Foundational Doctrines and Techniques of International Legal Argumentation
With an emphasis on subjects and actors, this chapter seeks to shed some light on the choices made by scholars in modelling and cognizing international lawmaking processes. After a brief outline of the mainstream descriptive frameworks used to cognize and model normmaking processes in international law, this chapter elaborates on the driving forces at work behind each of them. In doing so, this chapter draws attention to the politics of empiricism and cognition with a view to offering some critical reflection on how international legal scholars and practitioners have been making sense of international lawmaking.
In the past decades of international legal thought, the defining role of bindingness has increasingly been approached with scepticism. It is less and less construed as the exclusive genetic code that provides the instructions for the identification and autonomous development of international legal discourses as international lawyers have sought to emancipate themselves from their own genetic heritage. Since the second half of the twentieth century, many international lawyers have come to feel that international legal discourses ought no longer to be structured and developed around the dichotomy between the ‘legally binding’ and the ‘legally nonbinding’. Their emancipatory moves have arguably brought about refreshing dynamism and excitement in international legal thought. And yet, as this chapter argues, bindingness has proved resilient. After recalling the modern understandings and ontological functions of bindingness in international legal discourses, a few observations are formulated on the emancipatory experiments found in recent international legal thought. The chapter ends with some remarks on the resilience of the idea of bindingness as a result of the anxiety and suspicion that has accompanied attempts to alter the genetic code of the discipline.
This article recalls the various manifestations of the anthropomorphic doctrine of the fundamental rights of states with a view to critically examining the various functions of anthropomorphic thinking in international law. This allows the article to provide some critical insights on the remnants of the doctrine of fundamental rights of states and the role played by those anthropomorphic residues in contemporary international law. This article is built on a diachronic examination of the functional changes which the doctrine of fundamental rights of states underwent since its origin. This article, after some introductory considerations on the relations between rights and anthropomorphic thinking, examines how anthropomorphic thinking materialised in the form of a doctrine of fundamental rights of states and came to thrive in international legal thought. The article then turns to the manifestation of the doctrine of fundamental rights of states in the inter-American and United Nations contexts with a view to shedding light on the functions that such positive rules pertaining to the fundamental rights of states were meant to play in the international legal order. The article subsequently discusses the demise of the classical doctrine of fundamental rights of states and the foundering of the codification process in order to examine the role that the remains thereof are meant to play in contemporary international law. It ends with a few concluding remarks on the ubiquity of anthropomorphic thinking about international law. Throughout this examination of the functions of the anthropomorphic doctrine of fundamental rights of states, this article espouses the view that, in contemporary legal argumentation, the notion of fundamental rights of state does not constitute any autonomous construction to which specific legal effects are ascribed but rather a textual package of protest or resistance.
Hannah Buxbaum and Jean d’Aspremont
This is yet another case where the US Supreme Court was called upon to determine the reach of a federal statute. It held, on the one hand, that ‘the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act’ (RICO) could be applied to conduct that occurs outside the United States. According to the Court, Congress intended certain provisions of RICO, such as §§1962 (b) and (c), to apply extraterritorially. This was significant, as it involved the rebuttal of the presumption against extraterritoriality in respect of those provisions. On the other hand, it also ruled that §1964(c), which provides for a private action, must prove an injury within the United States. It was, therefore, a bitter-sweet victory for the claimant, the European Community, who had brought a claim under §1964(c). As it alleged only foreign injuries, it failed to meet the test under this provision. The European Community and 26 of its Member States brought an action against RJR Nabisco and its related entities (‘Nabisco’), alleging that Nabisco participated in a global money laundering scheme in association with various organised crime groups, which violated RICO. This Act prohibits certain activities of organised crime groups, including the investing income derived from racketeering activities in an enterprise involved in interstate and foreign commerce; acquiring or maintaining an interest in an enterprise, and conducting affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity; and conspiring to violate any of these prohibitions.