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Robert Kolb

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Robert Kolb

This highly readable book examines the law of State responsibility, presenting it as a fundamental aspect of public international law. Covering the key aspects of the topic, it combines a clear overview with use of specific case studies in order to provide a deeper understanding.
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Robert Kolb

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Robert Kolb

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Robert Kolb

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Robert Kolb

This content is available to you

Robert Kolb

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Robert Kolb

Chapter 1 introduces the problem of international law as law describing it as one the very existence of which has been denied over the years. Some of those who have denied the existence of international law include eminent philosophers and consummate jurists, some of whom have played major parts in the history of our times. The scale and importance of their negative attitudes international law explains why manuals, treatises and general theoretical studies of the subject have to devote a certain number of pages to proving that their subject is indeed ‘legal’ in nature. The varying doctrines denying the legal character of international law agree among themselves neither as to their starting point nor as to the arguments upon which they rely. The chapter goes on to outline the varying doctrines that have emerged over the years and includes: doctrines reducing international law to the expression of simple power-relationships; doctrines reducing international law to international morality or to international comity; and doctrines considering the law of nations to be a sui generis collection of rules. Proponents of each of these doctrines are examined in detail and there are critiques of each. Finally the chapter includes a section of critical considerations.

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Robert Kolb

This chapter is concerned with the doctrines that conceive the law of nations as a category of imperfect law. For these doctrines, organised and centralised law such as exists within modern States is not the indispensable hallmark of true law. It is, however, considered to be the most developed form of law, one towards which every legal order must tend. For these thinkers, then, non-State legal orders, i.e., decentralised legal orders, are, necessarily, primitive forms of legal order. The anarchic distribution of power, the power to interpret rules for oneself, and the existence of private justice, cannot in the long run satisfy the need for justice and order felt by a developing social organism. Consequently all law-of-co-ordination is law ‘in the making’. This way of seeing things has been common to numerous philosophers and legal theoreticians wedded firmly to sanctions as a constitutive element of legal rules, but who could not bring themselves to deny the legally binding character of international law. By accentuating the weaknesses rather than the alleged non-existence of international sanctions, these authors allowed for the possibility of an intermediate explanation. The weaknesses of international law were thus immersed and sublimated in an evolutionist theory which made it possible for international law to grow by degrees towards the requisite degree of juridicity, as opposed to thinking of juridicity as the exclusive privilege of State law, and unilaterally denying that it features in other types of law. The chapter then details seven of these separate doctrines and concludes with a critique of the doctrines discussed.