Dr Ralph Wilde awarded prestigious international law book prize
7 April 2009
Dr Ralph Wilde (UCL Laws), a Reader in public international law, has been awarded the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Certificate of Merit for his book International Territorial Administration: How Trusteeship and the Civilizing Mission Never Went Away, published by Oxford University Press in 2008.
The Certificate of Merit is regarded internationally as the leading prize for a book on international law. Three prizes are awarded annually for creative scholarship, a work in a specialised area - won by Dr Wilde - and a work of high technical achievement. Dr Wilde was awarded the prize during a ceremony at the ASIL annual meeting on 26 March in Washington DC.
Dr Wilde's book is the first comprehensive analysis of the purposes associated with international territorial administration, from the League of Nations in Danzig to the United Nations (UN) in East Timor and Kosovo recently and the High Representative in Bosnia.
The book establishes international territorial administration as a 'policy institution' to rank alongside peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention in the activities of international organisations. It explains how this activity relates to ideas in international public policy such as dispute settlement, the 'responsibility to protect', 'earned sovereignty' and the saving of 'failed states'.
The book includes coverage of territorial administration by international organisations other than the UN (e.g. the European Union in Mostar, Bosnia); the involvement of international appointees on local administrative and judicial bodies (e.g. hybrid tribunals); and the administration of refugee camps by UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency). It also provides the first sustained treatment of the concept of trusteeship in both international law and international public policy encompassing colonialism, occupation, the Mandate and Trusteeship systems and contemporary international peace operations.
Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary material, Dr Wilde's analysis encompasses a broad disciplinary orientation including international relations, international law, international history, political science and post-colonial studies methodologies. His critical analysis is complemented by a comprehensive description of the legal mandates for all the international territorial administration missions, and detailed provision of citations to source materials for further reference.
This new history of international trusteeship raises important questions about the role of international law and organisations in facilitating relations of domination and tutelage, and suggests that the contemporary significance of the self-determination entitlement needs to be re-evaluated.