WPS 2013-04: National Courts As “Trustees of Humanity”?

Paul Mertenskoetter

The concept of state sovereignty is under pressure and scholars criticize the traditional self-determination and noninterference understanding as inadequate. Professor Benvenisti has suggested a reconception of sovereigns as “trustees of humanity”. This Note looks at national courts and their possible role in realizing Benvenisti’s trusteeship conception.

Drawing on examples from U.S. and German case law in the fields of standing, forum non conveniens, subject matter jurisdiction and third party participation, it discusses possible ways for courts to give effect to the procedural obligations flowing from the trusteeship conception. In a last step this note identifies five factors which might make national courts more likely to conceptualize sovereigns as trustees of humanity and to give effect to the sovereigns’ new obligations.

Paul Mertenskoetter WPS 4-13 ISSN

Published in: 46 NYU Int’l L & Pol., 291 (2013) 46.1-Mertenskötter