of international law. Finally, the more ephemeral spaces of the air, outer space, and the polar caps have been the subjects of much international regulation, with both today’s level of international air travel and the common use of outer space being inconceivable without a dense network of treaties. In terms of the polar regions, while Antarctica remains an international commons by virtue of the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, the seaborne Arctic has recently become the subject of quarrel among the coastal states bordering the area, largely because of the promise of rich natural resource deposits.

Territory

The subject of territory is one of the oldest and, yet, today one of the most settled areas of international law, with Castellino, et al. 2003 providing comprehensive accounts of the current state of the law. Stahn 2008 and Wilde 2008, in turn, take up the newly relevant topic of international territorial administration with its many legal puzzles, such as human rights obligations of international organizations, the contemporary concept of trusteeship, and the question of self-determination.

  • Castellino, Joshua, Steve Allen, and Jérémie Gilbert. Title to Territory in International Law: A Temporal Analysis. Law, Social Change and Development. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2003.

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    A historical and doctrinal account of all aspects of territory, with particular emphasis on the historical evolution of the relevant concepts such as uti possidentis and a consistent attempt to place these in a broader political context.

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  • Stahn, Carsten. The Law and Practice of International Territorial Administration: Versailles to Iraq and Beyond. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511585937Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of two recent volumes dedicated to international territorial administration (together with Wilde 2008). This is the more descriptive of the two, dealing comprehensively with all historical precedents and analyzing the underlying legal issues.

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  • Wilde, Ralph. International Territorial Administration: How Trusteeship and the Civilizing Mission Never Went Away. Oxford Monographs in International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    As comprehensive as Stahn 2008, but with a broader analysis and interest in the political context within which territorial administration has been taking place. A particular focus on international law’s hidden subtext, the “civilizing mission,” and its postcolonial and neocolonial aspects.

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Air, Space, and Polar Caps

Air and space law is a complex though largely uncontroversial area of international law. Diederiks-Verschoor and Butler 2006 provides a comprehensive treatment of air law, while Jasentuliyana 1999 and Diederiks-Verschoor 2008 do the same for space law, with Haanappel 2003 employing a comparative perspective to the two regimes. In terms of polar law, Alfredsson, et al. 2009–2010 provides a state-of-the-art overview of newest developments, and Rothwell 1996 is the general handbook on the subject. Oude-Elferink and Rothwell 2001 links polar law with the law of the sea in the all-important issue of maritime delimitation.

  • Alfredsson, G., T. Koivurova, and D. K. Leary, eds. The Yearbook of Polar Law. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 2009–.

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    A specialist publication now running in its second year and edited by eminent authorities on polar law, it combines a large number of contributions on the state of the art of this research niche that is, however, growing in importance and wider relevance.

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  • Diederiks-Verschoor, L. H., and M. A. Butler. An Introduction to Air Law. 8th rev. ed. Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2006.

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    A basic introduction to the subject, with the relevant legislative history and doctrine presented in an accessible, if largely descriptive way. A good introductory reader for students.

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  • Diederiks-Verschoor, L. H., and V. Kopal. An Introduction to Space Law. 3d ed. Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2008.

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    As with the Diederiks-Verschoor 2006 reader on air law, this is a basic introduction to the subject, with the relevant legislative history and doctrine presented in an accessible, if largely descriptive way. A good introductory reader for students.

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  • Haanappel, P. P. C. The Law and Policy of Air Space and Outer Space: A Comparative Approach. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2003.

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    An interesting joining up of air and space law, as the comparative and policy-oriented focus allows the reader to perceive the (ultimately territorial) logic behind the regulation of these two international spaces.

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  • Jasentuliyana, Nandasiri. International Space Law and the United Nations. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1999.

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    A comprehensive survey of UN lawmaking in space law.

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  • Oude-Elferink, Alex G., and Donald R. Rothwell. The Law of the Sea and Polar Maritime Delimitation and Jurisdiction. Publications on Ocean Development 37. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 2001.

