It is uncontested, in international law, that governments may lawfully request assistance from third parties in a myriad of scenarios, from cooperation in law enforcement to disaster mitigation. However, once a government is internally contested by force, the picture becomes markedly different. For decades, the question endures: when, if at all, do governments possess the authority to invite external assistance in their fight against armed domestic opposition?
This Article does not attempt to answer this question in positive law, nor to offer a normative account on whether or when such authority should exist. Rather, it sets out to ask a "meta" question: why is this question so difficult to resolve? It does so, by utilizing three theoretical approaches to international law: instrumental, critical, and ethical approaches.
As the Article demonstrates, these theoretical approaches expose why the question of authority to consent is especially vexing. From an instrumental perspective, it is difficult both to agree on desirable outcomes, and to construct a forward looking, general standard on authority that would deliver them. From a critical point of view, it seems that standards on authority very quickly collapse into politics. From an ethical prism, the question of authority to consent cannot be disentangled from the authority to use force internally, an issue scantly addressed by international law.
Conceptualizing the difficulties that make consent authority such an enduring problem, can clarify the commitments required – or, in other words – ‘what does it take to believe’ that this or that approach on the question is the better one. Ultimately, this Article seeks to uncover some of the key theoretical problems that must be overcome in order to defend a standard on authority to consent.
Saturday, May 30, 2020
Lieblich: Why Can’t We Agree on When Governments Can Consent to External Intervention? A Theoretical Inquiry
New Issue: Archiv des Völkerrechts
- Ulrich Hufeld, 25 Jahre wehrverfassungsrechtlicher Parlamentsvorbehalt
- Otto Luchterhandt, Die Vereinbarungen von Minsk über den Konflikt in der Ostukraine (Donbass) aus völkerrechtlicher Sicht
- Andrea de Guttry, The 2018 Agreement on Peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea and its Implementation. A Legal Analysis
Inaugural Issue: Intergovernmental Organisations In-House Counsel Journal
- Edward Chukwuemeke Okeke, Jurisdictional Immunity of International Organizations in the United States in the Wake of the Supreme Court Decision in Jam v. IFC
- Jelena Madir, Treatment of Corporate Groups under Multilateral Development Banks’ Sanctions Regimes
- Rafal Zakrzewski, The Roles of Arrangers and Agents in Syndicated Lending Transactions: Duties, Risks, Liabilities and Protections
- Marjolein Busstra, Designing for Good: Blockchain Technology and Human Rights
- Lorena Barrenechea Salazar, Privacy, the Fallacy of Consent and the Need to Regulate Social Media Platforms
Call for Papers: COVID-19 and international economic law: China and a changing world
Vadi: War and Peace: Alberico Gentili and the Early Modern Law of Nations
This treatise investigates the emergence of the early modern law of nations, focusing on Alberico Gentili’s contribution to the same. A religious refugee and Regius Professor at the University of Oxford, Alberico Gentili (1552–1608) lived in difficult times of religious wars and political persecution. He discussed issues that were topical in his lifetime and remain so today, including the clash of civilizations, the conduct of war, and the maintenance of peace. His idealism and political pragmatism constitute the principal reasons for the continued interest in his work. Gentili’s work is important for historical record, but also for better analysing and critically assessing the origins of international law and its current developments, as well as for elaborating its future trajectories.
Klingler, Barnes, & Sepehri Far: Is the U.S. in Breach of the ICJ’s Provisional Measures Order in Alleged Violations of the 1955 Treaty of Amity?
New Issue: Journal of Conflict Resolution
- Lauren Sukin, Credible Nuclear Security Commitments Can Backfire: Explaining Domestic Support for Nuclear Weapons Acquisition in South Korea
- Weiwen Yin, Climate Shocks, Political Institutions, and Nomadic Invasions in Early Modern East Asia
- Michael Malcolm, Vidya Diwakar, & George Naufal, Child Discipline in Times of Conflict
- Jessica Maves Braithwaite & Amanda Abigail Licht, The Effect of Civil Society Organizations and Democratization Aid on Civil War Onset
- Daniel Gustafson, Hunger to Violence: Explaining the Violent Escalation of Nonviolent Demonstrations
- Dani Nedal, Megan Stewart, & Michael Weintraub, Urban Concentration and Civil War
- Marius Mehrl & Paul W. Thurner, Military Technology and Human Loss in Intrastate Conflict: The Conditional Impact of Arms Imports
New Issue: International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
- Pieter Bekker & Robert van de Poll, Unlocking the Arctic’s Resources Equitably: Using a Law-and-Science Approach to Fix the Beaufort Sea Boundary
- Youna Lyons, Robert Beckman, Loke Ming Choub & Danwei Huang, Moving from MPAs to Area-based Management Measures in the South China Sea
- Elena Karataeva, The Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea: The Final Answer or an Interim Solution to the Caspian Question?
