Non-State Actor Participation in International Law and the Pretense of Exclusion

Jordan J. Paust

University of Houston Law Center

November 2, 2010

Virginia International Journal of Law, Vol. 51, No. 4, 2011
U of Houston Law Center No. 2010-A-34

For centuries, there have been vast numbers of formally recognized actors in the international legal process other than the state, although far too many assume incorrectly that traditional or classical international law had been merely state-to-state and that under traditional international law individuals and various other non-state actors did not have rights or duties based directly in international agreements or customary international law. Even today, invidious consequences occur when judges cling to manifestly a historical assumptions about international law and rule erroneously that “customary international law consists of only those norms that are... obligatory in the relations of States inter se.” [2d Cir. panel, Kiobel case, 2010] This article seeks to explode such a false and inhibiting myth by identifying a large number of such actors from each inhabited region of the globe and a number of specific forms of formal participation from the 1700s through the early 20th Century when, according to myth, state-oriented positivism allegedly achieved complete and universal acceptance and denied the existence of any status, role, right, or duty of any non-state actor.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30

Keywords: Indians, Africa, Maori, belligerent, cities, company, corporation, duties, human rights, insurgent, international law, Kiobel, law of war, laws of humanity, last-in-time, nations, non-state actor, peoples, piracy, slave trade, treaty, tribes, vessels

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Date posted: November 3, 2010 ; Last revised: May 21, 2011

Suggested Citation

Paust, Jordan J., Non-State Actor Participation in International Law and the Pretense of Exclusion (November 2, 2010). Virginia International Journal of Law, Vol. 51, No. 4, 2011; U of Houston Law Center No. 2010-A-34. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1701992 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1701992

Contact Information

Jordan J. Paust (Contact Author)
University of Houston Law Center ( email )
4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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