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    At the heart of a recent surge of interest in Arctic law and a linkage with the law of the sea, the authors survey the evolved doctrine on maritime delimitation and apply it to the protracted issue of Arctic and Antarctic delimitation.

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  • Rothwell, Donald R. The Polar Regions and the Development of International Law. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law 3. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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    A comprehensive review of polar law, in terms of the international legal regulation of the polar caps, as well as that regulation’s impact on general international law, taking into consideration the history of polar exploration and territorial claims, as well as contemporary political issues.

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Sovereignty

Sovereignty is at once the defining characteristic of the modern nation-state and a top heading for a number of distinct legal regimes that concretize the extent and limitations of sovereign statehood. In the former connotation, it has been the subject of many theoretical efforts, most of which have, however, been elaborated within an international relations context, with sovereignty having been a “black box” for international lawyers for a long time. With regard to the specific legal regimes that define and delimit sovereignty, the protracted issue of jurisdiction (i.e., the extent of a state’s reach) has been of continuing relevance, not least in light of the current effort to contain transnational terrorism both on an international and a domestic scale. Sovereign and diplomatic immunity, in turn, has been the lubricant of international diplomacy but has, of late, been seen as potentially conflicting with the drive to hold perpetrators of international crimes accountable. Finally, the relationship between international law and municipal law is at the heart of an ongoing process of legal globalization in which traditional state government is increasingly replaced by multilevel governance comprising international, transnational, and domestic regulation.

Jurisdiction

Partly overlapping with private international law, jurisdiction defines on what grounds a state can invoke authority over territory and people. Amerasinghe 2002 and Ryngaert 2008 provide general and comprehensive accounts of the regime, with Reisman 1999 looking at it from the less “black-letter” perspective of the Yale School’s “policy science.” Reydams 2003 and Macedo 2006, in turn, deal with the ongoing debate about the new jurisdictional ground of universal jurisdiction over international crimes in light of a mounting number of international and domestic prosecutions of alleged perpetrators.

Immunity and Diplomacy

The customs and later laws surrounding international diplomacy are the often invisible background rules for the conduct of international affairs. Yet, the immunity granted to heads of state and government or high governmental representatives has especially come under considerable scrutiny in light of the advance of international criminal law, as the notorious Pinochet litigation has illustrated. Denza 2008, Barker 2010, Amerasinghe 2008, and Fox 2002 all provide up-to-date general accounts of the current state of the immunities regime. Van Albeek 2008, in turn, looks at precisely that controversy in a timely discussion of what is, in effect, a conflict of (international) laws.

  • Amerasinghe, Chittharanjan F. Diplomatic Protection. Oxford Monographs in International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212385.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A treatise on one of the core functions of states vis-à-vis their citizens in international affairs, though one frequently marred by controversy. A comprehensive exposition of the doctrine and its development.

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  • Barker, J. C. Immunities from Jurisdiction in International Law. Foundations of Public International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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    An up-to-date account of the history of and principles behind immunities, less a commentary on every aspect of doctrine but rather an exposition of not only the continuing sense but also the necessary limitations of immunity in interstate relations.

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  • Denza, Eileen. Diplomatic Law: Commentary on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. 3d ed. Oxford Commentaries on International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    The third edition of a now-standard commentary on the “other” Vienna Convention, interest in which has, among others, been renewed through its recent use in anti-death-penalty (international) litigation.

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  • Fox, Hazel. The Law of State Immunity. Oxford International Law Library. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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    A comprehensive reader by a leading UK practitioner, well suited for both students and advanced scholars of the subject, not least as a work of reference.

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  • Van Alebeek, Rosanne. The Immunity of States and Their Officials in International Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law. Oxford Monographs in International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    A timely elaboration of the universal jurisdiction theme, examining all aspects of traditional immunity law and the challenges posed to it by the advance of two areas of international focus on individuals—as either victims or perpetrators of abuse.

