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14. The Character and Forms of International Responsibility  

James Crawford and Simon Olleson

This chapter begins with an overview of the different forms of responsibility/liability in international law, and then focuses on the general character of State responsibility. The law of State responsibility deals with three general questions: (1) has there been a breach by a State of an international obligation; (2) what are the consequences of the breach in terms of cessation and reparation; and (3) who may seek reparation or otherwise respond to the breach as such, and in what ways? As to the first question, the chapter discusses the constituent elements of attribution and breach, as well as the possible justifications or excuses that may preclude responsibility. The second question concerns the various secondary obligations that arise upon the commission of an internationally wrongful act by a State, and in particular the forms of reparation. The third question concerns issues of invocation of responsibility, including the taking of countermeasures.

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10. State responsibility  

This chapter illustrates the concept of responsibility in international law. Within international law, the term ‘responsibility’ has long been understood to denote how fault or blame is attributable to a legal actor for the breach of an international legal obligation. State responsibility remains the archetypal and thus most developed form of international responsibility. Nevertheless, other international actors apart from States may also bear rights and obligations under international law. The result of such capacity is the potential to bear responsibility for a breach of an international legal obligation. International law also provides for what are termed ‘circumstances precluding wrongfulness’, through which an act which would normally be internationally wrongful is not deemed as such. In such situations, international responsibility is not engaged. These are akin to defences or excuses in municipal legal orders.

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12. International State Responsibility for Wrongful Acts  

Paola Gaeta, Jorge E. Viñuales, and Salvatore Zappalà

The chapter begins by discussing the history of the codification of the law of State responsibility. It then considers the current regulation of State responsibility, by distinguishing the ‘ordinary’ legal regime and the ‘aggravated’ State responsibility, and goes on to explore the main differences between the two regimes. It focuses on the elements of the internationally wrongful act, particularly on the attribution of conduct to a State and the relevance of fault and damage. In addition, it examines the circumstances which preclude wrongfulness and the consequences of the internationally wrongful act (with particular reference to the obligation to provide reparation).

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8. International Organizations  

Dapo Akande

This chapter examines the legal framework governing international organizations. It begins with an examination of the history, role, and nature of international organizations. It is argued that although the constituent instruments and practices of each organization differ, there are common legal principles which apply to international organizations. The chapter focuses on the identification and exploration of those common legal principles. There is an examination of the manner in which international organizations acquire legal personality in international and domestic law and the consequences of that legal personality. There is also discussion of the manner in which treaties establishing international organizations are interpreted and how this differs from ordinary treaty interpretation. The legal and decision-making competences of international organizations are considered as are the responsibility of international organizations and their privileges and immunities. Finally, the chapter examines the structure and powers of what is the leading international organization—the United Nations (UN).

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9. The Individual and the International Legal System  

Robert McCorquodale

This chapter examines the role of the individual in the international legal system. It considers the direct rights and responsibilities of individuals under the international legal system; their capacity to bring international claims; and their ability to participate in the creation, development, and enforcement of international law. Particular examples from a wide range of areas of international law, including international human rights law, international criminal law, and international economic law, are used to illustrate the conceptual and practical participation of individuals in the international legal system. It is argued that individuals are participants in that system, and are not solely objects that are subject to States’ consent, though their degree of participation varies depending on the changing nature of the international legal system.

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25. The conditions for international responsibility  

This chapter discusses the basis and character of state responsibility, attribution to the state, breach of an international obligation, and circumstances precluding wrongfulness. This chapter focuses on the articulation of the law of responsibility through the ILC’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts.

