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Beyond Human Rights
The Legal Status of the Individual in International Law


Part of Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law

  • Date Published: October 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107164307

£ 93.99

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About the Authors
  • A paradigm change is occurring, in the course of which human beings are becoming the primary international legal persons. In numerous areas of public international law, substantive rights and obligations of individuals arguably flow directly from international law. The novel legal status of humans in international law is now captured with a concept borrowed from constitutional doctrine: international rights of the person, as opposed to international law protecting persons. Combining doctrinal analysis with current practice, this book is the most comprehensive contemporary analysis of the legal status of the individual. Beyond Human Rights, previously published in German and now revised by the author in this English edition, not only deals with the individual in international humanitarian law, international criminal law and international investment law, but it also covers fields such as consular law, environmental law, protection of individuals against acts of violence and natural disasters, refugee law and labour law.

    • Proposes a new understanding of the international legal status of the individual
    • Covers a wide range of subfields of international law, and combines doctrinal analysis with current practice
    • Appeals to the non-specialised reader
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    Reviews & endorsements

    From a review of the German edition: 'There is much to admire in Anne Peters' book, so much that after reading Jenseits der Menschenrechte, it is difficult to imagine what else can be done in this area of the law.' Roland Portmann, Völkerrechtsblog (

    From a review of the German edition: 'Anne Peters' most recent opus Beyond Human Rights: The Legal Status of the Individual in International Law constitutes an outstanding and groundbreaking piece of scholarship that radically re-positions the individual within the grid system of international law and consistently supplements her previous work on global constitutionalism.' Raphael Oidtmann, Völkerrechtsblog (

    From a review of the German edition: 'Anne Peters' most recent book is an equally important and topical contribution to the international law discourse … It provides both an in-depth analysis of the rights and obligations of the individual under contemporary international law and a great deal of food for thought regarding what to make of this analysis from the point of view of international law doctrine. Both in its effort of stocktaking and of providing a vision where the development is heading, Jenseits der Menschenrechte marks a significant step in the growing scholarship on the legal status of the individual in international law and, thus, truly deserves to be called a milestone book for the discipline. It is to be strongly hoped that it will soon also be available in English.' Andreas Th. Müller, European Journal of International Law

    From a review of the German edition: 'This book is both an intelligent and important one. It lucidly and convincingly explains how international law has come to not only tolerate but also consciously acknowledge individual rights.' Steffen Augsberg, Translated from Portal für Politikwissenschaft (

    From a review of the German edition: 'Individual rights exist in international law; that is the core message of this book and imperative premise of any critical discussion on the widening gap between reality … and human rights rhetoric. Doubtless, another merit of this book is its warning against a mere formal and discursive human rights recourse (hence the title). This publication is a must-read for anyone who knows German.' Agostino Carrino, Translated from Rivista semestrale di scienza costituzionale e teoria del diritto

    From a review of the German edition: 'This comprehensive, well-researched and diverse book dovetails with Anne Peters' previous eminent publications. Not only does this book empirically examine numerous legal subfields but it also strengthens their philosophical and doctrinal foundations. Thus it makes a contribution both in terms of analysing the status quo and further developing the role of individual rights in international law.' Katrin Fenrich, Journal of International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict

    From a review of the German edition: 'Peters puts the individual at the core of international law. Such a simple albeit unusual change of perspective legitimizes an individual-centred rather than state-centred understanding of international law. Peters can thus transpose national legal concepts on to international law. If consistently adhered to, such an approach is capable of undermining a number of politically motivated arguments against rights protection.' Christina Globke, Translated from Fachbuch Journal

    From a review of the German edition: 'Anne Peters' magistral publication validates her intuition that constitutionalism is a relevant approach to contemporary international law.' Evelyne Lagrange, Völkerrechtsblog (

    From a review of the German edition: 'Anne Peters' Beyond Human Rights: The Legal Status of the Individual in International Law is an impressive scholarly intervention, which can be read both as a standalone contribution to the debates about the position of the individual in international law, as well as a companion to Peters' previous work on global constitutionalism and the constitutionalization of international law.' Zoran Oklopcic, Völkerrechtsblog (

    From a review of the German edition: 'This book convincingly shows the paradigm shift in international law making the individual and no longer states the main legal subject.' Eduard Christian Schöpfer, Translated from Newsletter Menschenrechte

    From a review of the German edition: 'Peters' conception includes two layers of individual rights embedded within a normative hierarchy: higher-ranking, constitutional-type human rights, and lower-ranking, 'simple' rights of ordinary international law. This opens up a new doctrinal category and a new register of argumentation: UNESCO, to use Peters' example, can still argue that 'sport' is an individual right but does not need to claim that there is a human right to sport. This is desirable because simple rights help avoid the inflation and banalization of human rights.' Michael Riegner, Völkerrechtsblog (

    'Beyond Human Rights excels through its exceptional research into international and regional courts and bodies, human rights institutions, arbitral tribunals, national law codes, particular cases, and domestic courts.' C. E. Welch, CHOICE

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107164307
    • length: 644 pages
    • dimensions: 237 x 160 x 42 mm
    • weight: 0.67kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Definition of the question
    2. Historical theory and practice of the international legal status of the individual
    3. The doctrine of the international legal personality of the human being
    4. International individual obligations
    5. The international responsibility of the individual
    6. Individual rights arising from international responsibility
    7. Individual rights and duties in the law of armed conflict
    8. Protection against acts of violence and forces of nature
    9. The international legal status of victims of crime
    10. Rights and duties in investment protection law
    11. Individual rights in consular law
    12. Individual rights in diplomatic protection
    13. The legal basis for the international legal personality of the individual – and the question of its independence from the State
    14. Human rights and other rights
    15. The individualized enforcement of international law
    16. Direct effect of norms establishing individual rights and duties
    17. The international individual right.

  • Author

    Anne Peters, Max-Planck-Institut for Comparative Public Law and International Law Heidelberg
    Anne Peters is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, and a Professor at the Universität Heidelberg, Freie Universität Berlin, and Universität Basel, Switzerland. She has been a member of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) in respect of Germany (2011–15) and served as the President of the European Society of International Law (2010–12). Her current research interests relate to public international law, including its history, global animal law, global governance and global constitutionalism, and the status of humans in international law.


    Jonathan Huston

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