- Het constitutionele perspectief en de 'coming of age' van internationale organisaties
- Book title
- De regels en het spel: opstellen over recht, filosofie, literatuur en geschiedenis aangeboden aan Tom Eijsbouts
- Pages (from-to)
- Den Haag: T.M.C. Asser Press
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL)
This vignette traces the coming of age of international organizations as international legal actors. It argues that the political and legal appraisal of the international organization - and thus, its identity - since the rise of organizations in the mid-nineteenth century has passed through different stages. The perspective on international organizations has started out as functional, which in the terminology of this paper denotes a perspective in which organizations are vehicles for the activities of states. In the middle of the twentieth century the perspective on IOs has become predominantly institutional. This refers to a vision of organization as systems, with a coherent body of rules and a degree of autonomy vis-à-vis the member states. The external aspect of this vision is usually discussed in terms of ‘international legal personality’. Currently, notably since the turn of the Milennium, we witness the rise of a constitutional perspective on international organizations. The paper uses a thick version of the term: international organizations appear as a system not only because of the coherence of internal rules and component elements (the formal-constitutional aspect) but also because of the incorporation of substantive norms (the substantive-constitutional aspect). This makes for a framework which goes beyond the institutional identity of organizations, since it incorporates also certain ‘fundamental values’, linked to human rights or theories of justice. Arguably, it is only in this newly acquired constitutional identity that international organizations have come of age and can participate as mature legal actors in the international arena. Such notwithstanding the complicating fact that in the organization’s development from a functional, to an institutional to a constitutional order to some extent traces of all three identities persist.
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