The Executive Function in the International Community

The executive function is not well developed in the international community. The basic cornerstone of international law continues to be the sovereign equality of States. Every State enjoys unrestricted sovereign powers within its boundaries, and its territorial integrity is protected against external interference by the principle of non-use of force. And yet, States are subject to many legal restrictions which have a tremendous impact on the exercise of the rights which flow from their territorial sovereignty.

Two topics were chosen from this overall picture for a detailed study.

On the one hand, the current instances of a modern trusteeship system operated by the United Nations in particular in Kosovo and East Timor were examined. In these two regions, foreign public authorities discharge governmental functions not only at the highest level, but also at the lower level of administrative routine. It is a largely open question which legal discipline governs their activity. On the one hand, moral considerations militate for applying to the full extent in particular the human rights conventions of the United Nations with their far-reaching demands. On the other hand, pragmatic thinking makes clear that a transitional administration cannot reach the perfection standard required by the relevant conventional provisions. The doctoral thesis written by Fabian Kiderlen analyses the legal issues in great detail, but nevertheless reaches answers that can stand the test of practical application.

The restrictions to which national decision making power is subjected was the second topic chosen. Here it was attempted to find out whether the numerous agreements in the field of environmental protection, which have come about in a piece-meal approach, could be merged and placed under the authority of a centralising international authority. The doctoral thesis by Marcus Schröder has found differentiated answers. Although he sees wide room for reform, he acknowledges that, given the great variety of the subject-matters concerned, a more unified approach would encounter great difficulties.

The project has found its conclusion with the two dissertations by Marcus Schröder and Fabian Kiderlen.

Principal Investigators
Tomuschat, Christian Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h.c. (Details) (Public Law Specializing in International Law and European Law)

Duration of Project
Start date: 11/2001
End date: 04/2004

Last updated on 2020-10-03 at 23:20