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International Law and Municipal Law

Doctrinally simple, the applicability of international law in the domestic context has in practice been complex and contested. Shany 2009 provides the standard overview and Fatima 2005 a practitioner-oriented guide. Paust 2005 exemplarily reviews US practice, whereas Ferdinandusse 2006 discusses the contested issue of international criminal law in domestic tribunals.

  • Fatima, Shaheed. Using International Law in Domestic Courts. Oxford: Hart, 2005.

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    A practitioner-oriented manual for the use of international law in the domestic context, providing lawyers seeking quick and solid legal answers to problems relating to citing international law with the necessary tools to do so.

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  • Ferdinandusse, Ward N. Direct Application of International Criminal Law in National Courts. The Hague: Asser, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-90-6704-707-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A treatise falling again into the international criminal law/universal jurisdiction matrix, clarifying the potential and challenges of applying this new and growing area of international law in the domestic sphere.

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  • Paust, Jordan J., Jon M. Van Dyke, and Linda A. Malone. International Law and Litigation in the U.S. 2d ed. American Casebook Series. St. Paul, MN: Thomson West, 2005.

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    Although dedicated to litigation in the United States, this book nonetheless examines the broader logic behind the complex relationship between international and municipal law, as illustrated in the practice of one of the world’s largest and most important jurisdictions.

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  • Shany, Yuval. Regulating Jurisdictional Relations Between National and International Courts. International Courts and Tribunals Series. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    An innovative discussion of ways to rationalize the relationship between international and municipal law and to thereby deflate the frequent jurisdictional quarrels between tribunals on either side.

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Responsibility

A core aspect of international law, it took the International Law Commission the better part of forty-eight years to conclude its Draft Articles of State Responsibility, testifying to the complexity of what is, in effect, the law of civil liability as between states. The authoritative treatment comes, thus, from the Special Rapporteur responsible for the eventual completion of the articles (Crawford, et al. 2010). Earlier, just after the articles’ conclusion, Provost 2002 provided another general commentary on the responsibility regime. In addition, Evans and Konstantinidis 1998 looks specifically at the question of remedies, and Fitzmaurice and Sarooshi 2004 examines state responsibility in the domestic legal context. Moreover, a number of studies have examined specific applications of the responsibility regime, notably to economic crimes, to transboundary damage (Xue 2009), and to maritime navigation (Wendel 2007) and, in this context, flag state responsibility (Mansell 2009).

  • Crawford, James, Alain Pellet, Simon Olleson, and Kate Parlett, eds. The Law of International Responsibility. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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    The standard work on state responsibility, compiled by jurists closely involved in the International Law Commission’s codification effort and, thus, an indispensable starting point for any student of this broad and complex subject.

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  • Evans, M., and S. Konstantinidis. Remedies in International Law: The Institutional Dilemma. EC/International Law Forum 4. Oxford: Hart: 1998.

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    Looks at the intricate nature of remedies in international litigation in different institutional contexts, with contributions by a number of distinguished practitioners and judges at international tribunals.

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  • Fitzmaurice, Malgosia, and Dan Sarooshi, eds. Issues of State Responsibility before International Judicial Institutions. Papers presented at a conference jointly organized by the Institute of Global Law, University College, London, and the Institute of International Law, Queen Mary College, University of London. Clifford Chance Lectures 7. Oxford: Hart, 2004.

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    Proceedings of a high-powered conference bringing together some of the leading minds on international responsibility.

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  • Mansell, John N. K. Flag State Responsibility: Historical Development and Contemporary Issues. Berlin: Springer, 2009.

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    An exploration of an important topic in the law of the sea—one that, since the notorious SS Lotus case in 1926, has been a continuous presence in the literature on state responsibility.

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  • Provost, René. State Responsibility in International Law. Library of Essays in International Law. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Dartmouth, 2002.

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    A juristic and yet theoretically perceptive overview of state responsibility and its place in general international law.

