Is the American perspective on the enforcement of international law compatible with the French perspective? For American legal scholars, the term enforcement is sometimes used as the equivalent of the following French notions: mise en oeuvre, application, and also coercition. The American term enforcement appears to be used in situations where the French prefer legal terms that are closer to the connotation of implementation rather than that of enforcement. What are the consequences of the use of such different terms? Is there, behind the use of different language, with different meanings and approaches, a different perspective on the enforcement of international law as between France and the United States? The question of the enforcement of international law can be examined from at least two perspectives. On the one hand, it is possible to analyze the way international law is enforced in domestic legal orders and municipal law. But international law can also be enforced using international mechanisms. This Article will analyze enforcement in the field of collective security, as it is the most controversial field of enforcement action. The relevant mechanisms in this field are mainly economic sanctions and armed interventions. One should note that in the field of economic sanctions, the French position is better viewed as part of the European position. Indeed, the power to adopt sanctions against third-party States has been delegated by member States to the European Community. In this sense, it is not possible to identify a uniquely French position. Military sanctions are the other tool used to enforce international law that are analyzed in this Article. International practice has recently made military measures somewhat commonplace, presenting them as merely another way of enforcing international law. Currently, it is still possible to speak about a real French perspective -and not a European one--as military intervention remains mainly within the power of States, and is a responsibility that has only been partially delegated to the European Union. Moreover, European practice in this field is strongly influenced by the French experience. Furthermore, the interest of analyzing these two mechanisms of enforcement is that they illustrate an erroneous but common position, namely that the United States has a broader notion of the enforcement of international law than other States, and notably, one that is broader than its continental European allies. American and French perspectives on the enforcement of international law are in fact not as distant as one would imagine. This Article will examine and compare enforcement actions led by the United States and by France, and the underlying justifications for each country's respective actions. Such an examination raises many questions: What arguments are used to justify enforcement action in the field of collective security? Which arguments are invoked by the United States? Are the arguments France invokes as different as we currently assume? Does the United States truly have a broader conception of the legality of enforcement actions, one closer to the notion of legitimacy, while France defends a narrow conception of international legality? The answers to these questions are different than one might expect, and require further discussion. But first of all, clarification of the relevant words used by each country in this area oflaw is merited. Are the two countries speaking the same language when the United States talks about 'enforcement,' and France talks of coercition?
Ana P. Llopis,
Collective Security and the International Enforcement of International Law: French and American Perspectives,
Me. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/mlr/vol58/iss2/11