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Martin Dixon, Robert McCorquodale, and Sarah Williams

Cases and Materials on International Law, a topical companion for study placing international law directly in the context of contemporary debate, offers broad coverage of international law, and is suitable for use alongside a range of course structures and teaching styles. The book provides readers with a comprehensive selection of case law extracts for their studies. Extracts have been chosen from a wide range of historical and contemporary cases to illustrate the reasoning processes of the courts and to show how legal principles are developed. The book contains the essential cases and materials needed in order to understand and analyse the international legal order, providing notes on selected extracts to explain the complexities of the law. The sixth edition provides expanded coverage of topical areas such as: the use of force in Iraq and Syria and the threat of terrorism; international criminal law and the International Criminal Court; and developments in human rights and international environmental law. The new edition considers the perspectives of non-western and feminist scholars. It also updates core areas of international law, including sovereignty over territory and judicial sovereignty, the law of the sea, state responsibility, international legal personality and peaceful settlement.

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16. The Responsibility to Protect  

Spencer Zifcak

This chapter discusses the responsibility to protect, which has become the primary conceptual framework within which to consider international intervention to prevent crimes against humanity; it provides the background to the new doctrine’s appearance with a survey of the existing law and practice with respect to humanitarian intervention. It traces the doctrine’s intellectual and political development both before and after the adoption of the World Summit resolutions that embodied it. Debate about the doctrine has been characterized by significant differences of opinion and interpretation between nations of the North and the South. In that context, the chapter concludes with a detailed consideration of the contemporary standing of the doctrine in international law.

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27. Multilateral public order and issues of responsibility  

International law has remained imprecise with respect to the scope and consequences of serious, systemic illegality, but there have been developments that have made collective action under law possible. The chapter reviews the objective consequences of illegal acts, covering peremptory norms (ius cogens), the obligation not to recognize a situation as lawful, and the obligation of putting an end to an unlawful situation.

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26. Consequences of an internationally wrongful act  

In the event of an internationally wrongful act by a state or other subject of international law, other states or subjects may be entitled to respond. This may be done by invoking the responsibility of the wrongdoer, seeking cessation and/or reparation, or (if no other remedy is available) possibly by taking countermeasures. This chapter discusses international law governing cessation, reparation, invocation.

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11. Use of force  

This chapter examines under what circumstances States may use armed force under customary international law and Arts 2(4) and 51 UN Charter. After noting that the use of armed force is generally prohibited and only limited to self-defence, and then only if the target State is under an armed attack, we show that several States have expanded the notion of armed attack. Besides self-defence, the United Nations Security Council may authorize the use of armed force through a process of collective security. Several examples of collective security are offered, as well as the ICJ’s position on what constitutes an armed attack. In recent years, the range of actors capable of undertaking an armed attack has included terrorists. Moreover, the development of the doctrine of the responsibility to protect is a significant achievement.

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13. International criminal law  

This chapter examines the fundamental concepts and notions of international criminal law, which is linked to other key areas of international law, particularly human rights, international humanitarian law, immunities, and jurisdiction. In particular, there is a focus on the concept of individual criminal responsibility under international law. The four core crimes are considered; namely, genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and the crime of aggression. Moreover, attention is paid to two unique forms of participation in international crimes, namely, command responsibility and joint criminal enterprise. Finally, the chapter addresses enforcement of international criminal law, particularly through international criminal tribunals, with an emphasis on the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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9. State responsibility  

The law of international responsibility sets out the legal consequences arising from a breach by a State of its international obligations. It should be distinguished from ‘primary rules’ of international law, which lay down international obligations. International responsibility arises when a certain act or omission is wrongful, ie it is attributed to a State and it amounts to a violation of its ‘primary’ obligations. The international responsibility may be excused under certain strict circumstances, such as consent or necessity. Otherwise, the responsible State should cease the wrongful conduct and, in case of damage, it should provide reparation to the injured State, in the form of restitution, compensation, and satisfaction.

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1. The Main Legal Features of the International Community  

Paola Gaeta, Jorge E. Viñuales, and Salvatore Zappalà

This chapter introduces the main features of the international legal system, including the nature of international legal subjects, the lack of a central authority (and the resulting decentralization of legal ‘functions’), collective responsibility, the need for most international rules to be translated into national legislation, the range of States’ freedom of action, the overriding role of effectiveness, traditional and individualistic trends and emerging community obligations and rights, and the coexistence of the old and new patterns. These features provide a general preview of the more detailed and technical discussion of international legal rules and institutions undertaken in subsequent chapters.

