That spirits and gods, devils and idols, should be endowed with legal rights and enjoyments is again a practice as common as it seems to be ancient. Perhaps you will go to the length of saying that much the most interesting person that you ever knew was persona ficta. In May 1926, the German Society for International Law discussed the foundational question of the subjects of international law. “Who can appear independently before international forums? only states? or also others, particularly individuals?” asked the speaker, Godehard Josef Ebers, a professor at the University of Cologne. The topic possessed a strange novelty. “In the nineteenth century one hardly even considered the problem,” Ebers noted incredulously. Now it appeared both neglected and pressing. The society's resolutions that year recognized that ever more non-state “factors”—including groups such as minorities as well as individuals—were emerging as the bearers of international rights and duties. The appearance of these new subjects suggested a transformation in the deep conceptual substructure (Grundauffassung) of international law, which had hitherto recognized states alone as international persons.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Wheatley: Spectral Legal Personality in Interwar International Law: On New Ways of Not Being a State
Natasha Wheatley (Princeton Univ. - History) has published Spectral Legal Personality in Interwar International Law: On New Ways of Not Being a State (Law and History Review, Vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 753-87, August 2017). Here's the abstract: