A History of State Responsibility : The Struggle for International Standards (1870-1960)

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-1886-8
Title: A History of State Responsibility : The Struggle for International Standards (1870-1960)
Author: Nissel, Tzvika
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law, International Law
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: State responsibility is the doctrine that regulates international enforcement actions. Among international lawyers, there is a shared sense of mystery about State responsibility. While the doctrine clearly guarantees the enforceability of international law, its practice consistently languishes from a lack of international policemen. History is one lens through which to view this paradox. In this study, I describe the three most influential efforts to establish a legal standard for international enforcement actions: U.S. diplomatic practice, German legal theory and U.N. codification. In the late nineteenth century, lawyers in the U.S. State Department turned to international tribunals to redress alien injuries. These lawyers relied on international law to justify their legal intervention. Latin Americans, who were frequently the respondents of such claims, disputed the relevance of international law to its treatment of aliens; to them, alien protection was essentially a domestic affair. However, by the twentieth century, a U.S. practice of arbitration had established that States could be held responsible for breaching their international duties to protect aliens. The resulting awards were professional but haphazard. States were ordered to pay reparations for alien injuries, but why and how much they had to pay remained largely unarticulated. The first systematic treatment of State responsibility surfaced in late-nineteenth century Germany. These early writings were extrapolations from domestic principles of law rather than inductions of international awards. German lawyers viewed the U.S. practice of international arbitration as ad hoc settlements of private disputes rather than as the adjudication of public disputes. Thus, the German approach to State responsibility was not restricted to the field of alien protection in particular; it provide for the preconditions of international liability in general. When the U.N. undertook to codify the field, it chose to base its efforts on German theory rather than on the U.S. practice. This strategy divided State responsibility into general and specific parts. Generally, enforcement actions were subject to the U.N. doctrine. Exceptionally, a specific practice (e.g., alien protection) was permitted to continue as lex specialis. Contrary to many commentators, I see no crisis in this result. No singular doctrine has ever encapsulated the practice of international enforcement. Since the 1870s, international lawyers have employed State responsibility as a pliable concept to suit particular ends. By providing these perspectives, I hope to illustrate how three groups of lawyers practitioners, theorists and doctrinalists have been able to cope with the enduring mystery of State responsibility.State responsibility is the doctrine that regulates international enforcement actions. Among international lawyers, there is a shared sense of mystery about State responsibility. While the doctrine clearly guarantees the enforceability of international law, its practice consistently languishes from a lack of international policemen. History is one lens through which to view this paradox. In this study, I describe the three most influential efforts to establish a legal standard for international enforcement actions: U.S. diplomatic practice, German legal theory and U.N. codification. In the late nineteenth century, lawyers in the U.S. State Department turned to international tribunals to redress alien injuries. These lawyers relied on international law to justify their legal intervention. Latin Americans, who were frequently the respondents of such claims, disputed the relevance of international law to its treatment of aliens; to them, alien protection was essentially a domestic affair. However, by the twentieth century, a U.S. practice of arbitration had established that States could be held responsible for breaching their international duties to protect aliens. The resulting awards were professional but haphazard. States were ordered to pay reparations for alien injuries, but why and how much they had to pay remained largely unarticulated. The first systematic treatment of State responsibility surfaced in late-nineteenth century Germany. These early writings were extrapolations from domestic principles of law rather than inductions of international awards. German lawyers viewed the U.S. practice of international arbitration as ad hoc settlements of private disputes rather than as the adjudication of public disputes. Thus, the German approach to State responsibility was not restricted to the field of alien protection in particular; it provide for the preconditions of international liability in general. When the U.N. undertook to codify the field, it chose to base its efforts on German theory rather than on the U.S. practice. This strategy divided State responsibility into general and specific parts. Generally, enforcement actions were subject to the U.N. doctrine. Exceptionally, a specific practice (e.g., alien protection) was permitted to continue as lex specialis. Contrary to many commentators, I see no crisis in this result. No singular doctrine has ever encapsulated the practice of international enforcement. Since the 1870s, international lawyers have employed State responsibility as a pliable concept to suit particular ends. By providing these perspectives, I hope to illustrate how three groups of lawyers practitioners, theorists and doctrinalists have been able to cope with the enduring mystery of State responsibility.
URI: URN:ISBN:978-951-51-1886-8
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/160274
Date: 2016-05-04
Subject: International Law
Rights: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.


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