Selfless Intervention: The Exercise of Jurisdiction in the Common Interest

ISBN : 9780198851783

Cedric Ryngaert
272 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jun 2020
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Should states intervene in situations outside of their own territory in order to safeguard or promote the common good? In this book, Cedric Ryngaert addresses this key question, looking at how the international law of state jurisdiction can be harnessed to serve interests common to the international community. The author inquires how the purpose of the law of jurisdiction may shift from protecting national interests to furthering international concerns, such as those relating to the global environment and human rights. Such a shift is enabled by the instability of the notion of jurisdiction, as well as the interpretative ambiguity of the related notions of sovereignty and territoriality. There is no denying that, in the real world, 'selfless intervention' by states tends to combine with more insular considerations. This book argues, however, that such considerations do not necessarily detract from the legitimacy of unilateralism, but may precisely serve to trigger the exercise of jurisdiction in the common interest.


1 Introduction: international law and cosmopolitanism
2 Selfless intervention: the promise of unilateral jurisdiction
3 Selfless jurisdiction and the national interest: between cosmopolitanism and parochialism
4 Limitations to the exercise of jurisdiction in the common interest
5 The selfless exervise of jurisdiction to protect human rights and the environment
6 Concluding observations

About the author: 

Cedric Ryngaert is Professor of Public International Law and Head of the Department of International and European Law at Utrecht University. He is also the programme leader of the LLM in Public International Law at Utrecht University. He studied law at Leuven University and obtained his PhD from Leuven in 2007. He is the author of, among other publications, Jurisdiction in International Law (OUP 2015, 2nd ed).

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