Baade, B., Cynical International Law?: Abuse and Circumvention in Public International and European Law, 2021

Analysing international law through the prism of “cynicism” makes it possible to look beyond overt disregard for international law, currently discussed in terms of a backlash or crisis. The concept allows to analyse and criticise structural features and specific uses of international law that seem detrimental to international law in a more subtle way. Unlike its ancient predecessor, cynicism nowadays refers not to a bold critique of power but to uses and abuses of international law that pursue one-sided interests tacitly disregarding the legal structure applied. From this point of view, the contributions critically reflect on the theoretical foundations of international law, in particular its relationship to power, actors such as the International Law Commission and international judges, and specific fields, including international human rights, humanitarian, criminal, tax and investment law.

About the Authors

Björnstjern Baade is senior research fellow at the Institute for Public and International Law of Freie Universität Berlin and postdoc in the working group ‘Towards a Proceduralization of International Law?’ of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Berlin/Heidelberg.

Dana Burchardt is senior research fellow at Freie Universität Berlin and member of the Berlin Potsdam Research Group ‘International Rule of Law – Rise or Decline?’.

Prisca Feihle is doctoral candidate and research fellow at Freie Universität Berlin.

Alicia Köppen is doctoral candidate at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, law clerk at Berlin Appellate Court (Kammergericht Berlin) and member of the Völkerrechtsblog editorial team. 

Linus Mührel is doctoral candidate at Freie Universität Berlin and research fellow at Technische Universität Dresden.

Lena Riemer is a former doctoral candidate and former research fellow at Freie Universität Berlin.

Raphael Schäfer is doctoral candidate at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg and research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg.