If one were to affix a label to the first decade of work by the UN International Law Commission in this century, a good one to choose would be the “decade of codifying international responsibility.” No fewer than five projects relating to that general topic were brought to a conclusion by the Commission in the space of ten years, constituting a formidable effort at codification that may well influence the field of public international law for years to come. Given that the Commission had spent decades considering, as part of a single project, myriad aspects of state responsibility, in some respects these five projects may be seen as the product of a “divide and conquer” approach. Rather than a single instrument, the Commission produced five instruments directed at different slices of the field, with considerable variations among them in breadth, form, and the understanding of whether they reflect settled law. The book under review here, edited by Professor Crawford, Alain Pellet, and Simon Olleson, reflects an important effort to illuminate the law in this area through expert commentary by academics and practitioners.
GW Paper Series
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-74; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2012-74
Sean D. Murphy, Book Review of The Law of International Responsibility (James Crawford, Alain Pellet, and Simon Olleson eds., Oxford University Press, 2010), 106 Am. J. Int'l L. 885 (2012)