The International Law Commission's Soft Law Influence
13 FIU Law Review (2019), Forthcoming
21 Pages Posted: 30 May 2019
Date Written: May 20, 2019
Since the 1990s, the International Law Commission has increasingly produced soft law, such as principles and draft conclusions, in addition to hard law like draft treaty articles This essay explores the implications of the International Law Commission’s transition toward a greater emphasis on soft law. Soft law is an effective vehicle for the International Law Commission’s mission of codification and progressive development of international law; the International Law Commission’s involvement increases the clarity and accessibility of international law norms and promotes a dynamic, synergistic relationship between hard law and soft law that contributes to the effective evolution of international law. Likewise, the International Law Commission is well-structured to produce soft law by virtue of its expertise, work processes, and robust engagement with states in the Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. Furthermore, the International Law Commission’s soft law has in fact been influential on an audience of diverse global legal actors, including the International Court of Justice and other international courts and tribunals, treaty bodies, states, and scholars. In order to build on its existing soft law influence, the International Law Commission should acknowledge its vast global audience and tailor its processes and practices to better reach these communities.
Keywords: International law commission, Soft law, Hard law, United Nations, United nations general assembly, Sixth committee, International Court of Justice, Treaty bodies
JEL Classification: K33, N40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation