Chapter

International Law in a Changing International System<sup>*</sup>

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

in Themes and Theories

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198262350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682322 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262350.003.0059
International Law in a Changing International System*

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International law is inexorably intertwined with the international system in which it operates. The great systemic change that occurred between the end of World War II and the end of the Cold War was the emergence on to the international scene, in the 1950s, of large numbers of newly independent states from the developing world. The voting structure within the United Nations General Assembly (one state, one vote) gave them — often with the support of the old Eastern European States — a numerical majority. Human rights — freedom of religion, freedom from torture, the right to a fair trial, and others — have received a new impetus from the process of globalisation. It is impossible, speaking in the autumn of 1998, to leave the subject of globalisation and international law without saying something about financial markets. The second characterising feature of the contemporary international system is its unipolar power structure. To the problem of intervention in civil wars has been added the question of what to do about the much more recent phenomenon of ‘failed states’.

Keywords: Cold War; international law; international system; human rights; independent states; United Nations; globalisation; civil wars; failed states; financial markets

Chapter.  7830 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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