This paper argues that Vattel's Droit des gens cannot be adequately interpreted as based on a philosophical principle, whether of universal justice or of raison d'état. Rather, Vattel unfolds his law of nations within a casuistical discourse where inconsistent principles are deployed strategically. This forms an ethical space in which universal justice can be continuously adapted to the exigencies of national self-interest as interpreted by the diplomat of a Protestant republican nation.
This article questions the status of Vattel's Law of Nations as an exemplary illustration of eighteenth-century developments in the history of international law. Recent discussions of the relation between eighteenth-century thinking about the law of nations and the French Revolution have revived Carl Schmitt's contention about the nexus between just war theory and the emergence of total war. This evaluative framework has been used to identify Vattel as a moral critic of absolutism who helped undermine the barriers against (...) total war, as well as an architect and defender of those very barriers. Neither of these opposing readings is corroborated by late-eighteenth-century commentators on Vattel's treatise. To its late-eighteenth-century critics and defenders alike, Vattel's Law of Nations was distinguished by the weakness of its derivation of the law of nations from principles of natural law. Insofar as these readers did link Vattel to justifications of relatively unrestrained forms of warfare, they did so in connection with the perceived weakness of Vattel's moral position rather than with its strength. This late-eighteenth-century consensus on the defining features of Vattel's approach to the law of nations sits uncomfortably with Schmitt's evaluative framework, and indeed with other assessments of Vattel that limit themselves to orienting his treatise along fault lines in the historiography of international law. (shrink)
The paper attempts to show that Vattel established a duty of sovereigns not to interfere in the internal affairs of other states. Although Vattel did not use the terms 'interference' or 'intervention' in any technical sense of the term, it seems justified to see him as an early proponent of what is called today the principle of non-intervention. This will be evidenced by reviewing how Vattel rejected some of the arguments put forward by previous theorists of just war who defended (...) the right of European states to intervene in states of the New World in order to punish gross violations of the law of nature and nations. Arguing that the laws of war ought to be applied in reciprocal manner, Vattel questioned the distinction between 'civilized' and 'barbarian' nations on which these previous theorists relied. For him, the true 'barbarians' were those nations who fought wars without even attempting to publicly justify their behaviour. (shrink)
Vattel's Law of Nations claimed that a system of independent states could maintain the liberty of each without undermining the ideal of an international society. The chief institution serving this purpose was the balance of power. In Vattel's account, the balance of power could be stabilized if it operated primarily through a process of commercial preferences and restrictions. These limits on how states ought to defend themselves were grounded in Vattel's thoroughly forgotten writings on the mid-eighteenth-century luxury debates, which (...) addressed the political economy of reforming the state and pacifying the international order. An examination of Vattel's Law of Nations in this context shows that his approach to the law of nations should not be dismissed as a capitulation to the harsh reality of international politics. (shrink)
It has often been said that Vattel's treatise on the law of nations breaks with the tradition of modern natural law and just war theory. Based on a closer examination of Vattel's justification of preventive war and of his assessment of the balance of power in Europe, the paper argues that this criticism is greatly exaggerated, if not entirely misleading.
SUMMARYThe history of the law of nations is generally seen as a synonym for the history of the laws of war. Yet, a strictly bilateral perspective can distort our interpretation of early modern diplomacy. The Peace of Utrecht inaugurated an era of relative stability in the European state system, based on balance-of-power politics and anti-hegemonic legal argumentation. Incidental conflicts ought to be interpreted against this background. Declarations of war issued in 1718, 1719 and 1733 during the War of the (...) Quadruple Alliance and the Polish Succession should not be read as doctrinal surrogates for trials between two parties, but as manifestos in a European arena. (shrink)
Early modern natural law and the law of nations has been criticised for the Eurocentric character of its conception of law and justice, which has been in turn linked to its role in providing an ideological justification for European imperialism and colonialism. In questioning this account, the present chapter begins by noting that this historical critique presumes that a non-Eurocentric conception of law and justice was in principle available to the early moderns, which they culpably ignored for ideological reasons. (...) If such a non-Eurocentric conception was not available, though, then we will have to acknowledge that the early modern law of nature and nations was actually far more profoundly Eurocentric than even its most strident postcolonial critics have grasped. If the early modern law of nature and nations turns out to be wholly within the horizon of European cultures and designed to address fundamentally European political and religious problems, then its colonial uses might turn out to be both less central and less culpable than is presumed by postcolonial critique. These are the revisionist questions that the chapter explores. (shrink)
Emergence of the modern science of international law is usually attributed to Grotius and other somewhat heroic ‘founders of international law.’ This book offers a more worldly explanation why it was developed mostly by German writers ...
Offering a new interdisciplinary approach to global justice and integrating the insights of international relations and contemporary ethics, this book asks whether the core norms of international law are just by appraising them according to a standard of global justice grounded in the advancement of peace and protection of human rights.
