Latin American International Law

Authored by: Liliana Obregón

Routledge Handbook of International Law

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  January  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415418768
eBook ISBN: 9780203884621
Adobe ISBN: 9781134113095


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This chapter points to the importance of sovereignty as a principle that helped to underwrite the international legal system that developed among the newly independent Latin American states in the nineteenth century. It shows how a distinctive Latin American International Law (LAIL) emerged that drew on the experience of the “creole” elites both during and after Spanish rule. The transnational legal consciousness that underpinned this continued to be influential with attempts to articulate a regional IL in the twentieth century: albeit one that still reflected the outlook of the (male) elites. LAIL can be understood as an expression of international legal “regionalism,” which has been defined as a particular set of approaches and methods for examining the question of universality in international law, its historical development, and substantive issues or forms of legal method. After the 1960s Latin American regionalist perspectives in international law became scarce and thus gradually irrelevant and forgotten. However, the leading regional organization, the Organization of American States, and its Inter-American System of Human Rights, is often remembered as the institutional result of more than a century of Latin American regionalist thought in international law.

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