Distinguished Speakers Program 2009: Professor Martti Koskenniemi, University of Helsinki

12 November 2009
Professor Martti Koskenniemi
Professor Martti Koskenniemi

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Julius Stone Address: Ius Gentium and Forms of Modern Power: The Legacy of 16th Century Spanish Scholasticism.

Professor Martti Koskenniemi, Academy Professor, University of Helsinki

Martti Koskenniemi is an international lawyer and a former Finnish diplomat. Currently he is Professor of International Law at the University of Helsinki and Director of the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights. He is well known for his critical approach to international law.

About the Presentation

In the history of international law, Francisco Suarez (1548-1617) is known as the first writer working with a distinctly "modern" view of the subject by dividing it into legal rules common to all or most nations and rules applicable in the relations between nations, that is to say, rules on diplomacy, trade and warfare. From that distinction, we have taken the latter as public international law proper, relegating the former into a non-normative pursuit of comparative studies. But this is to fail to see the power and point of the doctrine of jus gentium as propounded not only by Suarez but by a whole tradition of legal thought that grew among Spanish theologians and jurists in the 16th and 17th centuries as they were seeking to respond not only to the religious split in Christendom and the "discovery" of the New World but to social, economic and political transformations they witnessed around themselves. As part of this, they developed the law of nations - ius gentium - into a kind of universal sociology or philosophical anthropology that far from being limited to marginal aspects of foreign policy became foundational for the most important institutions of political modernity, namely those of State sovereignty, private property, and warfare.

This event is part of the Sydney Law School Distinguished Speakers Program 2009. Click here for more details.

Time: 5.30 Registration, 6.00-7.30pm Lecture

Location: Sydney Law School, Building F10, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney

Contact: Events Coordinator

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