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Understanding International Law

Conway W. Henderson

ISBN: 978-1-444-32593-5 June 2011 Wiley-Blackwell 488 Pages


Understanding International Law presents a comprehensive, accessible introduction to the various aspects of international law while addressing its interrelationship with world politics.
  • Presents well-organized, balanced coverage of all aspects of international law
  • Features an accompanying website with direct access to court cases and study and discussion questions.  Visit the site at:
  • Includes discussion of the efficacy of international law, a topic unique among international law texts
  • Offers discussion of other topics that most texts do not address, such as complete chapters on making the world safer, human rights, the environment, and the world economy

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List of Boxes xi

Preface xiii

List of Abbreviations xiv

Part I Making the World More Lawful 1

1 The Rise of International Law 3

The Nature of International Law 4

The Roles of International Law 6

The Early Beginnings of International Law 9

Dueling Philosophies 13

Contending Modern Approaches 16

Operating Conditions: What Helps and What Hinders? 20

Chapter Summary 22

2 A World of Actors: A Question of Legal Standing 27

Actors 28

The State 28

International Government Organizations 33

Non-government Organizations 36

Multinational Corporations 39

Individuals 42

Insurgents 44

Ethnic Groups 46

Terrorists 49

Mercenaries and Private Military Companies 50

Domestic Actors 51

Chapter Summary 52

3 The Sources of International Law: Creating Law without Government 57

Customary Law 58

Treaty Law 65

The Role of Principles 72

Judges and Publicists 75

Other Sources 77

The Scope of International Law 78

Chapter Summary 79

4 The Efficacy of International Law 85

Legislating International Law 86

Enforcing International Law 90

Adjudicating International Law 94

The Incorporation of International Law 106

Can There Be a Future World Government? 109

Chapter Summary 110

5 Jurisdiction: Domain over Places and Persons 115

Territorial Jurisdiction 116

Law of the Sea 117

Airspace 124

Outer Space 126

Satellites 128

The Polar Regions 130

Nationality 132

Dual Nationality 135

Alien Status 137

Sovereign Immunity and Act of State 140

Extraterritoriality 141

Extradition 143

Chapter Summary 145

Part II Making the World Safer 149

6 Diplomacy in Pursuit of Peace 151

A Brief History of Diplomacy 152

The Rules of Diplomacy for States 155

Two Special Issues concerning Embassies 158

Rules for the Consular Relations of States 160

The Peaceful Settlement of Disputes 163

The Operating Conditions of Diplomacy 166

The Rules of Diplomacy for IGOs 168

The Special Case of the UN 171

Chapter Summary 174

7 Arms Limitations for a Less Violent World 179

A Brief History of Arms Limitations 180

Objectives of Arms Limitations 184

Obstacles to Arms Limitations 185

The Nuclear Regime 187

The Biological Weapons Regime 196

The Chemical Weapons Regime 198

The Missile Control Regime 199

The Conventional Weapons Regime 201

Chapter Summary 206

8 Law to Constrain Force 211

A Brief History of the Laws Governing Force 212

Evolution to UN Law 218

Aggression 220

Self-defense 223

Self-defense in an Age of Terrorism 225

Intervention 229

Peacekeeping 231

Today’s Salient Issues concerning the Laws of War 233

Chapter Summary 241

9 Core International Crimes: Atrocities That Shock the Conscience of Humankind 247

A Brief History of Core International Crimes 248

Crimes Against Peace 251

Crimes against Humanity 252

Genocide 254

The Most Notorious Episodes of Genocide 257

Special Dimensions of Genocide 261

War Crimes 263

The Contributions of International Tribunals 276

Chapter Summary 280

Part III Making the World Better 285

10 Human Rights: Freedom and Protection for Humankind 287

A Brief History of the Human Rights Movement 288

Civil and Political Rights 292

Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights 296

Group Rights 300

A Human Rights Frontier? 305

Human Rights Regimes 307

The Role of Non-state Actors 311

Chapter Summary 313

11 The Global Environment in Jeopardy 319

A Brief History of Environmental Developments 320

Atmosphere 324

Water 331

Soil 335

Forests 338

Wildlife 340

The Environment and Human Rights 344

Environmental Governance 346

Chapter Summary 349

12 Rules for Sharing the World’s Wealth 355

A Brief History of Economic Relations 356

Governance from the North 359

Standardizing the Global Economy 363

Intellectual Property Rights 364

Commercial Arbitration 366

Globalism versus Regionalism 368

Governance of the South 370

Four Economic Flows in the North–South Relationship 374

Counter-productive Issues for the Global Economy: Organized Crime, Corruption, and the Pursuit of Non-economic Goals 380

Chapter Summary 385

Part IV Making the Future 391

13 The Problems and Prospects of International Law 392

Glossary of Terms 396

Bibliography 406

Index 431

"Henderson seeks to provide a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the field of international law. Addressing its interrelationship with world politics, the text also features chapters on topics such as making the world safer, human rights, the environment and the world economy." (Times Higher Education, November 2010)

  • Presents a well-organized textbook with balanced coverage of all aspects of international law
  • Features an accompanying website with direct access to court cases and study and discussion questions
  • Includes discussion of the efficacy of international law, a topic unique among international law texts
  • Topics covered include the philosophical origins of international law; diplomacy and arms limitations; international crimes and atrocities; human rights; environmental considerations; and reflections on the future of international law
  • Addresses international law’s relationship and interdependency with world politics