Global Governance, Human Rights and International Law : Combating the Tragic Flaw book cover
2nd Edition

Global Governance, Human Rights and International Law
Combating the Tragic Flaw

ISBN 9780367463274
Published August 18, 2022 by Routledge
302 Pages

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Book Description

This book offers a stimulating introduction to the links between areas of global governance, human rights global economy and international law. By drawing on a range of diverse subject areas, it argues that the foundations of global governance, human rights and international law are undermined by a conflict or ‘tragic flaw’, where insistence on absolute conceptions of state sovereignty are pitted against universally accepted principles of justice and human rights resulting in destructive self-interest for both the state and the global community. Following the election of President Donald Trump , the second edition will explores how we are witnessing a critical battle to ensure that human rights, international law and the beneficial aspects of globalization will still be relevant and applied in some of the critical institutions of global governance and in the operations of the global private sector. The second edition will focus on how States, institutions and global civil society will have to ramp up the struggle to fight this ‘tragic flaw’ that is now even more evident with the actions of the US and other authoritarian states, like China and Russia in this second decade of the 21st Century.

Table of Contents




  1. Combating the tragic flaw in the UN
    1. The contested history of sovereignty and the promise of the Atlantic Charter
    2. Birth of the United Nations: One step forward, two steps back
    3. The evolution of the International Bill of Rights: rekindling the age of hope
    4. U.N. legal standard-setting in human rights: more law, but less moral force
    5. Genocide, the Cold War and complicity: the age of hypocrisy
    6. The regional human rights regime in Europe: is the wait for justice over for Europe and
    7. is it a model for the rest of the world?

    8. The regional human rights system in the Americas
    9. Human rights regional mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific regions
    10. The African human rights system
    11. After the Cold War: the era of television wars, genocides and virtual guilt
    12. The Kosovo crisis, universal jurisdiction and the International Criminal Court:
    13. turning points in the hold of the tragic flaw?

    14. Universal jurisdiction; a success or failure in reducing the hold of the tragic flaw?
    15. The International Criminal Court; sovereign powers uniting in the fight against
    16. impunity for the most serious international crimes.

    17. The responsibility to protect and the protection of civilians; the new normative
    18. core of sovereignty as the legitimate exercise of power?

    19. Conclusion: A Hegelian dialectic on the road to global justice and human right?
    20. The "war on terror" and a re-invigorated tragic flaw



  2. Seeking justice in global trade and economy
  3. 2.1 The evolution of the world trade regime; another area of global governance, another

    tragic flaw.

    2.2 Who and what killed the Doha Development Round?

    2.3 The global trade regime; can it assist in promoting human rights and justice for the

    global labour force?

    2.3.1 Debating the duty to promote justice and fairness for the global labour force

    between the WTO and the ILO

    2.3.2 The ILO attempts to strengthen justice and fairness for the global labour force

    2.3.3 Searching for the original vision of justice and human rights for global labour in

    the ITO; Can labour standards provisions in bilateral free trade agreements play

    a part?

    2.4 In the long term do we survive? Trading off the environment.

    2.5. Conclusion: solving the democratic deficit: a critical part of the long term


    2.6 The evolution and failures of the global financial system: a growing tragic flaw that

    undermines fundamental principles of justice and human rights

    2.6.1 The Bretton Woods System: the global financial system counterpart of the

    Atlantic Charter

    2.6.2 The financial tragic flaw undermines the Bretton Woods vision

    2.6.3 The tragic flaws in the Bretton Woods system triggers recurrent global financial

    crises and the urgent reforms to combat the tragic flaws

    2.7. Conclusion: massive winners that thrive on the tragic flaws drive massive inequality

    and instability in the global trade and financial systems




  4. Corporate power and human rights
    1. The transformation of global economic power: in search of power with


3.2 Case studies where corporate power is exercised without responsibility

3.2.1 Corruption

3.2.2 The health and safety of local communities: Bophal almost half a century later as a case


3.2.3 The environmental impact of corporate activities: The failed $9.5 billion claim for damages

against Texaco/Chevron for environmental damage in Ecuador

3.2.4 The human rights impact of global private sector activities; a case study of Shell in Nigeria

3.3 The abuse of corporate Power: a direct or indirect role for

international law?

3.4 Moving from the absence of hard law to soft law: the Ruggie Framework

3.4.1 The state’s duty to protect

3.4.2 The corporate responsibility to respect

3.4.3 Access to an effective remedy

3.5 Human rights and corporate social responsibility in the global economy

3.5.1 Corporate codes

3.5.2 Sectorial and industry-wide initiatives (involving coalitions from civil society, states and the

private sector)

3.5.3 Multi-stakeholder transnational Initiatives

3.5.4 Global guidelines, standards and initiatives for corporate social responsibilities

3.5.5 Initiatives by multilateral organizations

3.6 The international legal duties of corporate officials and the global MNEs.

3.7. Conclusion; The MNE as the main beneficiary of globalization and global governance: why

the gap between power and responsibility must be bridged


4. The foundations of global pluralism as the next stage of global governance

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Errol P. Mendes is a lawyer, author, professor, and has been an advisor to governments, corporations, civil society groups, and the United Nations in the areas of international law human rights, and global governance. He is the author and/or editor of eleven books dealing with the subjects as diverse as global governance, international human rights, labour standards, the International Criminal Court, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He has also served as a Visiting Professional at the International Criminal Court in 2009. He was appointed as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School in 2013 and a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University in 2021. He is a full professor of law at the University of Ottawa and President of the International Commission of Jurists, Canada.