The principle of humanitarian intervention stands not only at the origin of the offence of crimes against humanity, but also on the other side of its arriving at maturity, so to say, in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The question of humanitarian intervention is posed when crimes against humanity, crimes according to jus cogens norms are being widely committed. In this chapter, Geras addresses two questions pertaining to the existence of a scale threshold for humanitarian intervention. The first of them tests whether such a threshold is relevant in every instance, and suggests that sometimes, for atypical cases, it may not be. The second question asks whether, even in the case that a scale threshold is relevant, it needs to be set as high as it conventionally is. There are a number of requirements standardly held to constrain the would-be intervening power or coalition of powers.
Although there are controversies about the UN Security Council making binding general international law, this should not disguise the fact that the UN General Assembly has been hugely influential in shaping international law since 1948. This chapter explores institutional lawmaking in the modern era, looking in detail at the impact of General Assembly Resolutions on outer space in the 1960s and the WHO's Health Regulations. Both the General Assembly Resolutions and the WHO's Health Regulations are shown to be international laws in their own right and that they are paradigmatic of UN lawmaking more generally. The chapter examines whether inter-governmental organisations, in exercising their autonomous competence, have the potential to produce laws in their own right, irrespective of whether their output feeds into the traditional sources, such as treaties, custom or general principles, of international law.
This chapter defines and explains an inter-governmental organisation (IGO) and argues that the United Nations (UN) is paradigmatic of this genre. A contrast is made with other forms of organisation, particularly the supranational integration organisation. The chapter also defines the law of international organisations as the law governing, applicable to, and produced by, such organisations, and explains how this is best studied through a focus on the UN and related IGOs. It explores how law and politics work within the UN and helps the reader to understand how to identify and apply the law, and to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the law. The chapter concludes with a case study drawn from the practice of the Security Council involving the exercise of the veto to distinguish when practice is a valid interpretation or development of the law, and when it is a breach.
This chapter addresses the legal construction that helps to answer the question of how the UN and inter-governmental organisations (IGOs) are separate and autonomous i.e. independent of member states, when member states have created IGOs and sit and vote in their organs. It reminds the reader about the possibility of creation of separate, abstract legal entities, such as clubs, societies, corporations, and states. In international law there needs to be an assessment of whether IGOs are legal subjects of the international legal order, thereby having international legal personality, separate from the states. The chapter presents the International Court's advisory opinion in the Reparations case, which was in favour of the UN possessing international legal personality, with the concomitant right to bring claims against states.
The phrase 'what's there is there' is taken from a 13 May 2009 blogpost by Norman Geras on the subject of Karl Marx's antisemitism. Many Marxists have been, at best, unwilling to deal with these less savoury aspects of Marx's thought and character. Much of the work of Geras involved significant dissent from the Marxist tradition in which he located himself, precisely because unvarnished honesty prevented him from glossing over the many troubling ideas and notions that, simply, are there. The willingness to draw out the good in liberalism from a Marxist standpoint was one key reason for the distinctiveness of Geras's approach to modern political theory. Normblog, launched by Geras in 2003, demonstrated how Geras, as a Marxist, took on the shibboleths of the postmodern left, and in particular the relativism whose malign influence he had noted when writing his book on Marx's conception of human nature.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book makes it clear that the law of international organisations is dominated by the united nations (UN). It defines and explains inter-governmentalism and the role of law in its regulation. The book presents a number of case studies that shows how the law works within an institutional order dominated by politics. The case studies highlight the debates that surround even the most basic legal issues; the furore surrounding the membership application of Palestine to join the UN, or the UN's claim to immunity in Haiti where it has been responsible for a catastrophic outbreak of cholera. The book also shows that law plays a significant role in curbing excesses and the abuse of power, as well as facilitating the channelling of power to achieve those purposes.
This introduction covers some key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. In parliamentary systems, referendums are redundant as by seeking a simplistic binary yes/no answer to complex questions, they succumb to emotion and run amok. The book explores whether there more referendums now than in the past, whether that has made the world become more democratic. It examines whether referendums are linked with the growth in social movements in recent years and whether there is a tendency to use alternative channels to challenge the status quo. It also examines whether there is the undeniable prominence of referendums undermining representative democracy. The book outlines the world history of the referendum, and analyses the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence and the 2016 vote on the UK's membership to the EU, and summarises some of the trends and tendencies in the use of the referendum internationally.
The term 'lobbying' derives from the particular location in which the activity supposedly takes place, the parliamentary or legislative lobby. In practice, most lobbying takes place elsewhere: in government offices, in restaurants or online. This chapter presents the arguments in favour of and against lobbying. The expansion and greater sophistication of lobbying makes the task of government more difficult. Lobbyists make demands of government, but they do not provide solutions. One solution that was advanced in the past was to incorporate pressure groups into the business of government. Government cannot satisfy all the demands made by lobbyists, but it may seem to be particularly susceptible to those made by corporate interests. This can undermine citizen confidence in the capacity of government and hence in the democratic process.
International organisations are a central component of modern international society. This book provides a concise account of the principles and norms of international law applicable to the intergovernmental organisation (IGO). It defines and explains inter-governmentalism and the role of law in its regulation. The book presents case studies that show how the law works within an institutional order dominated by politics. After a note on the key relationship between the IGO and its member states, it examines the basic relationship between the UN and states in terms of membership through admissions, withdrawal, expulsion, suspension, and representation. The debate about the extent of the doctrine of legal powers is addressed through case studies. Institutional lawmaking in the modern era is discussed with particular focus on at the impact of General Assembly Resolutions on outer space and the Health Regulations of the World Health Organization. Non-forcible measures adopted by the UN and similar IGOs in terms of their legality (constitutionality and conformity to international law), legitimacy and effectiveness, is covered next. The different military responses undertaken by IGOs, ranging from observation and peacekeeping, to peace enforcement and war-fighting, are discussed in terms of legality and practice. The book also considers the idea of a Responsibility to Protect and the development of secondary rules of international law to cover the wrongful acts and omissions of IGOs. It ends with a note on how the primary and secondary rules of international law are upheld in different forms and mechanisms of accountability, including courts.
This chapter discusses what makes the constituent treaty of the United Nations (UN) and similar inter-governmental organisations different from many other treaties so that it is appropriate to use the term constitution in relation to such treaties, although the legitimacy and strength of such constitutions varies. In a minimal sense, the UN Charter constitutes, or establishes, an organisation with organs possessing legal powers and members with rights and duties, justifying the use of the term 'constitution'. The chapter also discusses the constitutional features of the UN Charter, including the debates surrounding the so-called 'supremacy clause' of the UN Charter contained in Article 103. It presents two case studies featuring judicial decisions on the primacy of UN obligations by the International Court of Justice in the Lockerbie cases of 1992 and 1998, and the European Court of Human Rights in the Al-Jedda case of 2011, to illustrate the controversies surrounding constitutionalism.