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Library blog

These blogs are written by the librarians of the Peace Palace Library. All blogs are dealing with subjects on International Law. Every blog contains links and references to the collection of the Peace Palace Library.

  • Book Review: War, Peace and International Order?

    October 12, 2017

    This book attempts to assess the history and on-going relevance of the 1899 and 1907 Hague peace conferences, the conventions they brought into being, the institutions they established and the precedents they set. The exact legacies of the two conferences remain unclear. On the one hand, diplomatic and military historians, who cast their gaze to 1914, traditionally dismiss the events of 1899 and 1907 as insignificant footnotes on the path to the First World War. On the other, experts in international law posit that The Hague’s foremost legacy lies in the manner in which the conferences progressed the law of war and the concept and application of international justice.

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  • Breakthrough in the Debate about the Nature of the EU

    October 5, 2017

    In January 2013, PM David Cameron delivered a speech on Europe in which he announced his decision to give the people a say on British membership of the EU. His address, which triggered a series of blogs on this website about the nature of the EU, contained a remarkable dichotomy. In the ensuing debate, the EU proved to be unable to defend itself against the accusations of its opponents that it forms a ‘Fourth Reich’, a modern Leviathan or even the reincarnation of the medieval Golem of Prague.

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  • Catalonia’s Referendum for Independence

    September 29, 2017

    June 9, 2017, Catalonia’s regional president, Carles Puigdemont, announced an independence referendum will be held on 1 October. Voters would be asked: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent country in the form of a republic?” Spain’s central government continues to say it will block the referendum using all the legal and political means at its disposal. Although the Catalonia regional government has insisted the unilateral poll will go ahead on Sunday, the Spanish government has vowed to stop the vote, which it says is a clear violation of the constitution. Spain’s constitutional court has suspended the legislation underpinning the referendum while it rules on its legality.

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  • Hurricane-Irma_Jose

    Natural Disasters and International Law

    September 14, 2017

    Natural disasters like the hurricanes Irma and Jose took a deadly path through the Caribbean and Florida, causing widespread destruction. Over the last decade, major natural disasters, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, have focused world attention on the importance of having adequate national legal frameworks in place for disaster prevention and response. Legislation plays a crucial role in promoting and supporting disaster risk reduction as well as in guaranteeing the speed and effectiveness of disaster response. This blog explains in short the role and importance of international disaster response law.

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  • The Martens Clause: A New Library Special

    August 31, 2017

    The Martens clause is named after the Russian diplomat and international law professor Fyodor Fyodorovich Martens (1845-1909), the Russian delegate at the The Hague Peace Conferences in 1899. The Martens clause came into existence as a diplomatic statement made by diplomat Martens who wanted to come up with a solution for a disagreement between large occupying forces and smaller states. Martens, who was of the opinion that international law should illuminate and set normative standards, created the clause to fill a legal vacuum and help alleviate the horrors of war. The clause serves as a reminder that an act is not just yet permissible when an act of war is not expressly prohibited by international law or customary law.

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  • China’s Ascendency as Vanguard of Traditional Knowledge in International Law Fora

    August 24, 2017

    The People’s Republic of China has made great strides towards a commercial rule of law in regard to intellectual property law. International law has helped raise the bar for the protection and enforcement standards of intellectual property law in China. Now, that China has realized the potential of intellectual property law for innovation, culture and commerce it has become a vocal advocate in international law fora to reform intellectual property law in line with their ideas about Traditional Knowledge.

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  • The Treaties of Ryswick (1697)

    August 17, 2017

    In 1697, the Huis ter Nieuburch in Rijswijk was the scene of the negotiations which led to so-called “Peace of Ryswick”. These negotiations sought to end the Nine-Years War between France on one side and the Grand Alliance of Spain, England, The Dutch Republic and The Holy Roman Empire. The Peace Treaty of Rijswijk was not a single document but consisted of a number of treaties which were signed during the months of September and October 1697. The treaties have been scanned in order to familiarize researchers with our historical collection.

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  • Satellite Data in International Law

    August 10, 2017

    The use of data acquired through earth observation satellites has become commonplace. The use of satellite data has even expanded as an extremely useful tool to implement international law since it provides factual, relevant and up-to-date information. Further technological developments will steadily increase the range of data which can be collected through Earth Observation and further enhance its accuracy. Therefore, satellite data can be used to monitor compliance with obligations contained within international agreements or to resolve disputes before an international court.

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  • Acquiring the Site of the Peace Palace, the Hustle and Bustle

    August 3, 2017

    On July 30, we marked the 110 anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone ceremony in the Peace Palace. Since the first foundation stone of the Peace Palace was laid 110 years ago, the Peace Palace has become an icon of peace and justice for the city of The Hague. However, acquiring the building location for the Peace Palace at the border of Scheveningen, on the estate Zorgvliet, was not that simple. Here is the fascinating story.

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  • ApproachingOmaha

    From Classic Wars to Hybrid Warfare

    July 27, 2017

    Thinking about wars people used to see battlefields with tanks, trenches, armies with conventional weapons, uniformed soldiers under strict hierarchical military command structure (‘Befehl ist Befehl’). Wars between nation-states were waged conform international (humantarian) law (Geneva Conventions 1949), in line with Clausewitz’s military theories. However, the concept of warfare is changing rapidly. The war of the Western coalition against Islamic State for instance, is an asymmetrical conflict. If all the jihadi’s would be competing with all Western allied forces on one battlefield, the battle would be over in no time. That’s why Islamic State uses insurgency and hit and run guerrilla-tactics, avoiding army-to-army confrontations.

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