Research Handbook on the Law of International Organizations

Research Handbook on the Law of International Organizations

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Jan Klabbers and Åsa Wallendahl

This pioneering Research Handbook with contributions from renowned experts, provides an overview of the general doctrines making up the law of international organizations.

Chapter 13: Dissolution and Succession: The Transmigration of the Soul of International Organizations

Ramses A. Wessel

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, law - academic, asian law, european law, human rights, intellectual property law, international economic law, trade law, public international law, politics and public policy, human rights, international politics, international relations


Ramses A. Wessel SOUL SEARCHING Perhaps the ultimate question to judge the autonomous existence of international organizations is whether member states can simply dissolve an international organization – or replace it by another one – once its services are no longer considered necessary. From the perspective of states creating international organizations to perform certain functions they cannot or do not wish to perform themselves, one would argue that organizations are primarily tools in the hands of their member states; and, once no longer needed or appropriate, tools obviously lose their relevance. In fact, it is this approach that would seem to have been dominant during most of the life and times of international organizations (Klabbers, Chapter 1 of this book, and 2005a: 151–181). After all, since the attribution of powers principle remains at the heart of our understanding of international organizations, the latter must wait for whatever table scraps national governments decide to leave them, if they do at all. It would be too easy to contend that the alternative, constitutional, perspective would focus more on – what Germans would refer to as – the ‘Eigendynamik’ of international organizations and, hence, would draw our attention to their autonomy (Collins and White, 2011). In fact, as shown in the first chapter of this book, constitutionalism, albeit from a normative rather than a pragmatic angle, also purports to control the activities of international organizations. One could argue that, while functionalism keeps international organizations in the hands of their member states, constitutionalism places them under the...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information