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  • Wendel, Philipp. State Responsibility for Interferences with the Freedom of Navigation in Public International Law. Hamburg Studies on Maritime Affairs 11. New York: Springer, 2007.

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    An application of the law on state responsibility to the law of the sea and, specifically, maritime navigation; a technical treatise exposing all relevant aspects of the issue.

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  • Xue, Hanqin. Transboundary Damage in International Law. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law 27. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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    Explores the interface between state responsibility and international environmental law through the lens of the treatment of the consequences of transboundary harm, an issue that continues to give rise to interstate disputes.

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Dispute Settlement

The peaceful settlement of disputes between states is one of the core purposes of international law. It is also an indispensable instrument for determining the law itself, for it is frequently only international tribunals that can authoritatively pronounce what the law is on a particular matter. Hence, although there is no binding precedent in international legal procedure, doctrine, and the practice that it underwrites, is far more reliant on case law than on legislative codification. In this, international law follows a law logic used often. The literature on dispute settlement can be divided into procedural treatises looking at different elements of the international legal process, and broader appreciations of the particular international legal acquis that has been generated by the International Court of Justice and other international tribunals. Into the former category fall Mackenzie, et al. 2010, Rosenne 2006, and Zimmermann 2006, with Riddell and Plant 2009 and Schulte 2005 dealing with specific aspects of the subject. Smith 2008 and Spiermann 2005 look at an interesting historical dimension of (international) dispute settlement and a socio-legal discourse analysis of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

  • Lowe, Vaughn, and Malgosia Fitzmaurice, eds. Fifty Years of the International Court of Justice: Essays in Honour of Sir Robert Jennings. Cambridge, UK: Grotius, 1996.

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    A “celebration” and appraisal of the World Court, with many well-known commentators as contributors, exploring the role and functioning of the courts, as well as the challenges they pose.

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  • Mackenzie, Ruth, Cesare Romano, Yuval Shany, and Philippe Sands, eds. The Manual on International Courts and Tribunals. 2d ed. International Courts and Tribunals Series. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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    An indispensable guide for all wishing to study or understand international tribunals.

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  • Riddell, Anna, and Brendan Plant. Evidence Before the International Court of Justice. London: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 2009.

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    A detailed treatment of an important yet insufficiently studied element of international legal procedure.

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  • Rosenne, Shabtai, with Yaël Ronin. The Law and Practice of the International Court, 1920–2005. 4 vols. 4th ed. Leiden, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 2006.

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    An exhaustive historical survey of the Court’s jurisprudence and its shaping of international law since the interwar period.

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  • Schulte, Constanze. Compliance with Decisions of the International Court of Justice. International Courts and Tribunals Series. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    An account of one of the challenges the ICJ has been facing, and a theme linking international law with international relations and comparative politics—one that is much discussed in all these disciplines.

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  • Smith, Charles Anthony. “Credible Commitments and the Early American Supreme Court.” Law and Society Review 42.1 (March 2008): 75–110.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5893.2008.00335.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An account of the role of international dispute resolution for domestic courts in the creation of a new federation.

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  • Spiermann, Ole. International Legal Argument in the Court of International Justice: The Rise of the International Judiciary. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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    A pioneering study of legal argumentation at the international level, both as an element of doctrinal development as well as an indicator of the role and perception of international judges.

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  • Zimmermann, Andreas, Christian Tomuschat, Karin Oellers-Frahm, Christian Tams, and Tobias Thienel, eds. The Statute of the International Court of Justice: A Commentary. Oxford Commentaries on International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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    The standard commentary on the ICJ’s statute—well organized, comprehensive, and yet accessible.