- Michail Risvas, Underwater Cultural Heritage in Africa and Questions of Immunity, State Ownership and Succession: What Role for Equity?
- Alexandre Pereira da Silva, The Concept of Brazilian Jurisdictional Waters and its Impact on the Freedom of the High Seas
- Sofia Galani, Assessing Maritime Security and Human Rights: The Role of the EU and its Member States in the Protection of Human Rights in the Maritime Domain
- Yen-Chiang Chang, The Exploitation of Oceanic Methane Hydrate: Legal Issues and Implications for China
- Karen N Scott, Ocean Acidification: A Due Diligence Obligation under the LOSC
- Jiayi Wang & Keyuan Zou, China’s Efforts in Marine Biodiversity Conservation: Recent Developments in Policy and Institutional Reform
Sjöstedt: The Role of Multilateral Environmental Agreements: A Reconciliatory Approach to Environmental Protection in Armed Conflict
The environment suffers enormously during armed conflicts and, despite the increasing awareness of the pressing need to protect the planet, devastating environmental damage can occur legally at times of war. This book suggests that – apart from the protection offered under law of armed conflict – environmental treaties or multilateral agreements (MEAs) can complement and strengthen environmental protection when war occurs.
Previous research has focused on the protection offered under the law of armed conflict (in particular international humanitarian law) and customary international environmental law concerning wartime environmental damage, or whether environmental treaties remain applicable at times of armed conflict. This book, however, is the first in-depth scholarly examination of how environmental treaties can apply in wartime and how they can contribute to the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflict. It also offers an updated study of environmental protection under the law of armed conflict, including the latest developments in the International Law Commission's work on this underexplored topic.
Friday, May 29, 2020
Zheng: Pandemic, Emergency Power, and Implications on the Right to Seek Asylum
Call for Submissions: Military Law and the Law of War Review / Revue de Droit Militaire et de Droit de la Guerre
Edward Elgar Publishing is proud to announce an exciting new collaboration with the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War to publish The Military Law and the Law of War Review / Revue de Droit Militaire et de Droit de la Guerre (MLLWR).
MLLWR is a long-established journal with a rich history of specialisation in matters of interest for both legal scholars and civilian and military legal advisors. It features original and challenging articles, case notes, commentaries of the latest legal developments, as well as book reviews.
For its coming issues (Vol 58 - 1 and 2) - the first to be published pursuant to a new partnership agreement with Edward Elgar Publishing - the Review's editorial board welcomes submissions that come within the broader scope of the Review, including military law, law of armed conflict, law on the use of force, as well as international criminal law and human rights law (inasmuch as related to situations of armed conflict).
The deadline for submission is 1 July 2020. Submissions should be sent to email@example.com and will be subject to double-blind peer review.
Articles should normally not be longer than 15,000 words (footnotes included), although longer pieces may exceptionally be considered. Inquiries as to whether a possible submission comes within the scope of the Review can be sent to the above mentioned email address.
This first Elgar issue will be launched in print and online in Autumn 2020.
Call for Session Ideas: 2021 ASIL Annual Meeting
Reconceiving International Law: Creativity in Times of Crisis
In these extraordinary times, dramatic shifts in global health, the global economy, and geopolitical power structures are forcing human beings to adapt and evolve. These shifts require us to revisit the operation of the legal, political, and conceptual structures of our international order, and to examine the possibility — and perhaps necessity — of creating new norms, tools, and paradigms.
Today's health and economic crises are having a profound impact on the rule of law, human security, and the environment; human rights and gender equality; international business and trade; and virtually all other aspects of society. These effects are being exacerbated by the differing approaches that governments, international organizations, and private actors have taken toward international problem-solving. Although our instinct may be to strive to return to "normalcy" in all these areas, we may need to invent a new normal. The current moment thus gives rise to both unprecedented challenges and unique opportunities to reconsider and potentially to reshape international law and international institutions.