The pirate is the original enemy of humankind. As Cicero famously remarked, there are certain enemies with whom one may negotiate and with whom, circumstances permitting, one may establish a truce. But there is also an enemy with whom treaties are in vain and war remains incessant. This is the pirate, considered by ancient jurists considered to be "the enemy of all."In this book, Daniel Heller-Roazen reconstructs the shifting place of the pirate in legal and political thought from the ancient (...) to the medieval, modern, and contemporary periods presenting the philosophical genealogy of a remarkable antagonist. Today, Heller-Roazen argues, the pirate furnishes the key to the contemporary paradigm of the universal foe. This is a legal and political person of exception, neither criminal nor enemy, who inhabits an extra-territorial region. Against such a foe, states may wage extraordinary battles, policing politics and justifying military measures in the name of welfare and security. Heller-Roazen defines the piracy in the conjunction of four conditions: a region beyond territorial jurisdiction; agents who may not be identified with an established state; the collapse of the distinction between criminal and political categories; and the transformation of the concept of war. The paradigm of piracy remains in force today. Whenever we hear of regions outside the rule of law in which acts of "indiscriminate aggression" have been committed "against humanity," we must begin to recognize that these are acts of piracy. Often considered part of the distant past, the enemy of all is closer to us today than we may think. Indeed, he may never have been closer. (shrink)
This article discusses the well-known verdict of Vattel's legal positivism in relation to concepts of modernity and the European State System and aims at a re-interpretation of Vattel's understanding of the modern state, just war and the international order. It wants to show that even though States and individuals do not obey the same logic and reason, Vattel was neiter a Hobbesian thinker nor, as Kant claimed, a 'sorry comforter'. The main reason for this is that Vattel's doctrine of the (...) war en forme does not imply a break with the tradition of just war. Instead, it should be read as a reformulation of the inegalitarian notion of the enemy as proposed by just war doctrines. Pointing out to the persistance of a jusnaturalistic framework, the article shows that Vattel's concept of justus hostis is built on the same conceptual framework as the concept of the enemy of the human race. (shrink)
This paper explores how law might conceive of the injury or harm of endocrine disruption as it applies to an aboriginal community experiencing chronic chemical pollution. The effect of the pollution in this case is not only gendered, but gendering: it seems to be causing the ‘production’ of two girl babies for every boy born on the reserve. This presents an opening to interrogate how law is implicated in the constitution of not just gender but sex. The analysis takes an (...) embodied turn, attempting to validate the real and material consequences of synthetic chemicals acting on bodies—but uncovers that finding a harm in a declining sex ratio depends on a static conception of the human form, based on unfounded assumptions of ‘naturalness’ and ‘normalcy’. Elizabeth Grosz’s theory of ‘becoming’ offers a compelling challenge, essentially pointing to the conclusion that we should find harm where we find illness and suffering and not simply where we find difference. At the same time, we cannot discount the political economy of the pollution: the paper concludes by returning the focus to the role of power, colonialism and the state in the perpetuation of the pollution on the landscape. (shrink)
Recent developments in criminal legislation of the Republic of Lithuania among other significant novelties include the criminalization of illicit enrichment as criminal offence. Such offence presents new legal instrument for the law enforcement in dealing with individuals who acquire property in doubtful ways. The crime of illicit enrichment is rather a novelty within the context of criminal legislation. Such novelty was largely based upon the requirements of United Nations Convention against Corruption, which stipulates the implementation of such legal measure. (...) According to the article Twenty of the convention, “Subject to its constitution and the fundamental principles of its legal system, each State Party shall consider adopting such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as a criminal offence, when committed intentionally, illicit enrichment, that is, a significant increase in the assets of a public official that he or she cannot reasonably explain in relation to his or her lawful income”. While the convention was undoubtedly major factor for making grounds for said developments the need to widen the scope of confiscation of property and impound illegally acquired wealth were the driving forces behind the political will to support amendments to the Criminal Code. At same time the new offence of illicit enrichment presents significant challenges for the investigative bodies with the prosecution as well as the courts establishing such offences. First and foremost, the techniques of criminalization and legal wording of the offence are new and do not go well with the established principles of criminalization. Unnatural features of the corpus of the crime listed in the code (article No. 1891 of the Criminal Code of Lithuania) involve criminal act lacking attributes illegitimacy, complications regarding guilt of the accused. In addition, doubts and questions regarding the fundamental principles of criminal procedure, due process concerns, and problems of the balance of the rights of the accused with the right of the society to recover illicitly acquired wealth. The relationship of illicit enrichment to other criminal acts committed by the same accused is also of a great importance in establishing sources of such enrichment. As for the time of submission of present article, one hundred and seven interrogations on the illicit enrichment were on and lasting while only three simplified judgments and one proper court sentence were passed. The reasons for such slow implementation of the law are the ambiguities of the definition of law, as well as limitations of regulations, insufficiencies in asset declaration systems, lack of theoretical background and complete absence of court practice on such cases. Two of the existing convictions are analyzed from the point of view of establishment of guilt, the evidence set in the case, the grounds of adequacy of such convictions. The examples presented give basis to judge the adequacy of the new law an opportunity to predict the future rulings of the courts. Necessity of the improvements of the law becomes quite obvious on the basis of the analysis. Strong criticisms, various scientific suggestions on the improvements of the regulations, namely on the constitution of guilt, wording of the criminal act are presented by the author. (shrink)
