Modest International Law: COVID-19, International Legal Responses, and Depoliticization

Forthcoming 114 (3) American Journal of International Law (2020)

18 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2020

See all articles by Francisco-José Quintana

Francisco-José Quintana

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law

Justina Uriburu

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)

Date Written: June 30, 2020

Abstract

In this essay, we analyze two sets of international legal responses to the COVID-19 pandemic: the academic discussion on state responsibility and the deployment of international law as a tool for resistance. We argue that both approaches made significant contributions but concealed the role of the discipline in the production of the conditions that led to the pandemic and its unequal impact. These interventions reflect a “modest international law”; an understanding of the discipline that hinders change and is ethically weak. We contend that repoliticization can help reclaim international law’s ambition and responsibility.

Keywords: Pandemic, COVID-19, state responsibility, human rights, democratic accountability, critical approaches to international law, international law and politics, institutional reconstruction

Suggested Citation

Quintana, Francisco-José and Uriburu, Justina, Modest International Law: COVID-19, International Legal Responses, and Depoliticization (June 30, 2020). Forthcoming 114 (3) American Journal of International Law (2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3659460

Francisco-José Quintana (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

Justina Uriburu

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) ( email )

PO Box 136
Geneva, CH-1211
Switzerland

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