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Use of Force

The regulation of armed conflict is one of the earliest and most prominent purposes of international law, even if its efficacy in doing so is frequently called into question. Doctrinally, the question of the legality of the use of force among states, the ius ad bellum, is distinguished from the rules that apply to the conduct of warfare, known generally as international humanitarian law or the ius in bello. In terms of the former, Article 2(4) of the Charter of the United Nations, drafted in the immediate aftermath of World War II, prohibits the resort to force by states—subject to a highly circumscribed self-defense clause—and instead establishes a collective security system through which illegal aggression is meant to be countered. Yet, traditional interstate warfare has been on the decline, and instead intrastate and asymmetrical (civil/military) conflicts characterize armed conflict today, a fact that presents the legal regime around the use of force with complex challenges. The different reactions to the large-scale terrorist acts of 11 September 2001 are perhaps the most prominent example of the difficulties encountered by the traditional legal framework. International humanitarian law, in turn, has seen its scope and visibility enhanced by both its close association with international criminal law and the quest to bring perpetrators of mass atrocities to justice, as well as through its relevance to aspects of the fight against transnational terrorist networks.

Law of Armed Conflict (Ius ad Bellum)

With war being the center of interest of a whole range of disciplines, treatments of the legal regime governing armed conflict are plentiful, and any selection must be necessarily partial. Systematic and comprehensive accounts of the state of the law are provided in Green 2008, Byers 2005, and Dinstein 2005. Natalino Ronzitti, a foremost expert on the subject and a judge on the International Court of Justice, offers a more eclectic selection of well-argued and insightful observations (Greenwood 2006). Kennedy 2008 has submitted much-acclaimed critical reflection on the way in which the traditional regime is framed and on what lies behind the history and the rhetoric of the ius ad bellum.

  • Byers, Michael. War Law: Understanding International Law and Armed Conflict. Vancouver, BC: Douglas and McIntyre, 2005.

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    Another readable and contextualizing account of one of the core areas of the discipline, placing it in historical and interdisciplinary contexts and aiming to explicate why law should be used to regulate its antithesis.

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  • Dinstein, Yoram. War, Aggression and Self-Defence. 4th ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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    A comprehensive guide to the law of armed conflict and, in particular, violations of the peace and the possibility of defensive reaction.

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  • Green, L. C. The Contemporary Law of Armed Conflict. 3d ed. Melland Schill Studies in International Law. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2008.

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    A manual on the subject, comprehensive and yet accessibly written.

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  • Greenwood, Christopher. Essays on War in International Law. London: Cameron May, 2006.

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    A collection of essays by one of the foremost experts on the law of armed conflict, well versed not just in the law itself but also in its history and political context, an expertise now benefiting the International Court of Justice.

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  • Kennedy, David. Of Law and War. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.

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    A concise if forcefully argued treatise by one of the leading critical international lawyers on how law and war are deeply entangled and how the language of the law does not just regulate war but configures the way it is conceived and conducted.

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International Humanitarian Law (Ius in Bello)

International humanitarian law is today frequently treated as an autonomous and technical subdiscipline of international law and, as such, it hardly features in general textbooks. The literature tends to be practitioner-oriented, though some broader reflections on its place in the international legal canon, and on its role in international relations, have begun to appear. Bouchet-Saulnier 2002 and Fleck and Bothe 2000 provide the former, with Henckaerts 2005 discussing the specific relevance of custom in this field. Breau and Jachec-Neale 2006 and Arnold and Hildbrand 2005 represent a broader outlook with (some) critical examination.

