Document Type : Article


1 Professor, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D. in International Law, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran


International law is suffering from legitimacy crisis because of its legal basis, structure and law making institutions. This crisis has mainly happened because of global community problems and unique nature of international law. Evaluating legitimacy challenges of international law and its attempt for solving the problem and international issues is the main question of this study. Thus the main problem is about legitimacy and considering the legitimacy challenges by using analytical – descriptive method will indicate that legitimacy is completely related to its surrounding community. As the result, the best way for solving the legitimacy crisis of international law is getting back to the concepts like justice, peace and humanity which are chosen as values by the global community.


  1. English

    1. A) Books
    2. Alvarez, José E. (2005), International Organizations as Law-makers, New York, Oxford University Press.
    3. Besson, Samantha and John Tasioulas (2010),The Philosophy of International Law, New York, Oxford University Press.
    4. Boyle, Alan & Chinkin, Christine (2007), The Making of International Law, New York, Oxford University Press.
    5. Franck, T. (1990). The Power of Legitimacy among Nations, New York, Oxford University Press.
    6. Hovden, Eivind & Keene, Edward (2002), The Globalization of Liberalism, Hampshire, Palgrave Macmillan.
    7. Krasner, Stephen D. (1999), Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy, Princeton (New Jersey), Princeton University Press.
    8. Simpson, G. (2004), Great Powers and Outlaw States: Unequal Sovereigns in the International Legal Order, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.


    1. B) Articles
    2. Anghie, Antony (2006), “The Evolution of International Law: colonial and postcolonial realities”, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 5, pp. 739-753.
    3. Besson, Samantha (2011), “Sovereignty, International Law and Democracy”, European Journal of International Law, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 373–387
    4. Boon, Kristen E. (2008), “Coining a New Jurisdiction: The Security Council as Economic Peacekeeper”, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 991-1042.
    5. Brooks, Rosa Ehrenreich (2005), “Failed States, or the State as Failure?”, The University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 4, pp. 1159-1196.
    6. Buchanan, Allen & Keohane, Robert O. (2008). “The Legitimacy of Global Governance Institutions”, in: Legitimacy in International Law, Rüdiger Wolfrum and Volker Röben (eds.), Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, Springer, pp. 25-62.
    7. Caney, Simon (2009), “The responsibilities and legitimacy of economic international institutions”, in: Legitimacy, justice and public international law, Lukas H. Meyer (eds.), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 92-122.
    8. Carswell, Andrew J. (2013), “Unblocking the UN Security Council: The Uniting for Peace Resolution”, Journal of Conflict & Security Law, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 453–480
    9. Coicaud, Jean-Marc (2010), “Deconstructing International Legitimacy”, in: Charlesworth, Hilary and Jean-Marc Coicaud (eds), Fault Lines of International Legitimacy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 29-86.
    10. Coicaud, Jean-Marc (2010), “Legitimacy, Across Borders and Over Time”, in: in: Charlesworth, Hilary and Jean-Marc Coicaud (eds), Fault Lines of International Legitimacy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 17-28.
    11. Franchini, Daniel (17 November 2017). “Suing Foreign States Before U.S. Courts: Non-Recognition of State Immunity as a Response to Internationally Wrongful Acts”, Available at SSRN:
    12. Kelman, Herbert C. (1970). “The Role of the Individual in International Relations: Some Conceptual and Methodological Considerations”, Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 1-17.
    13. Kelsen, Hans (1994). “The Principle of Sovereign Equality of States as a Basis for International Organizations”, Yale Law Journal, Vol. 53, pp. 207-220.
    14. Llamzon, Aloysius, Julie Maupin and Saira Mohamed (2017). “An Introduction: What International Law Values”, American Society of International Law, Vol. 111, pp. 1-1.
    15. Martin, Christopher (2004), “The Fact/Value Distinction”, In: Human Values, David S. Oderberg and Timothy Chappell (eds.), Hampshire, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 52-69.
    16. Murphy, Sean D. (2005), “The Doctrine of Preemptive Self-Defense”, Villanova Law Review, Vol. 50, pp. 699-748.
    17. Nasu, H. (2011), “The UN Security Council’s Responsibility and the Responsibility to Protect”, Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations law, Vol. 15, pp. 377-418.
    18. Okafor, Obiora Chinedu (2008), “Critical Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL): Theory, Methodology, or Both?”, International Community Law Review, Vol. 10, pp. 371-378
    19. Roth, Brad R. (2004), “The enduring Significance of State Sovereignty”, Florida Law Review, Vol. 56, pp. 1017-1050.
    20. Sands, Philippe (2000), “Unilateralism, Values, and International Law”, European Journal of International Law, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 291-302.
    21. Sellers, Mortimer (2010), “The Legitimacy of International Law”, JOTWELL, Onlione article available at: file:///C:/Users/Win%208/Downloads/the-legitimacy-of-international-law%20(1).pdf
    22. Szasz, P.C. (2002), ‘The Security Council Starts Legislating’, The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 96, No. 4, pp. 901-905.
    23. Talmon, Stefan (2005), “The Security Council as World Legislature”, Vol. 99, No. 1, pp. 175-193.
    24. Thomas, C. (2013), "The Concept of Legitimacy and International Law", LSE Law, Society and Economy Working Papers 12, pp. 1-32.
    25. Toope, S. (2003), “Powerful but Unpersuasive? The Role of the United States in the Evolution of Customary International Law”, in: United States Hegemony and the Foundations of International Law, M. Byers and G. Nolte (eds.), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 287-316.
    26. Vail, Christopher (2017), “The Legality of Nuclear Weapons for Use and Deterrence”, Georgetown Journal of International Law, Vol. 48, pp. 839-872.
    27. Velásquez-Ruiz, Marco Alberto (2011), “In the Name of International Peace and Security: Refections on the United Nations Security Council's Legislative Action”, International Law: Revista Colombiana de Derecho Internacional, No. 18, pp. 13-56.
    28. Wessel, R.A. and J. Wouters (2007). “The Phenomenon of Multilevel Regulation: Interactions between Global, EU and National Regulatory Spheres”, International Organizations Law Review, No. 2, pp. 257–289
    29. Wet, Erika de (2013), “Invoking obligations erga omnes in the twenty-first century: Progressive developments since Barcelona Traction”, South African Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 38, Issue 1, pp. 2-19.
    30. Wight, Martin, (1972), “International Legitimacy”, International Relations, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 1-28.


