Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Heller: Specially-Affected States and the Formation of Custom

Kevin Jon Heller (Univ. of Amsterdam - Law) has posted Specially-Affected States and the Formation of Custom. Here's the abstract:
Although the US has consistently relied on the ICJ’s doctrine of specially-affected states to claim that it and other powerful states in the Global North play a privileged role in the formation of customary international law, the doctrine itself has been almost completely ignored both by legal scholars and by the ICJ itself. This article attempts to fill that lacuna. In particular, by focusing on debates in a variety of areas of international law – with particular emphasis on the jus ad bellum and jus in bello – it addresses two questions: (1) what makes a state “specially affected”? and (2) what exactly is the importance of a state qualifying as “specially affected” for the formation of custom? The article concludes not only that the US approach to the doctrine of specially-affected states is fatally flawed, but also that a more theoretically coherent understanding of the doctrine would give states in the Global South power over custom formation that the US and other Global North states would never find acceptable.