Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili on the Legal Character of the Global Commonwealth

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 31 (3):565-582 (2011)
Abstract
In discussing the works of 16th-century theorists Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili, this article examines how two different conceptions of a global legal community affect the legal character of the international order and the obligatory force of international law. For Vitoria the legal bindingness of ius gentium necessarily presupposes an integrated character of the global commonwealth that leads him to as it were ascribe legal personality to the global community as a whole. But then its legal status and its consequences have to be clarified. For Gentili on the other hand, sovereign states in their plurality are the pinnacle of the legal order(s). His model of a globally valid ius gentium then oscillates between being analogous to private law, depending on individual acceptance by states and being natural law, appearing in a certain sense as a form rather of morality than of law.
Keywords International law  Global legal community  Legal history  Legal philosophy  Alberico Gentili  Francisco de Vitoria
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