Peoples and Nations

Jörg Fisch

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599752
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Peoples and Nations

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International law is the law between States and thus between political entities. States have never been the only subjects of international law, but they have always been the essential ones. This chapter suggests that the history of international law concerning its subjects cannot be written as a story of continuous progress. The principle of self-determination of all peoples, which later became even the right to self-determination of all peoples, has been able to survive against all odds. At least twice, it survived in a very unpromising environment: when the Nazis tried to destroy it and after decolonization had, for all practical purposes, been achieved. The discussion notes that international law will remain to a great extent State law. It would be an illusion to imagine that international law might bring about the actual division of the world to be replaced by self-determination instead of power.

Keywords: international law; State law; State power; people’s will; decolonization

Article.  10247 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

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