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Realizing UtopiaThe Future of International Law$
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The Late Antonio Cassese

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199691661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691661.001.0001

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The Role International Actors Other Than States can Play in the New World Order

The Role International Actors Other Than States can Play in the New World Order

(p.61) 6 The Role International Actors Other Than States can Play in the New World Order
Realizing Utopia

Nehal Bhuta

Oxford University Press

States remain the primary actors on the international scene. This remains true although at present numerous state functions appear to be disaggregated and delegated to, or calibrated by reference to, a variety of non-state entities, such as transnational networks of officials, public-private administrative bodies operating at the transnational plane, or treaty-based arbitral bodies with specific functional competences. In recent years three sets of actors have appeared on the world scene: nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); (violent) non-state armed groups; and multinational corporations. Can they be legitimately associated to sovereign states? Every argument about who is and ought to be recognized as a subject of international law is striated with a normative vision of what makes international law legitimate and what purposes should be served by it (peace, justice, order, etc.). Sweeping institutional prescriptions for expanding and consecrating the role of non-state actors such as NGOs in international lawmaking and international institutions are neither realistic nor normatively desirable. Yet the value of democratic legitimacy in international politics remains uncertain where no clear demos can be identified, and where the actors claiming to represent democratic values are themselves rarely created and maintained in a democratic manner.

Keywords:   nongovernmental organizations, NGOs, non-state armed groups, multinational corporations, international law, non-state actors

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