The Long Road Towards an International Legal Order
Centenary Edition of the Bulletin of the Brazilian Society of International Law (August 2016)
28 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 12, 2017
This essay, written for the centenary edition of the "Brazilian Society of International Law Bulletin”, takes stock of a century of development in international justice. Nowadays, at least internationally, everyone is recognized a long and expanding list of rights, and there are many opportunities to obtain justice, both domestically and internationally, far more than ever in the history of humankind. Democracy and rule of law have made much progress domestically. That progress has been accompanied, during the second half of the twentieth century, by the development of international human rights law, first, and subsequently, towards the end of the century, by a large and rapidly expanding network of international courts and tribunals to provide an array of remedies when those rights have been violated.
Yet, despite this remarkable progress, arguably much of humanity still does not have access to justice domestically, internationally, or both. If human rights are truly universal, how come the remedies for their violations are not universal, too? Does international law amount to a “legal order”? This essay reviews the extent to which the “international judicial network” has grown, and then it explains why and how it is not complete yet.
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