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Strategically Created Treaty Conflicts and the Politics of International Law

Part of Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law

James Crawford
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  • Date Published: December 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107043305


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About the Authors
  • Treaty conflicts are not merely the contingent or inadvertent by-products of the increasing juridification of international relations. In several instances, states have deliberately created treaty conflicts in order to catalyse changes in multilateral regimes. Surabhi Ranganathan uses such conflicts as context to explore the role of international law, in legal thought and practice. Her examinations of the International Law Commission's work on treaties and of various scholars' proposals on institutional action, offer a fresh view of 'mainstream' legal thought. They locate, in a variety of writings, a common faith in international legal discourse, built on liberal and constructivist assumptions. Ranganathan's three rich studies of treaty conflict, relating to the areas of seabed mining, the International Criminal Court, and nuclear governance, furnish a textured account of the specific forms and practices that constitute such a legal discourse and permit a grounded understanding of the interactions that shape international law.

    • Gives a fresh perspective on the politics and projects that have guided mainstream international legal thought
    • Provides detailed empirical studies of disputes relating to deep seabed mining, the International Criminal Court and nuclear governance
    • Offers a thorough explanation of the forms and practices through which states, institutions and individuals foster stability, evolution and change
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The best doctrinal work I have read this year … a technically highly accomplished work of legal scholarship, showing great mastery not only of the law of treaties but also of international criminal law, the law of the sea and disarmament law. … Ranganathan demonstrates that the political space left open by the indeterminacy of the Vienna Convention's rules on treaty conflict can be used by states for strategic purposes, in order to change or adapt existing regimes. One of its more pleasant qualities is that it takes the critical revolution in international law seriously, while showing that it is possible to do highly insightful doctrinal work that is aware of international law being highly political and politicized.' Jan Klabbers, European Journal of International Law

    'Strategically Created Treaty Conflicts and the Politics of International Law is a welcome addition to the study of treaty conflicts and to the study of the relationship between international law and international relations. The three case studies show how ambitious multilateral regimes bend in the face of political realities. At the same time, they reveal how multilateral agreements become part of the geopolitical landscape that shapes the actions and legal norms of even the most powerful of nations. They further show how the craft of international law often involves not only 'speaking law to power' but also serving as a bridge to resolve conflicting positions. By inviting us to think of treaty conflict not only in terms of direct conflicts between mutually exclusive treaty obligations but also in terms of overall conflict in effect, Ranganathan provides an illuminating account of treaty conflict and the dance between law and power in practice.' Sabrina Safrin, European Journal of International Law

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107043305
    • length: 484 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 27 mm
    • weight: 0.81kg
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Foreword James Crawford
    Part I. Introduction:
    1. Strategically created treaty conflicts
    Part II. International Law Thought:
    2. Writing the 'principle of political decision' into the law of treaties
    3. The idea of effective implementation of treaties
    Part III. Treaty Conflicts in Practice:
    4. Notions of ocean: the dispute over deep seabed mining
    5. Courting the United States? The International Criminal Court and Article 98 Agreements
    6. Fissions in the nuclear order: the India-US nuclear deal and the nuclear governance regime
    Part IV. Conclusion:
    7. The politics of international law

  • Author

    Surabhi Ranganathan, University of Cambridge
    Surabhi Ranganathan is a University Lecturer in International Law and Fellow of King's College, Cambridge.


    James Crawford

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