Politics and policy are interwoven with international law. The relationship between the two is reciprocal. While politics influence international law, international law also influences domestic and international politics. Critics contend that international law is really the deployment of power politics, and that resolving disputes under the auspices of international law in a judicialized forum serves only to “launder” the rule of the powerful. Admirers of internationalism and international institutions, on the other hand, contend that the legalization of power has a civilizing effect that leads to some of the most effective forms of law-making, ranging from good governance standards promulgated by the IMF or the World Bank to sanctions imposed under Security Council authority.
Is there international law that stands separate from politics? International institutions, from the WTO to the World Bank, from the ICC to the World Court, are creatures of politics as well as law. The decisions of governments to participate in those organizations or other international law initiatives are often based on domestic politics – one thinks of the Kyoto Protocol and the International Criminal Court. Yet the politics of international law are not only a reflection of domestic concerns. As international law becomes more pervasive and intrusive on previously sovereign domains, and as international institutions wield more influence, more people are examining and questioning the politics of those institutions.
The Society’s exploration of the relationship between international law and politics comes at a time of political change. 2007 and 2008 bring elections and potential new leadership in four of the five permanent Security Council member states. What attitudes will these political leaders have towards international law, and what reactions in other leaders will those attitudes provoke? And how will changes in the domestic political landscape of these and other countries affect the future formulation and implementation of international law? The 2008 ASIL Annual Meeting will address these and other related issues in a series of over thirty sessions featuring leading practitioners, scholars, and government officials.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Call for Papers: Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law
The program committee for the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law is accepting panel proposals. Submissions are due July 9, 2007. The meeting's theme is "The Politics of International Law"; here's the theme statement: