Prior Consultation in International Law: A Study of State Practice
This study examines the role and the value of prior consultation among nations in international law. International disputes frequently occur when one nation, with no hostile intent, takes unilateral action that adversely affects the interests of other nations. It is generally acknowledged that some of these disputes could be avoided, and others could be ameliorated, if the acting government would assess beforehand the risk of harm to other nations. The most effective way to do this is through prior consultation with representatives of potentially affected nations. When governments are able to act unilaterally, they have very little incentive to refrain from taking self-interested action in order to consider the adverse interests of other nations. Thus, it is important to determine the circumstances in which international law imposes on them a duty to consult. The author examines these determining circumstances in detail.
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