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20. The Protection of the Environment  

Paola Gaeta, Jorge E. Viñuales, and Salvatore Zappalà

This chapter focuses on international environmental law. First, it covers certain old precedents and then examines the emergence and consolidation of environmental principles between 1972 and 2020, with particular attention to the emergence of customary international law norms (prevention, co-operation, environmental impact assessment) in this area. Secondly, it surveys the substance of international environmental law, focusing on climate change as a prominent illustration of law-making in this field, and examining compliance procedures, as developed since the end of the 1980s. Thirdly, it discusses the operation of State responsibility and civil liability mechanisms for environmental harm.

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3. The Principles of the International Legal System  

Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. The closest thing to a manifesto for international law is the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1970 as resolution 2625 (XXV). This chapter first examines the seven basic principles of the resolution: the prohibition on the threat or use of force; the duty to settle disputes peacefully; the duty of non-intervention; the duty to co-operate; (v) the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples; the principle of sovereign equality of States; and (vii) the principle of good faith. The discussions then turn to the nature of the Declaration; provisions on State responsibility; the implementation of international responsibility; personality and the scope of application of international law; international law in domestic courts; international law in international tribunals; the diplomatic protection of nationals; and international law outside tribunals.

Book

Cover Brownlie's Principles of Public International Law
Serving as a single-volume introduction to the field as a whole, Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law seeks to present international law as a system that is based on, and helps structure, relations among states and other entities at the international level. It aims to identify the constituent elements of that system in a clear way. This ninth edition has been completely updated to take account of the many developments in international law that have occurred since the 8th edition (2012).

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7. State responsibility  

This chapter discusses the international law of responsibility as primarily reflected in the 2001 International Law Commission’s Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts. It opens in Section 7.2 with an overview of some of the core principles and elements of state responsibility for wrongful acts. Section 7.3 discusses the issue of state attribution before Section 7.4 examines joint and collective responsibility. Section 7.5 discusses the various circumstances that may preclude the wrongfulness of conduct otherwise in violation of a (primary) legal obligation. Section 7.6 looks into the consequences of state responsibility while Section 7.7 discusses who may be entitled to invoke state responsibility. Section 7.8 examines the rules on diplomatic protection and Section 7.9 provides a brief overview of the responsibility of international organizations.

Chapter

Cover International Law

7. State responsibility  

This chapter discusses the international law of responsibility as primarily reflected in the 2001 International Law Commission’s Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts. It opens in Section 7.2 with an overview of some of the core principles and elements of state responsibility for wrongful acts. Section 7.3 discusses the issue of state attribution before Section 7.4 examines joint and collective responsibility. Section 7.5 discusses the various circumstances that may preclude the wrongfulness of conduct otherwise in violation of a (primary) legal obligation. Section 7.6 looks into the consequences of state responsibility while Section 7.7 discusses who may be entitled to invoke state responsibility. Section 7.8 examines the rules on diplomatic protection and Section 7.9 provides a brief overview of the responsibility of international organizations.

Chapter

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14. The use of force and collective security  

This chapter looks at the use of force and collective security. Today, the United Nations Charter embodies the indispensable principles of international law on the use of force. These include the prohibition on the unilateral use of force found in Article 2(4), and the recognition of the inherent right of all States to use force in self-defence found in Article 51. Finally, under Chapter VII, a collective security system centred upon the Security Council was established for the maintenance of international peace and security. A key debate over the scope of Article 2(4) is whether a new exception has been recognized which would allow the use of force motivated by humanitarian considerations. It is argued that these ‘humanitarian interventions’ would allow a State to use force to protect people in another State from gross and systematic human rights violations when the target State is unwilling or unable to act.