Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

Patrick assesses the future of world order, state sovereignty, and multilateral cooperation.

Customary International Law: Can UN Guidelines Affect Domestic Laws?

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, July 30, 2013
In 2004, people line up for entry into the U.S. Supreme Court where justices determined that executions of teenage killers are unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. In their decision, the court took into account the practice of countries around the world (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). In 2004, people line up for entry into the U.S. Supreme Court where justices determined that executions of teenage killers are unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. In their decision, the court took into account the practice of countries around the world (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Martin Willner, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

More often than not, when we think about customs and laws, we think of them as two distinct categories. Customs are encouraged, but optional: replying to an RSVP request, writing a thank-you note, shaking hands. Laws are mandatory: stopping at red lights, paying taxes, going to jury duty. As Kipling might put it, custom is custom and law is law and never the twain shall meet. Read more »

Regional Organizations and Humanitarian Intervention

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Monday, July 22, 2013
Arab foreign ministers attend a meeting on Syria at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo June 5, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters). Arab foreign ministers attend a meeting on Syria at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo June 5, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Andrew Reddie, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

The UN Charter advises that “the Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilize such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority.” The degree to which regional cooperation represents a sine qua non for international action was made abundantly clear in the recent uprising against Muammar al-Qaddafi, as the Arab League sanctioned a no-fly zone over Libya, followed promptly by UN Security Council Resolution 1973. But are regional organizations the future of humanitarian intervention? Read more »