New publication: International law and preventing ethnic conflicts

From: MINELRES moderator <>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 09:38:24 +0200 (EET)
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Subject: New publication: International law and preventing ethnic conflicts

From: MINELRES moderator <>

New publication: International law and preventing ethnic

Steven B.Ratner. Does International Law Matter in Preventing Ethnic
Conflict? Journal of International Law and Politics (New York
University), Volume 32, spring 2000, No.3, pp.591-698

"...This Article proceeds as follows. Part I shows the basic
constellation of issues and actors involved in contemporary minority
disputes in terms of their salience for application of international
norms, and then briefly reviews the responses of key international
institutions to recent trends. Part II describes, based on the
author's empirical research, the work of the OSCE High Commissioner on
National Minorities as a mechanism for invoking international norms to
prevent ethnic conflict. It identifies five crucial means by which the
High Commissioner has sought to make norms matter. Turning to the
implications of the case study for compliance, Part III characterizes
the ongoing theoretical debates on the influences of norms on
decision-making and exposes their shortcomings in accounting for the
methods employed by the High Commissioner. Part IV considers the
relevance of the nature of legal norms upon state behavior, rejecting
traditional distinctions between hard law and soft law. In Part V, I
turn to the salience of the techniques for securing compliance with
international norms, introducing the construct of the normative
intermediary as based on both mediation theory and the empirical
research. The coclusion draws upon these analyses to offer several
observations about the promises and limitations of law for resolving
ethnic conflicts". 

Table of content: 

I. Post-Cold War Ethnic Tensions and Responses
   A. "The Eggs of Versailles and Brest-Litowsk": The Resurgence of
Ethnic Nationalism, 1989-1999
   B. Delayed Reactions: The Responses of International Law and
      1. Majority-Minority Relations as Conflict Prevention: The
Response of the OSCE
      2. Minority Rights as Treaty Enforcement: The Council of Europe
      3. Minority Rights as a Whimper: The United Nations
   C. But is it Law?
      1. The View from Positivist Doctrine
      2. Evading the Binary Trap: Soft Law as a Construct
      3. Soft Law and Ethnic Disputes

II. Making the Law Matter: The Work of the High Commissioner on
National Minorities
   A. An Overview of the High Commissioner's Modus Operandi
   B. A Place for Norms
   C. Translation of Norms
      1. Higher Education in Macedonia
      2. Citizenship and Language in Latvia
         a. Citizenship
         b. Language
   D. Elevation of Norms
   F. Development of Norms
      1. Inventing Norms to Overcome Blockages
      2. Inventing Norms of General Application
   G. Dissemination of Norms

III. Assessing the Impact of International Law: Prologue to Analysis
   A. Dividing the Field
   B. Missing Norms, Missing Links
      1. Missing Norms
      2. Missing Links

IV. Hard Law, Soft Law: Does it Matter? 
   A. Invoking Hard and Soft Law
   B. Elite Response to Hard and Soft Law
      1. Who Knows?: Ignorance of Legal Valences
      2. Who Cares?: Indifference to Legal Valences
   C. Toward a New Relevance for Soft Law

V. The Messenger and the Message: Introducing the Normative
   A. Explaining the Normative Intermediary: Mediation Theory and
International Norms
   B. The High Commissioner as Normative Intermediary
      1. Exogenous Variables and the Limits of the Intermediary
         a. The Nature of the Dispute
         b. The Parties to the Dispute
      2. Strategies of the Normative Intermediary
         a. The Level of Involvement
         b. Timing
      3. The Traits of the Mediator
   C. Toward a New Relevance for Intermediaries
      1. A Bridge Between Two Disciplines
      2. Revisiting Extant Approaches
   D. Confronting Mediation Theory - Some Preliminary Sketches

VI. Conclusions: Messages for Two Audiences     

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