Specialist Regimes

Besides the subjects that are commonly grouped under the heading of general international law or, at any rate, tend to be featured in standard textbooks, there are a number of specialist legal regimes that have developed their own specialized bodies of literature. Some of these have become disciplines of their own, with their own thematic subdivisions and an accordingly large and diverse literature that would by far transcend the confines of this bibliography. The list below therefore only includes the most developed of these subfields and only features the most pertinent general material—for some of the topics, dedicated bibliographies have been compiled. The oldest and largest of these fields is arguably the international protection of human rights, which is increasingly considered a sui generis subject, even if it is built on the general framework of international law. More recent in terms of doctrinal development but occupying ever more academic and professional space is international criminal law, the rise of which is closely linked to the establishment of international criminal tribunals as of the mid-1990s. International economic law, in turn, has at its normative core international trade law which, since the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994, has become one of the most comprehensive and effective international regimes, even if, as a discipline, it is highly technical and requires specialist expertise. International environmental law has existed as a recognized field for some time, but it has, arguably, only become a lead discipline of international law since efforts to combat large-scale environmental degradation and, most notably, climate change, have taken an international (legal) shape as of the early 1990s. Finally, international refugee law may compete with human rights law for being perhaps the oldest specialist concern of international law and, because of the continuing urgency of the issue at its core, it remains prominent in academia and practice.

International Protection of Human Rights

Of the voluminous and continuously growing literature on human rights, just a few core references on some elementary aspects of international human rights law can be included here. The student and comprehensive general-reference “bible” is Steiner, et al. 2007, with Lillich, et al. 2006 following not far behind in popularity and accessibility. Donnelly 2006 is a classic conceptual introduction to human rights, whereas Alston and Heenan 2006 and Ratner and Abrams 2001 introduce important specialist subthemes, namely economic and social rights and the link between human rights and international criminal and international humanitarian law.

  • Alston, Philip, and James Heenan. Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Bibliography. Leiden, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 2006.

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    An indispensable research tool for all those interested in this traditionally insufficiently studied area of international human rights law, which is fast emerging as one of the core new issues in the field.

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  • Donnelly, Jack. International Human Rights. 3d ed. Dilemmas in World Politics. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2006.

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    A now almost-classical treatment of international human rights from a broader and interdisciplinary perspective. Donnelly is one of the icons of academic reflection on human rights, and this is his oft-cited general treatise.

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  • Lillich, Richard B., S. Hurst Hannum, James Anaya, and Dinah L. Shelton. International Human Rights: Problems of Law, Policy, and Practice. 4th ed. New York: Aspen, 2006.

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    One of the main textbooks, particularly in the United States, with the typical mix of legal doctrine and problem-based exposition.

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  • Ratner, Steven R., and Jason S. Abrams. Accountability for Human Rights Atrocities in International Law: Beyond the Nuremberg Legacy. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2001.

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    A comprehensive assessment of the development of individual accountability for severe violations of human rights committed on behalf of states.

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  • Steiner, Henry J., Philip Alston, and Ryan Goodman. International Human Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morals. 3d ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    Arguably the “bible” of international human rights textbooks; very wide in focus, didactic, and accessibly written—and updated often enough to represent both the quintessential introductory text, as well as a survey of the current human rights agenda.

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International Criminal Law

Being one of the most popular specialist subdisciplines in international law today, the literature is mostly doctrinal commentary, with a few historical contextualizations in between. Schabas 2007 provides the general textbook-type monograph, with Cassesse, et al. 2002 complementing this with the authoritative commentary of the Rome Statute. Bassiouni 2005 and Watkins and Weber 2005 recount the emergence of international criminal law and the International Criminal Court (ICC) from a doctrinal-historical perspective, and Simpson 2007 adds a profound theoretical reflection on the broader significance of international criminal law to the discipline as a whole.

  • Bassiouni, M. Cherif. Legislative History of the International Criminal Court: Introduction, Analysis and Integrated Text. International and Comparative Criminal Law. Leiden, The Netherlands: Hotei, 2005.

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    A historical survey of the emergence of the ICC, as much as an abbreviated commentary on the Rome Statute by another pioneer of the discipline.

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  • Cassese, Antonio, Albin Eser, Giorgio Gaja, Philip Kirsch, Alain Pellet, and Bert Swart, eds. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: A Commentary. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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    The standard commentary of the Rome Statute, by some of the best-known names in the discipline: comprehensive, well-organized, and useful to both the student as well as the advanced scholar of international criminal law.

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  • Schabas, William. An Introduction to the International Criminal Court. 3d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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    The standard introduction by a renowned expert in the field, a comprehensive and systematic guide to the field.

