October 19, 2016

Venzke @IngoVenzke on Sources and Interpretation Theories: The International Lawmaking Process

Ingo Venzke, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Center for International Law, is publishing Sources and Interpretation Theories: The International Lawmaking Process in Oxford Handbook on the Sources of International Law (Samantha Besson and Jean d'Aspremont eds, Oxford University Press, 2017). Here is the abstract.
It is generally recognized that interpretations do not take meanings from norms but give meanings to them. In this way, the practice of interpretation contributes to the process of international lawmaking. The chapter takes this understanding as its starting point and then asks, first: How should interpreters justify their choice to give one meaning rather than another to a norm, be it in a specific case or more generally? Second, it turns from the rule of interpretation to the reality of the interpretative practice and asks: What do interpreters do when they interpret? The Chapter highlights how these two questions are linked. Understandings of what interpreters should do impact the possibilities of what they practically can do. At the same time, beliefs on how interpreters should go about their business are shaped by the power dynamics biases that characterize the practice of interpretation. A conception of interpretation as a practice of arguing about the meaning of norms invites further questions about the balance of reason, rhetoric and violence in that practice.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

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