Sunday, June 3, 2018

Megiddo: Beyond Fragmentation: On International Law's Integrationist Forces

Tamar Megiddo (Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem - Law) has posted Beyond Fragmentation: On International Law's Integrationist Forces (Yale Journal of International Law, forthcoming). Here's the abstract:

Adopting a comprehensive plan to fight tropical diseases, Brazil came across an unexpected hurdle: its international trade obligations. Its ban on the importation of used and recycled tires, which serve as mosquito breeding sites, was challenged by its trading partners in both the Southern Common Market and the World Trade Organization. Unfortunately for Brazil, the two international tribunals rendered conflicting rulings and Brazil was thus forced to choose between disregarding one of the rulings, or abandoning its plan in order to comply with both. Brazil’s story has been viewed as the epitome of the dangers of international law’s fragmentation, resulting from the proliferation of international legal regimes, and particularly international tribunals. Challenging this accepted narrative, this article argues that Brazil’s difficult situation served in fact as a catalyst of efforts of international legal integration. Rather than becoming paralyzed or turning its back on international law, Brazil remained committed to its international legal obligations and proactively and creatively worked to reconcile them without giving up its domestic agenda.

The article further challenges the claim, dominant in fragmentation literature, that international law is inevitably headed towards increasing fragmentation. I argue that, like Brazil, states faced with conflicting guidance from international legal regimes make efforts to find a common ground among their various obligations, one still compatible with their own goals. Furthermore, states then strive to convince their peers as well as international monitoring bodies of their proposed solution. In doing so, they promote harmonization of international legal norms and integration among international law’s different legal regimes.