The American Society of International Law is seeking proposals for its 105th Annual Meeting, to be held March 23 to 26, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
Here's an excerpt from discussion of the meeting's theme, Harmony and Dissonance in International Law, which will be organized by Program Committee Co-Chairs Catherine M. Amirfar (Debevoise & Plimpton), IntLawGrrl guest/alumna Chimène Keitner (California-Hastings Law), and Tai-Heng Cheng (New York Law School):
► On the one hand, international law has become segmented, as specialized international institutions and rule-making have proliferated in a variety of issue areas. ... Some view the growing body of specialized international legal rules as creating problems in the unity of international law, ultimately undermining the international legal system’s ability to promote peaceful relations among states and other actors. Others view fragmentation as a positive development that reflects the expansion and increased diversity, and hence utility, of international legal norms, particularly in accommodating the diverging interests of international actors.
► On the other hand, recent years have witnessed a seemingly opposite trend towards seamlessness, as evidenced by the collapsing of boundaries between public and private international law, between non-state actors and principles of state responsibility, between law and policy, and between the prerogatives of power and the demands of principle. Areas of international law once considered distinct are increasingly — perhaps routinely — borrowing principles, jurisprudence, and practice from one another.
These notions, the statement continues, provoke questions:
► [W]hen should international law be segmented, and when should it be seamless?
► What are the mechanisms for deciding this question, and what are the values that inform those decisions?
► What do these trends say about international law as a coherent system?
► To what extent are certain groups and their viewpoints excluded or ignored?
► What does this say about who the influential players within the international legal system are, and how that influence is exercised?
► What does the existence of competing conceptions of international law itself mean for ... judges deciding international issues, practitioners seeking to persuade courts and craft international policy, and scholars seeking to understand and propose solutions to global problems?