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The Battle for International Law

Dates:
  • Wed 02 Dec 2020 16.00 - 17.30
  Add to Calendar 2020-12-02 16:00 2020-12-02 17:30 Europe/Paris The Battle for International Law

Presentation by Jochen von Bernstorff, Professor of Constitutional Law, Public International Law and Human Rights Law at the University of Tübingen

Chair: Nico Weber, EUI Law Department

The so called decolonization era witnessed a fundamental challenge to (legalised) Western hegemony through a new vision of the institutional environment and political economy of the world. It is during this era, arguably couched between classic European imperialism and a new form of US-led Western hegemony, that fundamental legal debates took place over a new international legal order for a decolonised world. These debates consist in essence of a battle, a battle that was fought out in particular over the premises and principles of international law by diplomats, lawyers and scholars. In a moment of relative weakness of European powers, ‘newly independent states’ and international lawyers from the South fundamentally challenged traditional Western perceptions of international legal structures engaging in fundamental controversies over a new international law. In hindsight, we argue that international legal structures in many areas of international relations, including international economic law, the use of force, international humanitarian, the law of the sea, and human rights have been transformed during this era. The effect of this transition, however, was enabling a transition from classic European imperialism to new forms of US-led Western hegemony. Our contribution understands these years therefore as a ‘Sattelzeit’ (Koselleck), bridging two different forms of global Western dominance, a transitional phase, in which fundamental concepts of international law were re-imagined, politicized and transformed. The underlying aspirations, strategies and failures of this battle thus are of vital importance for any future project aiming to address and alter the relationship between international law and fundamental inequalities in this world. 

The presentation focusses on the introduction to the recently published The Battle for International Law: South-North Perspectives on the Decolonization Era (Oxford University Press 2019).

To register, please send an email to [email protected]

Outside EUI premises - Zoom DD/MM/YYYY
  Outside EUI premises - Zoom

Presentation by Jochen von Bernstorff, Professor of Constitutional Law, Public International Law and Human Rights Law at the University of Tübingen

Chair: Nico Weber, EUI Law Department

The so called decolonization era witnessed a fundamental challenge to (legalised) Western hegemony through a new vision of the institutional environment and political economy of the world. It is during this era, arguably couched between classic European imperialism and a new form of US-led Western hegemony, that fundamental legal debates took place over a new international legal order for a decolonised world. These debates consist in essence of a battle, a battle that was fought out in particular over the premises and principles of international law by diplomats, lawyers and scholars. In a moment of relative weakness of European powers, ‘newly independent states’ and international lawyers from the South fundamentally challenged traditional Western perceptions of international legal structures engaging in fundamental controversies over a new international law. In hindsight, we argue that international legal structures in many areas of international relations, including international economic law, the use of force, international humanitarian, the law of the sea, and human rights have been transformed during this era. The effect of this transition, however, was enabling a transition from classic European imperialism to new forms of US-led Western hegemony. Our contribution understands these years therefore as a ‘Sattelzeit’ (Koselleck), bridging two different forms of global Western dominance, a transitional phase, in which fundamental concepts of international law were re-imagined, politicized and transformed. The underlying aspirations, strategies and failures of this battle thus are of vital importance for any future project aiming to address and alter the relationship between international law and fundamental inequalities in this world. 

The presentation focusses on the introduction to the recently published The Battle for International Law: South-North Perspectives on the Decolonization Era (Oxford University Press 2019).

To register, please send an email to [email protected]


Location:
Outside EUI premises - Zoom

Affiliation:
Department of Law

Type:
Working group

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