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Flashcards in Globalisation and International Law Deck (10)
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what is international law?

international laws are the formal rules of behaviour that govern states and other international bodies

these differ from laws inside the state as there is no world government to make them or international police to enforce them

the rise in international law can be seen as part of the process of globalisation as it is part of the complex web of interconnectedness between states


how has international law developed?

international law originated in the 17th century with the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) which developed the principle of national sovereignty

international law involves states being the main subjects and makers of the law

the law is based on the principles of the sovereignty of states, the legal equality of states and non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states

the horrors of the Nazi and Stalinist states in the 20th century led to the development of international law based on moral principles, which national law should conform to

this has driven the rise in international humanitarian law, which has increased since the massacres and ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia (1993) and the genocide in Rwanda (1994)


link between state sovereignty and international law

the growth of international law in the late 20th and 21st century has challenged state sovereignty

there is a question about whether the development of international law is compatible with state sovereignty and both articles 2 and 7 of the UN

this clash also arises with the creation of international institutions like the ICJ, the ICC, special UN tribunals and the European Court of Human Rights


realist view on international law

from the realist perspective, any attempt to develop international law which is not based on the principle of national sovereignty will not be legitimate

international law will undermine the sovereignty of states and make the world a less safe place as it will break the principle that intervention in another state is only permitted in the case of self defence

therefore, conflict becomes more likely, not less


liberal view on international law

from the liberal perspective, the development of international law will increase the interconnectedness and interdependence of states by promoting the rules and norms of behaviour which all states will adopt

this will lessen the chance of conflict

international law is also based on the liberal belief that all human beings have natural rights, as seen in the thinking of John Locke


what is a key debate around globalisation?

a key debates around globalisation and its impact on the state system concerns the principle of non-intervention in the affairs of other states and the moral case of humanitarian intervention in the case of a humanitarian catastrophe


what issue does the emergence in international human rights law raise?

the emergence of international human rights law raises the question of whether humanitarian intervention can be justified

can intervention take place to prevent a mass atrocity crime, or would standing aside and respecting state sovereignty be morally unacceptable?

the decision to intervene in Libya in 2011 has been hugely controversial, as has the decision not to intervene in Syria in 2011


attempt to redefine sovereignty: R2P

there has been an attempt to move to a post Westphalian consensus in order to deal with the conflict surrounding intervention, through redefining sovereignty

the emerging norm of Responsibility to Protect was formalised in 2005

it declares that states have a responsibility to protect their populations from mass atrocity crimes such as ethnic cleansing or genocide

if a state fails to do this, an obligation to intervene falls upon the international community, provided there is a reasonable chance of success and intervention will do more good than harm

the developing norms of international law and R2P in particular suggest that state sovereignty has changed — it has become conditional on the state protecting its population and failure to do so invalidates that sovereignty, legalising external intervention



in 2011, Human Rights Watch informed the world of crimes against the Libyan people by government forces under the control of Colonel Gaddafi and the UNSC authorised military intervention in Libya

those supporting intervention argue that it saves lives by preventing mass atrocity crimes such as a massacre, but critics argue that legalised intervention is merely a cover for Western imperialism

the intervention in Libya lasted for longer than the protection of Benghazi, finishing only when Gaddafi had been removed

non-intervention would have led to catastrophe in Benghazi, but intervention has left a failed state — in 2017, there were two rival parliaments, three governments, over 1700 armed groups and over 400,000 internally displaced people

intervention has also had global impacts, including a large flow of refugees across the Mediterranean into Italy and other European countries, Tunisia and Southern Sudan have become destabilised, Algeria has suffered terror attacks, weapons from Gaddafi’s arsenal have made their way to Syria and into the hands of Boko Haram in Nigeria


debates on humanitarian intervention

humanitarian crises, such as Libya (2011), have global implications in terms of the displacement of people and refugee crises, the destabilisation of local regions, the potential to bring global powers into conflict over what action to take and the creation of spaces where global terrorism may flourish

it brings into conflict the human rights of the individual with the principle of national sovereignty

intervention is often seen as an excuse to further the interests of powerful states — for example, some believe that Libya was more about regime change and oil for the USA and Western powers than it was about human rights