The 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law will provide a forum to think critically and creatively about all fields of international law. Sessions will present a broad range of perspectives on innovative ways to address emerging issues, to improve global governance, and to tackle international problems. More than ever, it is a time to come together as international law scholars and practitioners, and to challenge ourselves to imagine a new way forward.
- International Human Rights, Humanitarian Law, and Criminal Justice
- Transnational Litigation, Arbitration, and Dispute Resolution
- International Trade, Investment, and Finance
- International Organizations, Global Governance, and Global Health
- Security, Foreign Relations, and Use of Force
- Environment, Sea, Space, and Sustainable Development
Call for Session Ideas
To suggest an idea for the 2021 Annual Meeting, please select the "Idea Submission" tab and complete the form found there by no later than July 17, 2020.
New Issue: Chinese Journal of International Law
- Miguel Lemos, Jus Cogens Versus the Chapter VII Powers of the Security Council: With Particular References to Humanitarian Intervention and Terrorism
- Carlo Focarelli, International Human Rights “in Crisis” and the Neoliberalization of the Human Person
- William S Dodge, Jurisdiction, State Immunity, and Judgments in the Restatement (Fourth) of US Foreign Relations Law
- Deming Huang & Qintong Shan, The Immunity of Judge Akay of the MICT
- Marcelo Vázquez-Bermúdez & Alfredo Crosato, General Principles of Law: The First Debate within the International Law Commission and the Sixth Committee
- Letters to the Journal
- Xiao Mao, Self-Defence and Attribution of Armed Attacks in the Context of Anti-Terrorism
- Haomei Li, Coastal State Jurisdiction in the “Norstar” Case at the ITLOS
- George Forji Amin, A Marxist and TWAIL Reading of the Oxford Handbook of the Sources of International Law
Special Issue: The 2019 Hague Judgments Convention
- Special Issue: The 2019 Hague Judgments Convention
- Paulien van der Grinten & Noura ten Kate, Editorial: The 2019 Hague Judgments Convention
- Catherine Kessedjian, Comment on the Hague Convention of 2 July 2019 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters. Is the Hague Convention of 2 July 2019 a useful tool for companies who are conducting international activities?
- Hans van Loon, Towards a global Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters
- Prejudiciële vragen in SHAPE/Supreme: over conservatoir beslag en immuniteit. HR 21 december 2018, ECLI:NL:HR:2018:2361 en HR 22 februari 2019, ECLI:NL:HR:2019:292, NIPR 2019, 64
- Michael Wilderspin & Lenka Vysoka, The 2019 Hague Judgments Convention through European lenses
Milanovic & Schmitt: Cyber Attacks and Cyber (Mis)information Operations during a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by reprehensible cyber operations directed against medical facilities and capabilities, as well as by a flood of misinformation. Our goal in this article is to map out the various obligations of states under general international law law and under human rights law with regard to malicious cyber and misinformation operations conducted by state and non-state actors during the pandemic. First, we consider cyber operations against health care facilities and capabilities, including public health activities operated by the government, and how such operations, when attributable to a state, can violate the sovereignty of other states, the prohibitions of intervention and the use of force, and the human rights of the affected individuals. Second, we perform a similar analysis with regard to state misinformation operations during the pandemic, especially those that directly or indirectly affect human life and health, whether such misinformation is targeting the state’s own population or those of third states. Finally, we turn to the positive obligations that states have to protect their populations from hostile cyber and misinformation operations, to the limits that human rights law imposes on efforts to combat misinformation, and to protective obligations towards third states and their populations.
We argue that international law can play a robust role in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. For the most part, the parameters of the relevant legal rules are reasonably clear. But significant areas of uncertainty remain. For instance, at least one state, wrongly in our view, rejects the existence of the general international law rule most likely to be breached by COVID-19-related cyber operations, sovereignty. Another major issue is the extraterritorial application of the human rights obligations to respect and protect the rights to life and health in the cyber context, which we examine in detail.
