The seasons of international law
There is always a topic du jour in international law, a subject that defines a season of international law.
Between the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, it was the law of the sea.
Between the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, it was international environmental law.
Between the mid-1990s to present, it has been international criminal law.
Every season is brought about by a major international negotiation, culminating in a conference (i.e., the Third Conference on the Law of the Sea, the Earth Summit, and the Rome conference), and the adoption of a key treaty(ies), that is to say the Law of the Sea Convention, the Rio Conventions (Climate Change, Biodiversity and Desertification) and the Statute of the International Criminal Court).
These events catalyzed the attention of decision-makers and scholars, and pushed international law in new directions (or allowed international law to advance more boldly in previously chartered directions). Each season forged a generation of international legal scholars.
It seems to me that the season of “international criminal law” is gradually coming to an end, which raises the question of which is going to be the next one. What do you think the next season will be?