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Ethics and Human Rights - Ethik und Menschenrechte

Human rights protect essential elements and spheres of human existence that enable humans to survive and exist as humans. In this context, human rights can be viewed as having four dimensions: In addition to the legal, the political, and the historic dimension, human rights also have a moral dimension. From an ethical perspective, this raises two issues. The first concerns the relationship of human rights as a moral right compared to other moral rights. The second deals with the moral dimension of human rights (i.e. the question of the legitimation of human rights), what they are based on, and their relationship to other dimensions of human rights, which need to be examined in detail. Furthermore, human rights can serve as an ethical point of reference, since they are characterized by an essential universal consensus, practical orientation, and their ability to be enacted as positive law. At the same time, the inherent claim of human rights to universality raises questions regarding their relationship to other moral systems, which must be addressed.

Menschenrechte schützen essenzielle Elemente und Bereiche der menschlichen Existenz, die dem Menschen ermöglichen, zu überleben und als Mensch zu leben. Menschenrechte können dabei vierdimensional verstanden werden: Neben einer rechtlichen, einer politischen und einer historischen Dimension weisen die Menschenrechte eine moralische Dimension auf. Daher ergibt sich aus einer ethischen Perspektive zum einen die Frage nach dem Verhältnis der Menschenrechte als moralische Rechte zu anderen moralischen Rechten. Zum anderen gilt es, die moralische Dimension der Menschenrechte (u.a. die Frage nach der Begründung der Menschenrechte), ihre Grundlage und ihr Verhältnis zu den anderen Dimensionen der Menschenrechte genauer zu reflektieren. Menschenrechte können zudem als ethischer Referenzpunkt dienen, da sie sich durch den ihnen zugrundeliegenden universellen Konsens, ihren Praxisbezug und ihre Offenheit für eine Positivierung in juristische Rechte auszeichnen. Gleichzeitig lösen die Menschenrechte aufgrund ihres Universalitätsanspruchs Fragen in Bezug auf ihr Verhältnis zu anderen moralischen Systemen aus, denen nachgegangen werden sollte.

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Since the publication of Between Facts and Norms, it appears to have gone largely unremarked by critical theorists that Habermas has wholly abandoned the neo-Parsonian systems-theoretic account of social systems developed in his middle period. In this paper, I argue not only that Habermas has developed a new vocabulary and theoretical structure for dealing with social systems such as law, but also that this new approach to social systems is incompatible with the neo-Parsonianism of social systems developed in that arly work. This is not to say that Habermas’ work in Between Facts and Norms should be set aside, but rather that the Parsonianism of The Theory of Communicative Action must be abandoned if Habermas’ jurisprudential project is to go ahead.

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The Sign as Form and the Form of the Law Sign - Das Zeichen als Form und die Form des Rechtszeichens

Luhmann’s concept of the „sign as form“ is discussed in the broader context of Peirce and Serres’ concepts of formation, with an inheritance in the foreground. The assertion is: bifurcation as a result amputates the fundamental operation of form-building by excluding the operator. The operator is the interpretant, who Luhmann subsequently re-introduces as an observer (at a different level). But the interpretant does not permit itself to be excluded; it is always present – as a parasite (Serres). This is demonstrated using a practical case: A woman living in a home writes her will, in which she instates the home warden and his wife as her heirs. One uses a standardized form in the assumption that one is adhering to the prescribed legal form and thereby eliminating any need for further interpretation. The legal proceedings that followed and were instigated by the testatrix’ relatives against the home warden reversed these circumstances. The operation of drawing on a right as an object in such a manner that the operation in turn claims rights in law, thus becoming a legal sign in itself (Peirce), is parasitic. It plans for unplanned, surprising disruptions.

Diskutiert wird Luhmanns Konzept vom „Zeichen als Form“ vor dem Hintergrund der Formgebungen bei Peirce und Serres mit einem Erbschaftsfall im Vordergrund. Die These lautet: Zweiteilung als Ergebnis amputiert die grundlegende Operation der Formbildung, indem der Operator ausgesperrt wird. Operator ist der Interpretant, den Luhmann als Beobachter (unterschiedlicher Stufe) anschließend wieder einführt. Aber er lässt sich nicht aussperren, er ist fortwährend anwesend – als Parasit (Serres). An einem praktischen Fall wird das demonstriert: Eine Frau in einem Heim verfasst ein Testament und setzt den Heimleiter und seine Frau als Erben ein. Man benutzt die Rechtsform formularmäßig und meint, mit diesem Formular das Testament fachgerecht zu verfassen und die Interpretation auszusperren. Das spätere Rechtsverfahren der Verwandten gegen den Heimleiter kehrt die Verhältnisse um. Die Operation, sich auf Recht als ein Objekt so zu beziehen, dass die Operation sich wie dieses Objekt auf Recht bezieht und damit selbst zu einem Rechtszeichen wird (Peirce), ist parasitär. Sie plant ungeplante, überraschende Störungen ein.