It is difficult to find anything positive about this horrific global pandemic. However, perhaps it can help draw attention to the criticality of moving forward the international cyber law discourse among states much more quickly than has been the case to date. Many states have been cautious about proffering their interpretation of the applicable law, and to some extent rightfully so, but caution has consequences and can leave us normatively ill-prepared for the next crisis. Some states have condemned the COVID-19-related cyber operations, although seldom on the basis of international law as distinct from political norms of responsible state behavior. Hopefully, they will add legal granularity to future statements. But all states, human rights courts, human rights monitoring bodies, the academy, the private sector and NGOs must take up the challenge presented by this tragic pandemic to move the law governing cyberspace in the right direction.
New Issue: Netherlands International Law Review
- HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention
- Ronald A. Brand, Jurisdiction and Judgments Recognition at the Hague Conference: Choices Made, Treaties Completed, and the Path Ahead
- Francisco Garcimartín, The Judgments Convention: Some Open Questions
- Cara North, The Exclusion of Privacy Matters from the Judgments Convention
- Geneviève Saumier, Submission as a Jurisdictional Basis and the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention
- Nadia de Araujo & Marcelo De Nardi, Consumer Protection Under the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention
- Niklaus Meier, Notification as a Ground for Refusal
- Junhyok Jang, The Public Policy Exception Under the New 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention
- Marcos Dotta Salgueiro, Article 14 of the Judgments Convention: The Essential Reaffirmation of the Non-discrimination Principle in a Globalized Twenty-First Century
- Paul R. Beaumont, Judgments Convention: Application to Governments
- João Ribeiro-Bidaoui, The International Obligation of the Uniform and Autonomous Interpretation of Private Law Conventions: Consequences for Domestic Courts and International Organisations
Thursday, May 28, 2020
New Issue: African Journal of International and Comparative Law
- Wollela Abehodie Yesegat & Richard Krever, Value Added Tax and Fiscal Federalism in Ethiopia
- Emmanuel Laryea, Dennis Ndonga & Bosire Nyamori, Kenya's Experience with Special Economic Zones: Legal and Policy Imperatives
- Eloamaka Carol Okonkwo, Assessing the Role of the Courts in Enhancing Access to Environmental Justice in Oil Pollution Matters in Nigeria
- E. Kofi Abotsi, Introspecting the Office of the Special Prosecutor's Act and Ghana's Constitutional Framework on Anti-Corruption
- Kehinde Anifalaje, Imperatives of Social Security Laws to Social Development in Nigeria
- Damian Etone, Nigeria's Engagement with the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review: Potential for Acculturation or Risk of Regression?
- Roman Girma Teshome, Provision of Remedies for Violation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Comparative Study of the United Nations, Inter-American and African Human Rights Systems
- Ntombizozuko Dyani-Mhango, Reflecting on South Africa's Attempt to Withdraw from the Rome Statute in Favour of Immunities for Sitting Heads of State: An Analysis of the International Crimes Bill 2017
Lustig: Veiled Power: International Law and the Private Corporation 1886-1981
Veiled Power conducts a thorough historical study of the relationship between international law and business corporations. It chronicles the emergence of the contemporary legal architecture for corporations in international law between 1886 and 1981. Doreen Lustig traces the relationship between two legal 'veils': the sovereign veil of the state and the corporate veil of the company. The interplay between these two veils constitutes the conceptual framework this book offers for the legal analysis of corporations in international law.
By weaving together five in-depth case studies - Firestone in Liberia, the Industrialist Trials at Nuremberg, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, Barcelona Traction and the emergence of the international investment law regime - a variety of contexts are covered, including international criminal law, human rights, natural resources, and the multinational corporation as a subject of regulatory concern. Together, these case studies offer a multifaceted account of the history of corporations in international law over time.
The book seeks to demonstrate the facilitative role of international law in shaping and limiting the scope of responsibility of the private business corporation from the late-nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century. Ultimately, Lustig suggests that, contrary to the prevailing belief that international law failed to adequately regulate private corporations, there is a history of close engagement between the two that allowed corporations to exert influence under a variety of legal regimes while obscuring their agency.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Murati UN Territorial Administration and Human Rights: The Mission in Kosovo
This book offers an original and insightful analysis of the human rights inadequacies that arise in the practice of UN territorial administration by analysing and assessing the practice of UNMIK. It provides arguments based on law and principles to support the thesis that a comprehensive legal framework governing the activities of the UN mission is a crucial prerequisite for its proper functioning. This is complemented by a discussion of several emerging issues surrounding the UN activity on the ground, namely, its legislative, judicial, and executive power.
