International Organizations and the Rule of Law

IILJ Working Paper 2016/4

57 Pages Posted: 1 May 2016 Last revised: 18 May 2016

See all articles by José E. Alvarez

José E. Alvarez

New York University School of Law

Date Written: April 28, 2016


International rule of law fixes should take into full account the special features of the existing international legal system, including, as noted, its reliance on contested, iterative interactions among diverse political and legal forums. Those arguing that the rule of law requires the Security Council to replace its ombudsperson mechanism with a full scale international court to implement its smart sanctions need to consider whether this is the best prescription, as opposed to, for example, insisting that an ombudsperson procedure apply to all Security Council sanctions committees and not just to those sanctions committees that deal with ISIL and Al-Qaida. Sober reflection on whether a full scale judicial process is truly needed is a good idea not only because insistence on the perfect rule of law ideal may be the enemy of the good. It is a good idea because nuance is needed when examining what the national rule of law truly requires and when exporting national rule of law recipes to the international realm.

Keywords: public international law, international legal theory, rule of law, international organizations, United Nations law

Suggested Citation

Alvarez, José Enrique, International Organizations and the Rule of Law (April 28, 2016). IILJ Working Paper 2016/4. Available at SSRN: or

José Enrique Alvarez (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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