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  • Simpson, Gerry. Law, War and Crime: War Crimes Trials and the Reinvention of International Law. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2007.

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    A seminal critical study of the logic of international law and its entanglement with war.

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  • Watkins, John C., and John Paul Weber. War Crimes and War Crime Trials: From Leipzig to the ICC and Beyond; Cases, Materials and Comments. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2005.

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    Another historical survey, though wider in focus and going farther back in time, providing useful guidance to the broader context of the ICC.

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International Economic Law

Of a technical nature, at least in part, general textbooks dominate monographic production in international economic law, the best known being Lowenfeld 2008, Matsushita 2006, Qureshi and Ziegler 2007, and Van den Bossche 2008. Bethlehem 2009 and Guzman 2008 provide reasonably up-to-date perspectives from the research front, and Ortino and Petersmann 2003 looks at what is perhaps the centerpiece of the contemporary trade regime, notably the settlement of disputes.

  • Bethlehem, Daniel, Donald McRae, Rodney Neufeld, and Isabelle Van Damme, eds. The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law. Oxford Handbooks in Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    An up-to-date survey of the field with the usual Oxford Handbook quality, joining eminent contributors with innovative structure and comprehensive coverage.

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  • Guzman, Andrew T., and Alan O. Sykes, eds. Research Handbook in International Economic Law. Research Handbooks in International Law. Cheltenham, UK: Elgar, 2008.

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    A comprehensive research tool going beyond the usual focus on international trade law to international investment, intellectual property, taxation, and more; essays explore each of the subjects in considerable depth.

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  • Lowenfeld, Andreas F. International Economic Law. 2d ed. International Economic Law series. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    A standard treatise by one of America’s icons in the field, taking a broad look at the historical emergence and political context of the international economic regime.

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  • Matsushita, Mitsuo, Thomas J. Schoenbaum, and Petros C. Mavroidis. The World Trade Organization: Law, Practice, and Policy. 2d ed. Oxford International Law Library. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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    One of the standard textbooks on the subject, edited by expert practitioners deeply versed in the intricacies of the international trade regime, which transpires in the detailed exposition of its different elements.

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  • Ortino, Federico, and Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann, eds. The WTO Dispute Settlement System 1995–2003. Studies in Transnational Economic Law 18. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2003.

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    A survey of dispute settlement practice, with Petersmann having served on innumerable dispute-settlement panels and bringing the weight of the insider and practitioner to bear on the historical and doctrinal analysis.

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  • Qureshi, Asif H., and Andreas Ziegler. International Economic Law. 2d ed. London: Sweet and Maxwell, 2007.

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    A comprehensive textbook on the subject, doctrinally focused but well structured and accessible.

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  • Van den Bossche, Peter. The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization: Text, Cases and Materials. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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    The other standard textbook, similarly comprehensive, though perhaps slightly less technical and more didactic.

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International Environmental Law

As with international trade law, international environmental law is still in a phase of doctrinal growth resulting in an abundance of general overviews and textbooks, rather than broader contextualizations or specialist discussions. Birnie, et al. 2009; Kiss and Shelton 2004; and Sands 2003 are good and comprehensive examples of the former. Bodansky, et al. 2008 presents cutting-edge reflections across the spectrum of topic in the field, in the well-known handbook format, and Humphreys 2009 provides one of the few broader discussions of the challenges of legally regulating what could be the ultimate challenge humanity is facing.

International Refugee Law

A long-standing concern in international law, international refugee law is a subject in which a reasonably stable and settled doctrine is used to regulate what is becoming an ever more complex real-life scenario in a world in which migration is fast losing its exceptional character. Clayton 2010, Goodwin-Gill 2007, and Hathaway 2005 provide comprehensive standard accounts of the relevant law, whereas Chimni 2000 adds a critical note to the discussion.

LAST MODIFIED: 03/02/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199743292-0027

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