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Cover International Law

2. What is International Law For?  

Martti Koskenniemi

This chapter provides four responses to the question: what is international law for? First, international law seeks to advance the values, interests, and preferences that those in dominant positions seek to realize in the world. Second, it gives voice to those who have been excluded from powerful positions and are regularly treated as the objects of other peoples’ policies; it provides a platform on which claims about violence, injustice, and social deprivation may be made even against the dominant elements. Third, the objective of international law is always also international law itself. Fourth, international law exists as a promise of justice.