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The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights

K. Alter, The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights, Princeton University Press, 2013

Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 13-11

Northwestern University Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies Working Paper No. 13-001

36 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2013  

Karen J. Alter

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science; University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law - iCourts Center of Excellence

Date Written: March 13, 2013

Abstract

This is the introductory chapter of my forthcoming book with the same title. International relations have long been considered outside of the domain of law. Most people presume that law is only meaningful when backed by a central enforcer. By this logic, absent a world state international law cannot meaningfully exist. International law is rising in political relevance because since the end of the Cold War, international politics has become increasingly judicialized. Domestic actors increasingly see the rule of law as requiring respect for international law; domestic and international actors are increasingly invoking international law as they advocate for and justify policy prescriptions; and international courts, ad hoc international legal mechanisms, and domestic judges are increasingly adjudicating state respect for international law. The New Terrain of International Law charts the changes and trends in judicializing international relations by focusing on the creation and use of international courts (ICs). Today there are more than two-dozen international courts that have collectively issued over 37,000 binding legal rulings in individual contentious cases. The contribution of the courts, international or otherwise, is to say what the law requires, and to perhaps specify remedies for law violations. The New Terrain of International Law explains how this very limited power — the power to speak the law — translates into political influence, and it explains when and how delegating authority to international courts influences international and domestic politics. This working paper includes an extended table of contents and a case study index.

Keywords: International law, International Courts, International Law Effectiveness, human rights, war crimes

JEL Classification: K4, K10, K33

Suggested Citation

Alter, Karen J., The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights (March 13, 2013). K. Alter, The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights, Princeton University Press, 2013; Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 13-11; Northwestern University Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies Working Paper No. 13-001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2233080

Karen J. Alter (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

601 University Place
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law - iCourts Center of Excellence ( email )

Studiestraede 6
Studiestrade 6
Copenhagen, DK-1455
Denmark

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