Journal Article

The Enactment of Irony: Reflections on the Origins of the Martens Clause

Rotem Giladi

in European Journal of International Law

Published on behalf of The EJIL

Volume 25, issue 3, pages 847-869
Published in print August 2014 | ISSN: 0938-5428
Published online October 2014 | e-ISSN: 1464-3596 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ejil/chu058
The Enactment of Irony: Reflections on the Origins of the Martens Clause

Show Summary Details

Preview

The Martens clause has made F. F. Martens one of the ‘household names of our profession’. Since its first appearance in the preamble to the 1899 Hague Convention (II) on the Laws and Customs of War on Land, the clause has incessantly been puzzled over, historicized, celebrated, and re-enacted. Much of the extant discourse, however, is geared towards normative construction of the clause. This article, by contrast, seeks to depart from normative construction of the clause and draw attention, instead, to the discourse it has generated. To facilitate discursive exploration and demonstrate its pertinence, I offer a critical reading of the clause’s origins as the enactment of an irony. Thus, the making of the clause saw words used to express something in the opposite of their literal meaning. In time, the clause itself came to represent that which is entirely the opposite of what it was first used for. These and other ironies underpin how the clause itself, its making, and Martens’ role therein are interpreted, historicized, and celebrated today. They also pave the way for critical explorations of the clause’s epistemic significance.

Journal Article.  12888 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or login to access all content.