From Apology to Utopia: The Structure of International Legal Argument

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 2, 2006 - Law
This book presents a critical view of international law as an argumentative practice that aims to 'depoliticise' international relations. Drawing from a range of materials, Koskenniemi demonstrates how international law becomes vulnerable to the contrasting criticisms of being either an irrelevant moralist Utopia or a manipulable façade for State interests. He examines the conflicts inherent in international law - sources, sovereignty, 'custom' and 'world order' - and shows how legal discourse about such subjects can be described in terms of a small number of argumentative rules. This book was originally published in English in Finland in 1989 and though it quickly became a classic, it has been out of print for some years. In 2006, Cambridge was proud to reissue this seminal text, together with a freshly written Epilogue in which the author both responds to critiques of the original work, and reflects on the effect and significance of his 'deconstructive' approach today.

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Contents

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Page 271 - If the dispute between the parties is claimed by one of them, and is found by the Council, to arise out of a matter which by international law is solely within the domestic jurisdiction of that party, the Council shall so report, and shall make no recommendation as to its settlement.
Page 517 - In cases where this Convention does not attribute rights or jurisdiction to the coastal State or to other States within the exclusive economic zone, and a conflict arises between the interests of the coastal State and any other State or States, the conflict should be resolved on the basis of equity and in the light of all the relevant circumstances, taking into account the respective importance of the interests involved to the parties as well as to the international community as a whole.
Page 264 - Sovereignty in the relations between States signifies independence. Independence in regard to a portion of the globe is the right to exercise therein, to the exclusion of any other State, the functions of a State.
Page 373 - When it is the intention of the State making the declaration that it should become bound according to its terms, that intention confers on the declaration the character of a legal undertaking, the State being thenceforth legally required to follow a course of conduct consistent with the declaration.
Page 478 - As regards the question which of different legal systems prevailing at successive periods is to be applied in a particular case (the so-called intertemporal law), a distinction must be made between the creation of rights and the existence of rights. The same principle which subjects the act creative of a right to the law in force at the time the right arises, demands that the existence of the right, in other words its continued manifestation, shall follow the conditions required by the evolution...
Page 282 - The delimitation of sea areas has always an international aspect ; it cannot be dependent merely upon the will of the coastal State as expressed in its municipal law. Although it is true that the act of delimitation is necessarily a unilateral act, because only the coastal State is competent to undertake it, the validity of the delimitation with regard to other States depends upon international...
Page 518 - The delimitation of the exclusive economic zone between States with opposite or adjacent coasts shall be effected by agreement on the basis of international law, as referred to in Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, in order to achieve an equitable solution.
Page 282 - It does not at all follow that, in the absence of rules having the technically precise character alleged by the United Kingdom Government, the delimitation undertaken by the Norwegian Government in 1935 is not subject to certain principles which make it possible to judge as to its validity under international law.
Page 426 - In particular, an essential distinction should be drawn between the obligations of a State towards the international community as a whole, and those arising vis-a-vis another State in the field of diplomatic protection. By their very nature the former are the concern of all States. In view of the importance of the rights involved, all States can be held to have a legal interest in their protection; they are obligations erga omnes.

About the author (2006)

University of Helsinki.

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