International Justice in the United Nations General Assembly


International Justice in the United Nations General Assembly

9781788119375 Edward Elgar Publishing
Michael Ramsden, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Barrister Door Tenant, 25 Bedford Row, London
Publication Date: 2021 ISBN: 978 1 78811 937 5 Extent: 256 pp
International Justice in the United Nations General Assembly probes the role that the UN’s plenary body has played in developing international criminal law and addressing country-specific impunity gaps. It covers the General Assembly’s norm-making capabilities, its judicial and investigatory functions, and the legal effect of its recommendations. With talk of a ‘new Cold War’ and growing levels of plenary activism in the face of Security Council deadlock, this book will make for timely and essential reading for all in the field of international criminal justice.

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Critical Acclaim
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Through the lens of five institutional functions – quasi-legislative, quasi-judicial, recommendatory, empowering and sanctioning – this important book assesses the practice and legal foundations of the United Nations General Assembly in advancing international justice, an increasing priority of the international community.

Challenging the assumption that the General Assembly is merely a weak deliberative assembly, Michael Ramsden shows that its pioneering resolutions on international justice have become an invaluable tool in the fight against impunity. As concerns remain over the aptness of international institutions in responding to atrocities, particularly the Security Council, this book establishes the legal foundation for the General Assembly to step into the breach. Chapters also offer innovative arguments on the General Assembly’s institutional powers to end impunity as well as a detailed examination on the influence of General Assembly resolutions in judicial decision-making.

International Justice in the United Nations General Assembly will be a key resource for scholars and students in the fields of international law and international institutional law, as well as UN and international institutional practitioners who are involved in policy development.
Critical Acclaim
‘International Justice in the United Nations General Assembly is a much-needed account of the UN General Assembly’s under-studied role in international law-making. Ramsden’s comprehensive review of the UNGA’s role since its founding to advance international accountability for atrocity crimes provides important insight into how UNGA resolutions, Commissions of Inquiry, and other tools shape the jurisprudence of courts, regional bodies, and other UN organs. Ramsden’s analysis is an important contribution to understanding the relationship between aspiration and actualization in international law.’
– Charlotte Ku, Texas A&M University, School of Law, US

‘International Justice in the United Nations General Assembly was a revelation. The UN General Assembly occupies a marginal place in most International Law and International Relations scholarship, appearing now and then but rarely as an important protagonist. Michael Ramsden shows how wrong that perspective is in the domain of international justice. Ramsden reveals and carefully assesses the multiple, often indirect, ways in which the General Assembly influences the development of norms, shapes the international justice agenda, motivates political pressure, and promotes action to advance accountability for atrocity crimes.’
– Wayne Sandholtz, University of Southern California, US
Contents: 1. Introduction to International Justice in the United Nations General Assembly 2. ‘Quasi-legislative’ influence of General Assembly resolutions on international justice 3. Relation of General Assembly resolutions to international law 4. General Assembly as a ‘quasi-judicial’ actor in advancing atrocity crimes accountability 5. General Assembly recommendations to promote accountability for atrocity crimes 6. General Assembly empowerment of inquiries and courts 7. Potential General Assembly role in coordinating sanctions 8. Conclusion to International Justice in the United Nations General Assembly Index
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