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Osgoode Hall Law Journal

Document Type

Book Review

Abstract

International legal scholars have increasingly noted that there is a fundamental tension within the international legal order. On one hand, international law represents a utopian idea that advances aspirations towards grand, yet equally hollow, goals of “peace,” “justice,” and “human rights.” We see these aspirations embodied in a number of international institutions—the United Nations Security Council strives to maintain “international peace and security” under the United Nations Charter and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights aspires to establish a “common standard” of human rights “for all peoples and all nations.” The international legal system hence calls on states to work together to advance these shared interests. However, to the extent that the international legal system is able to make inroads towards these ideals, it equally is frustrated by new tensions arising from the interplay of the system’s inherent and emerging qualities, such as states’ pursuit of their individual interests and the increasingly fragmentized nature of decision-making processes.

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