The Crisis of International Law

This Article delves into the reasons for the current crisis in the traditional international law system, considering how the system developed through the centuries in order to respond to the needs and circumstances of past historical epochs, as well as how the system is no longer capable of meeting the unique developments and needs of life in the Third Millennium. The Article considers the fundamental problems of a state-based system of international law that—rather than focusing on the prime actor and focus of the law, the human person, and his inherent dignity—concentrates on and gives enormous power to the artificial construct of the nation-state, and its animating principles of sovereignty and over-dependence on territoriality. This inborn defect in the system (i.e., the emphasis on the nation-state) was imported wholesale into the United Nations system, ultimately rendering it incapable of meeting the basic security, social, and economic needs of a world that longs for a true global community of persons. The nation-state paradigm, as well as the United Nations system, requires essential and profound reform. New institutions with real global power must established to meet the demands of our globalized world, especially as regards defending human rights from the incessant assault from both state and non-state actors.

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