Recently I published an edited volume on the protection of community interests under international law. I am very grateful to the contributors for the excellent chapters and to our research assistant, Eduardo Sanchez Madrigal, for the help with the various editorial tasks.
“Protecting Community Interests through International Law” analyzes the function and role of international law in a framework of increased global governance by focusing on how “community interests” are articulated and protected in various areas, including the global commons, and human rights and security related issues. The chapters analyze the concept of ‘community interests’ and the adequacy and effectiveness of the institutional framework and mechanisms established under international law to protect and safeguard them.
The volume is divided into four parts and begins with a preface by Judge Bruno Simma, who has pioneered work in this area. The first part of the book addresses some general issues, such as defining community interests, examining various forms of governance at the juncture of public and private international law, and whether international law and international courts are effective in providing so-called ‘public goods’.
Part II shifts the focus onto global commons and concerns, such as the accommodation and balancing of community interests under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the potential for international organisations to protect said interests through countermeasures in responses to violations of erga omnes obligations, the prevention and punishment of corruption by large corporations, and the importance of good governance of natural resources in conflict-affected regions.
Some key human rights and security-related issues are analyzed in Part III, such as the right to self-determination and prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory, foreign terrorist fighters and their return to their countries of origin, and the peasant rights movement and its exposition of diverging interests as protected under human rights law.
Part IV, which I have written, concludes – outlining three potential research agendas concerning collective human security, collective natural resources, and world cultural heritage.
The comprehensive impact of community interests visible today reveals a fundamental tension in contemporary international law – between the need to make international law adequately express and support what are assumed to be universally held moral beliefs and the need to make it firmly reflect its political context. This book demonstrates that international law research on the formulation and protection of community interests, combined with multi- or inter-disciplinary approaches, can provide useful insights and answers to important questions for the future of humankind.