The author offers an extensive and well-documented analysis of the UN’s capacity as a surrogate state administration to respond to the needs of the governed population and, above all, protect its fundamental rights. Based on her findings, Murati concludes that only a comprehensive mandate can serve the long term interests of the international community’s objective to efficiently promote, protect, and fulfil human rights in a war-torn society.
UN Territorial Administration and Human Rights provides a detailed critical legal analysis of one of the major UN administrations of territory after the Cold War, namely, the UN administration of Kosovo from 1999 to 2008. The analysis in this book will be beneficial to international law and international relations scholars and students, as well as policymakers and persons working for international organisations. The analysis and the lessons learned through this study shed light on the challenges entailed in governing territories and rebuilding state institutions while upholding the rule of law and ensuring respect for human rights.
Call for Papers: Imperial Artefacts: History, Law, and the Looting of Cultural Property
Conference: Mixed Arbitral Tribunals, 1919–1930: An Experiment in the International Adjudication of Private Rights
Monday, May 25, 2020
Call for Papers: Ethical Governance of Surveillance Technologies in Times of Crisis: Global Challenges and Divergent Perspectives
Lentner: Law, Language, and Power: English and the Production of Ignorance in International Law
In this article I examine the unintentional production of ignorance following from the hegemony of the English language in international law scholarship and its impact on legal outcomes. In doing so, I am influenced by critical discourse analysis (CDA), specifically following Fairclough and Van Dijk and their focus on the relationship between language and power – specifically their focus on how language contributes to the domination of some people over others. In developing this I start with arguing that the dominance of English in the expert discourse in international law means that priority is given to certain narratives (e.g., the canon of Western philosophy) and epistemologies (of ignorance) over others. This is because the use of English appears to be symptomatic of the dominance of Western (Euro-American) legalism, and the use of English may reinforce this dominance. Illustrating these points, I use the dissenting opinion of Judge Weeramantry in the Nuclear Weapons case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and international criminal law. I conclude with some reflections on law and language more generally and propose themes for further research and offer practical suggestions for a more pluralistic knowledge production in international law.
Richardson-Little: The Human Rights Dictatorship: Socialism, Global Solidarity and Revolution in East Germany
Richardson-Little exposes the forgotten history of human rights in the German Democratic Republic, placing the history of the Cold War, Eastern European dissidents and the revolutions of 1989 in a new light. By demonstrating how even a communist dictatorship could imagine itself to be a champion of human rights, this book challenges popular narratives on the fall of the Berlin Wall and illustrates how notions of human rights evolved in the Cold War as they were re-imagined in East Germany by both dissidents and state officials. Ultimately, the fight for human rights in East Germany was part of a global battle in the post-war era over competing conceptions of what human rights meant. Nonetheless, the collapse of dictatorship in East Germany did not end this conflict, as citizens had to choose for themselves what kind of human rights would follow in its wake.