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“No foreign judges” is a recurrent clamor in contemporary Swiss politics. With this slogan some Swiss politicians challenge the European Supreme Court’s jurisdiction within the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the European Union. Treaty negotiations usually associated with sober diplomacy thereby receive a strong emotional flavor. Even academic discussions on more subtle forms of how “foreign law” influences national legal discourse sometimes turn emotional: Should courts be permitted to look to foreign jurisdictions to guide their decisions, to create their arguments by comparing foreign law with their own? Occasionally, such idea is subject to harsh criticism. Concerns raised against it partially coincide with those “against foreign judges”: Such references to “foreign law” lack democratic legitimacy. They threaten national sovereignty and distort the cultural identity of one’s own law. And legal professionals may add: Comparative arguments impurify the doctrinal system of domestic law. In a nutshell, the influence of foreign law on national case law needs to be avoided. For there is a lot to lose, but little to gain. Proponents of comparative legal reasoning paint quite a different picture of foreign judges and jurisdictions. The origins of their idea lead us back to …

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Paving the Way for an Institutional Approach towards an Ethical Migration Regime

In thinking about moral principles for an international regime on migration, international lawyers and political theorists wishing to provide practical guidance should adopt a specific methodological approach suitable for international institutions. This paper proposes a methodological tool entitled “normative reflexive dialogue” to support theorists in dealing with the current institutional realities while developing and justifying moral principles that international institutions should follow. After describing the basic features of this approach, which links legal analysis with moral reasoning, GATS Mode 4 will be used as an example of a methodological approach to generating some substantive moral principles for a migration regime.

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Recension: Efectos personales del divorcio respecto de los hijos – Review: Personal Effects of Divorce in Relation to Children

Recension: Carmen López‐Rendo Rodríguez, Efectos personales del divorcio respecto de los hijos, De Roma al Codigo civil español, RIDROM (online) 9, 2012, Pág. 249–270

Review: Carmen López‐Rendo Rodríguez, Personal Effects of Divorce in Relation to Children, from Classical Rome to the Spanish Civil Code, RIDROM (online) 9, 2012, pp. 249–270

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The Rudi Carrell Affair and its significance for the tension between theoterrorism and religious satire

This article treats a largely forgotten or unknown episode in recent German and Dutch history, namely the intimidation of the Dutch‐German showmaster Rudi Carrell by representatives of the Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1987. The author tries to analyze some of the moral and political dilemmas involved in this affair and makes some comparisons with later events, such as the fatwa on Salman Rushdie or the Cartoon Affair as featured in the latest satirical film by the Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

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The Republican Tragedy of the Commons - The Inefficiency of Democracy in the Light of Climate Change

This paper argues that an analysis of the dissatisfactory outcomes of international negotiations concerning climate change must take into account procedures of political decision‐making in democracies. Although the normative ideal of republican democracy has means of dealing with such dissatisfactory results, political processes in republican democracies take too much time and risk becoming stuck in tragic or dilemmatic decision structures when facing challenges such as climate change. Consequently, this paper discusses possibilities for redesigning republican democratic institutions to counter‐act these negative forces. However, all possibilities discussed either call into question the normative ideal of republican democracy itself or would take too much time to be realized.

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The Humanisation of Arms Control Law – On the Reorientation of Arms Control to Meet the Requirements of Human Security – Die Humanisierung des Waffenkontrollrechts – Zur Neuausrichtung der Waffenkontrolle auf menschliche Sicherheitsbedürfnisse

In den letzten Jahrzehnten lässt sich eine Neufokussierung des völkerrechtlichen Sicherheitskonzepts beobachten. Sicherheit wird nicht länger nur als eine zwischenstaatliche, sondern auch als eine innerstaatliche bzw. überstaatliche Angelegenheit verstanden, welche die Souveränitätshülle des Staates zu durchdringen vermag und den Schutz des Individuums, einzeln oder als Teil der Gesellschaft, in den Vordergrund stellt. Die Waffenkontrolle, als eines der klassischen Kerngebiete internationaler Sicherheitsbestrebungen, blieb von diesem Konzept der „menschlichen Sicherheit“ nicht unbeeinflusst. Dieser Beitrag zeigt auf, inwiefern diese Neuausrichtung des Sicherheitskonzepts zu einer „Humanisierung des Waffenkontrollrechts“ führte.

For some decades now, a new focus in the concept of security has become apparent under international law. Security is no longer understood merely as an international issue, but also as an internal or supra-national matter that can penetrate the carapace of state sovereignty and emphasises the protection of the individual, either separately or as a part of the society. Arms control, as one of the classic core areas of international security efforts, is not exempt from the influence of this concept of “human security”. This contribution shows to what extent this reorientation has led to a “humanisation of arms control law”.

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Published 13.06.2006
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