In whose name? Mapping the constitutional legitimacy of hybrid international criminal courts (Forthcoming)

In, Hybrid Justice: Innovation and Impact in the Prosecution of Atrocity Crimes (edited by Kirsten Ainley and Mark Kersten). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The chapter is an output of the Hybrid Justice project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation through the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics. Bringing together academics, international lawyers, and practitioners, the project seeks to build bridges between different disciplinary perspectives in order to understand and advance the resilience of hybrid criminal justice mechanisms. Asking ‘who is the constituent power of hybrid courts’, I draw on theoretical insights from IR theory to make sense of the diverse communities that grant legitimacy to internationalised war crime courts and tribunals.

This piece has developed from an English School Theory Symposium that was held at the University of St. Andrews, UK, in September 2017. The full collection of comments and responses has now been published in a special issue. My short contribution explores the relationship between pluralism, diversity, and international law in the English School approach to International Relations theory. Thanks to John Williams’ 2015 book Ethics, Diversity and World Politics, pluralism has been restored as a philosophically rich and ethically progressive position within the English School canon. Drawing on his insights, I develop a brief agenda for the study of international law and institutions that stresses logics of interaction between political communities that not only arise from but also endorse human diversity

Changes in the law of self-defence? Drones, imminence, and international norm dynamics (2018)

Journal on the Use of Force and International Law 5(2), pp. 201-245.

This article assesses the evolution of the international law of the use of force, focusing on how the emergence of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has influenced international norms regulating the right of self-defence. Drawing on constructivist International Relations research, we develop a socio-legal framework that emphasises changes in the interpretation of the meaning of imminence, and investigate how these changes, counter-terrorism, and the introduction of UAVs have contributed to the adoption of more relaxed standards for the use of force in self-defence. We argue that the Obama administration engaged in a systematic effort to redefine imminence and that a significant numbers of states, including key powers such as China, India and the UK, have largely followed this model. This, we suggest, underlines both the ability of dominant states to shape the interpretation of international norms and the influence of strategic and technological developments on the meaning and interpretation of international law.tem about? What makes it interesting? Write a catchy description to grab your audience's attention...

In, International Organization in the Anarchical Society (edited by Cornelia Navari and Tony Brems Knudsen). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 99-125.

This chapter considers the relationship between international law and the role and practice of the UN Security Council. Proceeding from the assumption that all international organisations are constituted, constrained, and empowered by the fundamental moral principles of the international legal order, it explores the way in which the norms of jus cogens have shaped the Security Council’s institutional environment and practice. It suggests that as a manifestation of the moral principles of international law, jus cogens norms have forged and defined the SC beyond the legal framework set out in the UN Charter. At the same time, it shows that the content and relevance of jus cogens itself have been shaped through Security Council successes and failures

International Theory 8(2), pp. 262-296.

This article develops a socio-legal approach to theorizing the construction of peremptory norms in international relations. It argues that due to its focus on formalism and abstract notions of rights, traditional legal treatments have failed to acknowledge the socially constructed nature of higher order norms. To address this shortcoming, the article transfers the concept of jus cogens into the realm of International Relations. Drawing on insights from constructivism and English School theory, it situates law in the context of society and conceptualizes jus cogens as part of international society’s constitutional structure. Proceeding from the assumption that the content and identity of jus cogens depends on the normative character of international society, the article then assesses two possible ‘normative logics’ through which the peremptory status of a norm may be generated. It rejects a solidarist logic, which sees universal norms as the manifestation of cosmopolitan ideas about inalienable rights. Instead, it argues for a pluralist approach to ethics and order that depicts jus cogens as key to the development of international society towards a social site marked by diversity and respect for difference.

Journal of International Law and International Relations 11(1), pp. 81-84.

Kratochwil’s recent book, The Status of Law in World Society, is the product of his lifetime endeavour to theorise the ‘social’ nature and function of law in global life. Rather than developing an explicit argument, it offers a ‘philosophical meditation’; an inquisitive, self-reflective and insightful intellectual journey in which the author meticulously works through the material. While those preferring a more straightforward style of presentation might find this kind of inquiry confusing, it certainly makes for a fascinating read. He skilfully weaves together legal theory, philosophy and sociology, using metaphors and counterfactual reasoning in order to make his case. That is, urging us to think about law and norms in terms of contingent, dynamic and contested social practices, rather than manifestations of universalistic and abstract concepts.

E-International Relations

Rhetorically, the ‘international community’ has become a heavily travelled site in political and public discourse. Whether it is the protection of human rights, the fight against global terrorism, crisis management of and response to environmental disasters and humanitarian emergencies, or international negotiations with regimes such as Iran and North Korea – in the age of globalization the international community seems to be at the forefront whenever global peace and security are under threat. While talk would suggest that there exists some kind of unitary and durable actor called ‘international community’, it is far from clear who or what it represents. International lawyers and International Relations theorists alike have dealt with the formation, role and nature of the concept, though this has not resulted in any clear, consensual account. In this short essay, I will pull some of this research together in order to stipulate the principal conceptual issues scholars have to consider when working with the notion of ‘international community’. this item about? What makes it interesting? Write a catchy description to grab your audience's attention...

Please reload