New Issue: International Review of the Red Cross
- Ellen Policinski & Kvitoslava Krotiuk, Childhood in the crossfire: How to ensure a dignified present and future for children affected by war
- Interview with Mira Kusumarini: Executive Director of the Coalition of Civil Society Against Violent Extremism (C-SAVE)
- Testimonies of former child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Helen Berents, “This is my story”: Children's war memoirs and challenging protectionist discourses
- Rochelle L. Frounfelker, Nargis Islam, Joseph Falcone, Jordan Farrar, Chekufa Ra, Cara M. Antonaccio, Ngozi Enelamah, & Theresa S. Betancourt, Living through war: Mental health of children and youth in conflict-affected areas
- Kathryn Hampton, Born in the twilight zone: Birth registration in insurgent areas
- Diane Marie Amann, The Policy on Children of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor: Toward greater accountability for crimes against and affecting children
- Ahmed Al-Dawoody & Vanessa Murphy, International humanitarian law, Islamic law and the protection of children in armed conflict
- Dyan Mazurana, Anastasia Marshak, & Kinsey Spears, Child marriage in armed conflict
- Pascal Bongard & Ezequiel Heffes, Engaging armed non-State actors on the prohibition of recruiting and using children in hostilities: Some reflections from Geneva Call's experience
- Benyam Dawit Mezmur, Taking measures without taking measurements? An insider's reflections on monitoring the implementation of the African Children's Charter in a changing context of armed conflict
- The ICRC's engagement on children in armed conflict and other situations of violence: In conversation with Monique Nanchen, Global Adviser on Children, ICRC
- Bede Sheppard, Keeping schools safe from the battlefield: Why global legal and policy efforts to deter the military use of schools matter
- Julie Freccero, Audrey Taylor, Joanna Ortega, Zabihullah Buda, Paschal Kum Awah, Alexandra Blackwell, Ricardo Pla Cordero, & Eric Stover, Safer cash in conflict: Exploring protection risks and barriers in cash programming for internally displaced persons in Cameroon and Afghanistan
- James W. Houlihan, Lex Innocentium (697 AD): Adomnán of Iona – father of Western jus in bello
- Suzannah Linton, Deciphering the landscape of international humanitarian law in the Asia-Pacific
- Duncan McLean, Medical care in armed conflict: Perpetrator discourse in historical perspective
Joyner: Strategic Trade Controls
The establishment and maintenance of an effective strategic trade control (STC) system is an often overlooked and undervalued element in the broader context of international WMD nonproliferation law. However its importance at the practical level in the effort to regulate the spread and use of goods and technologies that can contribute to WMD programs around the world has always been significant. The implementation of effective national STC legal regimes has never been perfect or universal. But where implemented effectively, strategic trade controls materially contribute to international aims of keeping WMD sensitive goods and technologies out of the hands of dangerous actors. In this chapter I will first review the international legal basis for STCs, which is to be found in the three primary international treaties applying to nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons proliferation, as well as in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540. In doing so I will also briefly review the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group, and the Missile Technology Control Regime, which operate as fora for coordination of national technology control lists and trade control policies. I will then focus on the implementation of STC legal systems at the national level by identifying and discussing common elements of effective STC systems. Finally, I will review some common challenges to implementing national STC systems, and discuss current developments relative to national and international STC regulation.
Inaugural Issue: European Convention on Human Rights Law Review
- Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou & Vassilis P Tzevelekos, The Conscience of Europe that Landed in Strasbourg: A Circle of Life of the European Court of Human Rights
- Eva Brems, Key Challenges for the ECHR System: Protecting and Empowering Institutions, Human Rights Defenders and Minorities
- Angelika Nussberger, The European Court of Human Rights at Sixty – Challenges and Perspectives
- Ed Bates, Strasbourg’s Integrationist Role, or the Need for Self-restraint?
- Christos Rozakis, The European Convention on Human Rights as a Tool of European Integration
- Corina Heri, Loyalty, Subsidiarity, and Article 18 echr: How the ECtHR Deals with Mala Fide Limitations of Rights
- Daniel Rietiker, The European Court of Human Rights and FIFA: Current Issues and Potential Challenges
- Natasa Mavronicola, Bouyid v Belgium: The ‘Minimum Level of Severity’ and Human Dignity’s Role in Article 3 ECHR
Saksena: Jousting Over Jurisdiction: Sovereignty and International Law in Late Nineteenth-Century South Asia
The article examines the relationship between colonialism and international law by focusing on late nineteenth century debates surrounding the sovereignty of the “princely states” of colonial South Asia. The princely states were ruled by indigenous rulers and were not considered to be British territory, but remained subject to British “influence;” as a result, there were numerous controversies over their legal status. During the course of jurisdictional disputes, a variety of interested players - British politicians, colonial officials, international lawyers, rulers and advisors of princely states - engaged in debates over the idea of sovereignty to resolve questions of legal status, the extent of rights and powers, and to construct a political order that supported their interests and aspirations. I focus on legal texts written by British international lawyers and colonial officials as well as material relating to two jurisdictional disputes (one between the state of Travancore and the British Government and another between the state of Baroda and the British Government) to trace two versions of sovereignty that were articulated in late nineteenth century South Asia - unitary and divisible. In doing so, I argue that international law, and the doctrine of sovereignty in particular, became the shared language for participants to debate political problems and a key forum for the negotiation of political power.