Neocolonialism and international law, with specific reference to customary counterterrorism obligations and the principle of self-defence
Barnidge, R. (2009) Neocolonialism and international law, with specific reference to customary counterterrorism obligations and the principle of self-defence. Indian Journal of International Law, 49 (1). pp. 21-36. ISSN 0019-5294
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Has international law ever, and, if it has not, can it ever, truly freed itself from the strictures of neocolonialism and the drive by a privileged elite to dominate the world scene? This article begins by inquiring into the nature of neocolonialism and, in so doing, pays particular attention to the writings of former Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah. It then proceeds to determine how neocolonialist designs surface in international law today by briefly looking at two aspects of international law in particular, namely customary international law, with specific reference to the counterterrorism context, and the principle of self-defence. In the final analysis, this article argues for a necessary and eternal scepticism of international law and the agendas of its privileged gatekeepers. Like classic State power, it opens itself to, and often operates as, neocolonial overreach, and to quote Nkrumah, “[t]he cajolement, the wheedlings, the seductions and the Trojan horses of neo-colonialism must be stoutly resisted, for neo-colonialism is a latter-day harpy, a monster which entices its victims with sweet music.”
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