It is traditionally accepted that international law is structured around the concept of sovereignty. Sovereignty acts as the point of reference to determine the nature of legal personality, the capacity to create international law, and the location of authority over territory. This book questions the continued relevance of sovereignty to these issues through examining the activities of non-state actors. At a time when many commentators are examining the role of non-state actors in terms of their obligations to guarantee human rights, this book focuses on their functions as promoters and protectors. In particular it examines how human rights standards are supervised by inter-governmental organisations, and how non-governmental organisations have played an instrumental role in the creation of human rights treaties. The book engages with the theoretical dimension of human rights law in a novel way by examining the nature and impact of human rights actors – rather than human rights law itself – on sovereignty. Rather than a strict sovereignty-centred positivist approach to international law it uses international relations literature as an aid to the analysis of non-state practice and proposes a fresh understanding of international law.
Israel Butler read Law at Girton College, Cambridge, and went on to study at Nottingham University, where he obtained a LLM and a PhD. He is now a lecturer at the Law School of Lancaster University where he researches and teaches International Human Rights Law and European Union Law.
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