Hans Kelsen’s (1881-1973) teaching in law covers studies in such topics as the general theory of law, legal philosophy, the general teaching of law, constitutional, administrative and international law. He was also the author of the Austrian Constitution, designed in 1920. Among many of his publications is the Comment of the Charter of the United Nations, published in 1950 in New York City. Among numerous Hans Kelsen’s publications, translated into many languages, the best known, which has made the greatest (...) impact, is his book ‘Pure Theory of Law’, first published in 1934, and the second edition appeared in 1960 together with attachment ‘The Justice Problem’. In particular, a comprehensive legal and policy issue in 1929 appears in Kelsen’s work ‚On the Nature and Value of Democracy‘. Pure Theory of Law is a theory of positive law, the science that reads positive law only into normative sense. Kelsen eliminates any non-normative approach. His science of law is based on the legal positivism and leads to the neutrality of government valuables and indifferent provisions of individual. Kelsen disclaims any ‘over-positive law’ (Recht präpositives), as well as from the natural law. Therefore, the Pure Theory of Law fits for totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. (shrink)
The concept of sovereignty is a recurring and controversial theme in international law, and it has a long history in western philosophy. The traditionally favored concept of sovereignty proves problematic in the context of international law. International law’s own claims to sovereignty, which are premised on traditional concept of sovereignty, undermine individual nations’ claims to sovereignty. These problems are attributable to deep-seated flaws in the traditional concept of sovereignty. A viable alternative concept of sovereignty can be derived from key (...) concepts in Friedrich Nietzsche’s views on human reason and epistemology. The essay begins by considering the problem of sovereignty from the ancient philosophical perspective inherent in the fundamental assumptions and ideas of Plato’s political philosophy and epistemology. It then considers the contemporary problem of sovereignty in the context of international law by examining Louis Henkin’s formulation of and approach to it in his essay That S-Word: Sovereignty, and Globalization, and Human Rights, Etc. Finally, the essay articulates Nietzsche’s views on intellectual conscience, discusses their merits and advantages when used in dealing the problem of sovereignty in the context of international law, and proposes a solution to this problem that draws on the philosophies of Nietzsche, Novalis, Kant and Plato. The essay illustrates the relevance and advantages of this solution by examining the issue of states’ reservations to international treaties and conventions. (shrink)
This Article applies the concept of "legal transplant" to the slavery regimes that sprang up in all regions of settlement during the first two centuries of English colonization of mainland America. Using a distinction between "extrastructure" and "intrastructure," we can divide the Anglo-American law of slavery into discourses of explanation/justification and technologies of implementation. The two components were produced from distinct sources. English law possessed few intellectual resources that could be mobilized to justify and explain slavery as an institution. Here (...) we find the law of nature and nations uppermost. English law offered many resources, however, for the management, distribution and control of movements of people. Thus, the Anglo-American law of slavery combined two transplanted resources within itself. As colonial settlements turned into slave societies, local innovations increasingly supplemented original transplants, compensating for their deficiencies and limitations and becoming, in turn, a third species of transplant. Assembly laws moved from colony to colony, creating commonalities within regions of settlement, and also — more interestingly — among regions usually thought quite distinct. Together the three species of transplants created densely instrumental slave regimes that enumerated all the ways in which summary mutilations and executions defined the slave’s life on the edge of death. (shrink)
The most current text available on the international and U.S. law of the sea, this much-needed reference is built around the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other relevant maritime materials. While it addresses all aspects of ocean usage, much emphasis has been placed on issues of contemporary importance such as international fisheries, maritime boundaries, and deep seabed mining. The first part introduces traditional zones of jurisdiction and doctrine such as inland waters, territorial seas, (...) or high seas, as well as some new concepts related to navigation: the regimes of international straits and archipelagic waters and exclusive economic zones. The latter part analyzes functional issues such as fishing, oil and gas exploitation, mining, scientific research, and maritime pollution, referring on each subject to the U.S. law for comparison. (shrink)
One of the most complex and uncertain areas of international legal doctrine concerns how to deal with the aspiration of a people to achieve self-determination through the establishment of a new state and the related claim to a specific territory over which statehood is to be exercised. Recently, when the General Assembly of the United Nations referred to the International Court of Justice the question of the legality of the declaration of independence by Kosovar Albanians, the Court was given (...) an opportunity to clarify and develop the law on external self-determination. Instead, the Court answered extremely narrowly, confining its analysis to the legality of the act of declaration without determining any consideration of international legal norms applicable to the act of secession that was being proposed. This article intends to fill the gap left by the ICJ’s decision: first by critiquing the inadequacy and tensions visible in the existing doctrine and second by examining how recent developments in international law may allow for a more normatively coherent approach to the problem. (shrink)
On April 30, 1982, the Eleventh Session of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea endorsed the final version of the Draft Convention of the Law of the Sea by a vote of 130 to 4, with 17 abstentions.1 The Session met at UN Headquarters in New York from March 8 to April 30.2.