"It is the contention of this book that there was a notion of international law in the medieval period, and more specifically in the period 700 to 1200. It examines and analyses the ways and the extent to which such as system of rules was known and followed in the Middle Ages by exploring treaties as the main source of international law, and by following a known framework of evidencing it: that it was practised on a daily basis; that there was a reliance upon justification of action; that the majority of international legal rules were consistently obeyed; and finally, that it had the function to resolve disputed questions of fact and law. This monograph further considers problems such as enforcement, deterrence, authority, and jurisdiction, considering carefully how they can be observed in the medieval evidence, and challenging traditional ideas over their role and function in the history of international law. This monograph then, attempts to make a leap forward in thinking about how rulers, communities, and political entities conducted diplomacy and regulated their interactions with each other in a period before fully fledged nation states.
The starting point for any
discussion of the sources of internationallaw is usually Art. 38(1) of
the Statute of the International Court of Justice, which describes the
three types of material that should be considered internationallaw.
Treaties are the first listed, followed by international custom (or
legal practice) and general principles of law (e.g., canon or Roman law
It is possible to conceive of
internationallaw in Europe 700–1200. By exploring the content of
treaties and by comparing this to domestic law and customs, it is
possible to see a framework of international rules that reflects the
interactions and issues arising from those interactions across centuries
of practice. Peaceful relations between entities was a goal that could
international customary practices or taking action against foreign
entities, groups of people, or individuals without justifying this in a
legal context. As highlighted by Dixon: ‘This is powerful
evidence that states follow rules of internationallaw as a matter of
obligation, not simply as a matter of choice or morality. If this were
not so, there would be no need for states to justify their action in
society with its emphasis on collective responsibility, both in
how redress was demanded – from the perpetrator, as far as s/he
could pay, to his/her kin – and in how redress was distributed to
the victim and his/her family. 1 In a context of relations between rulers, redress
of wrongful acts goes to the heart of whether or not there was
internationallaw because it shows the extent to which there was an
taken or were intended to restore peace and order. Others, yet
again, became part of the problem for which they had been devised.
Exploring this issue is consequently one of the best ways to see that
internationallaw was practised on a daily basis in the medieval period.
Displacement of people could of course come in many forms but for the
purposes of this chapter, the focus will be on just a single aspect
It is the contention of this book
that there was a notion of internationallaw in the period c.
700–1200. While it is true that there was nothing that
contemporaries referred to as ‘internationallaw’ in this
period nor were there any physical international institutions along the
lines of the United Nations or the International Criminal Court, I
argue, nonetheless, that
"Arbitration, mediation, and third- party intervention"
arbitration seems to have suffered a similar fate to the history of
internationallaw generally, namely that scholarly treatment of the
subject often jumps from the Greek and Roman periods to the late
medieval period, without mentioning developments in the intervening 800
or so years. 5 This chapter
will aim at bridging this gap in the current historiography, thinking
about the extent to which we can
of Osama bin Laden on 2 May 2011 in Pakistan by a special unit of the US Navy – a contentious act from the perspective of internationallaw. 20
Defining terror as a new form of warfare, as Münkler and others have done, is equally controversial. 21 Although the boundaries between war and terror have become increasingly blurred, it is important to note that wars still need to be declared and that the internationallaw of armed conflict prohibits any involvement of the civilian population in the combat. Terror attacks are characterised precisely by the fact that
: When Is Life Grievable? London: Verso.
Cronin, Patrick M., and Paul S. Giarra. 2010. ‘Robotic Skies: Intelligence, Surveillance,
Reconnaissance and the Strategic Defense of Japan.’ Center for a New American
Security, Washington, DC, December 2010. [Working Paper]. Accessed 1 December
Danner, Allison M. 2007. ‘Defining Unlawful Enemy Combatants: A Centripetal Story.’
Texas InternationalLaw Journal 43(1): 1–14. Accessed 4 December 2014. www.tilj.org/