Environmental degradation, humanitarian crisis, immigration, financial meltdowns or military interventions do not recognize any geographic boundaries and challenge the political borders on which the international politico-legal system is founded. Nevertheless, while the importance of territory and inter-state boundaries is perceived as diminishing in the globalized world of the 21st century, many of the contemporary conflicts are inseparable from their territorial roots. Hence, establishing and managing limits between sovereign states and neighboring countries constitute today an unlimited source of tension around the world. Against the violent background of political borders, this class brings a critical perspective with respect to the role of modern international law in matters of peace and stability.
International law is founded on territorialized concepts such as state, sovereignty, effective control and territorial jurisdiction. Nonetheless, this legal system seems to be inherently paradoxical as it incorporates rules and principles which break through the territorial configuration of the very same system - self-determination, human rights, contingent sovereignty, responsibility to protect and claims of universality are a few examples. The course will raise the following questions: What is the structure of the international legal argument regarding borders? Is the pluralistic legal system chaotic and contradictory, or is there an overarching legal pattern bringing coherence to the legal system related to political borders? What does this system say and what kind of impact does it leave on the globe. Also, the most theoretical questions are combining with the answer that international law presented to some of the issues raised along the course: delimitation, demarcation, territorial control, among many other concepts.
The courses focus the analysis on case studies, from a historical and actual agenda in the international community.
- Professor: Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo