A Taxonomy of International Rule of Law Institutions
Journal of International Dispute Settlement, Forthcoming
31 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2010
Date Written: November 29, 2010
It has often been said that one of the most remarkable features of international law and relations since the end of the Cold War has been the rapid multiplication of international institutions controlling implementation of international law and/or settling disputes arising out of its interpretation and implementation. Yet, the sheer dimensions of the phenomenon, with well over 142 bodies and procedures, has defied many attempts to comprehensively map this fast growing sector of international relations.
This article has three aims. The first is limited. First, it updates previous classifications of international courts and tribunals and dispute settlement bodies. The second aim is a bit more ambitious. It is time to revise some of the categories and criteria of classification commonly employed in the field. More than a decade of scholarship in the field by legal scholars and political scientists has made it possible to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon. The abundance of data over a sufficiently long time-span is making it possible to start moving away from a mere “folk taxonomy” towards a more rigorous scientific classification.
The hallmark of truly scientific classifications is that classifying is only the final step of a process, and a classification only the means to communicate the end results. Besides making it possible to discover and describe, scientific classifications crucially enable prediction of new entities and categories. Thus, the third aim of this article is to attempt to discern some trends and make some predictions about future developments in this increasingly relevant field of international law and relations.
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