    1. C) International Documents
    2. International Arbitrary, Island of Palmas Case (Netherlands, USA), Report of International Arbitral Awards, Vol. 2, 4 April 1928
    3. International Court of Justice, Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium), Judgment of 14 February 2002
    4. International Court of Justice, Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy: Greece intervening), Judgment of 3 February 2012
    5. International Court of Justice, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion, 2004
    6. International Court of Justice, Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion, 8 July 1996
    7. International Court of Justice, Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Judgment of 27 June 1986
    8. International Court of Justice, Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament (Marshall Islands V. United Kingdom), Judgment of 5 October 2016.
    9. International Court of Justice, Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay), Separate opinion of Judge Cançado Trindade, 20 April 2010
    10. United Nations General Assembly, Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order, A/RES/S-6/3201, 1 May 1974
    11. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 1368, 56th Sess., 4370th mtg., U.N. Doc. S/RES/ 1368, 2001
    12. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 1373, S/RES/1373, 28 September 2001


    References in Persian

    1. A) Books
    2. Cassese, Antonio (1991), International Law in a Divided World, Translated by Morteza Klantarian, Tehran: CILA (In Persian).
    3. Chemillier-Gendreau, Monique (2003), Humanité et souverainetés Essai sur la fonction du droit international, Translated by Morteza Kalanterian, Tehran: Agah Publication (In Persian).
    4. Falsafi, Hedayatollah (2018), The course of reason in the international law system, Tehran: Farhang-e Nashr-e No (In Persian).
    5. Mosazadeh, Reza (2016), International Organizations Law, Tehran: Mizan (In Persian).
    6. Zamani, Seyed Ghasem (2013), International Organizations Law, Tehran: Shahr-e Danesh (In Persian).


    1. B) Articles
    2. Beygzadeh, Ibrahim (2015), “An Introduction on the rights of the seas”, in: Developments in the International Law of the Sea, Ganj-e Danesh, pp. 36 – 39 (In Persian).
    3. Buchanan, Allen (2014), “The Legitimacy of International Law”, Translated by Maryam Hajiarab, in: International Community & International Law in 21st Century, Seyed Ghasem Zamani (ed.), Tehran: Shahr-e Danesh, pp. 385 – 406 (In Persian).
    4. Falsafi, Hedayatollah (2001-2002), “Right, peace and human dignity: reflections on the concepts of legal rule, moral value and humanity”, International Law Review, No. 26 & 27, pp. 5 – 130 (In Persian).
    5. Shahbazi, Aramesh & Javadisharif, Khadijeh (2013), “The status of the powerless nation-states in contemporary international law”, Public Law Research, No. 39, pp. 35 – 60 (In Persian).
    6. Sharif, Mohammad (1999), “The common heritage of mankind and its definition as a rule”, Law and Politics, No. 1, pp. 135 – 181 (In Persian).