Is reciprocity a foundation of international law or whether international law creates reciprocity?

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Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
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Award date04 Jul 2015
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Abstract

The absence of a powerful uniform legal authority, to enforce international law and international agreements, has placed reciprocity in a pivotal position in inter-State relations and the extent to which States rely on reciprocity. This thesis examines the significance of reciprocity and the extent to which reciprocity manifests itself in international law, more specifically is this manifestation a foundation of international law or whether international law creates reciprocity. The present work argues how reciprocity in international law is a multifaceted concept. On the one side it is a principal tool incentivising States away from wrongful acts, and to abide by their obligations; alternatively it is a tool for establishing the right to a reciprocal response. Thus the study sets out to explore how international law shapes the international community’s interactions and how, in turn, these interactions shape international law.
Considering the important role that the rule of law plays in the context of international law, the thesis aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the rule of law particularly in its relationship with international law. This analysis will provide a useful discussion on the interactions between the rule of law and reciprocity. The United Nations was established to enhance co-operation amongst the international community with the goal of maintaining international peace and security. This thesis will explore the role of reciprocity in international law on enhancing international commitment and international co-operation. The significance of this lies in reciprocal and ‘remedial’ options in international law that maintain States’ commitment to international obligations which in turn develops friendly relations and international co-operation. This thesis will aim to contribute to scholarly works to bridge the existing gap in interdisciplinary studies exploring the connection between reciprocity, co-operation and the rule of law in the realm of international law.