NGOs in international law

Reconsidering personality and participation (again)

Authored by: Math Noortmann

Routledge Handbook of NGOs and International Relations

Print publication date:  April  2019
Online publication date:  April  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138285507
eBook ISBN: 9781315268927
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315268927-14

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Abstract

“NGOs irritate classical legal scholarship” (Dupuy 2008: 204). Pierre-Marie Dupuy’s provoking opinion provides a perfect opening for a critical, interdisciplinary discussion of the legal discourse on NGOs in international law. Non-governmental organizations are indeed a bit of a nuisance when one tries to properly position NGOs in (the debates on) international law. The problem is the dogmatic distinction between ‘personality’ and ‘participation’ (Shaw 2008), which mainstream international legal scholarship subscribes to in one way or another. The few mainstream legal scholars that refuse to ignore NGOs in international law are ‘forced’ to (1) carefully circumvent the orthodoxy of international legal personality and adopt such tenuous concept as ‘legal status’ (Nowrot 1998; Lindblom 2005; Rossi 2010; Ben-Ari 2013) and/or (2) adopt a soft socio-legal version of NGO participation that focuses on roles rather than rights and responsibilities (Charnovitz 1996; Wedgwood 1999).

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