Gaetano Arangio Ruiz

Gaetano Arangio-Ruiz’s (GAR)’s views on International law differ considerably from the ideas prevailing in Italy and abroad. Moving from the correct concept of juristic persons (personnes morales), he identifies the State’s international person with a merely factual entity as distinct from the juristic person of national law. Considering the inexistence of a universal legal community of mankind, States factually coexist not as provinciae totius horbis, in the sense in which the member States of the United States of America or the German Länder are integrated within their respective federal systems. They coexist, instead, under a system of written and unwritten (customary) rules of their own making, rightly described by Holland as “Private Law Writ Large”. The factual nature of international persons is confirmed by the lack of a legal integrated community of mankind. The two propositions  coexist like two faces of the same coin.  Jealous as they are of their independence, they resist any authority of other States or any conceivable international organization. As well as the League of Nations, created after the First World War, the United Nations consist essentially of merely contractual rules and their organs, composed by States themselves, only emanate (except in the area of security), mere non-binding resolutions, lacking any autonomous authority.

Furthermore, the UN collective security system, lacking independent armed forces and unjustly characterized by the special veto power reserved to five member States, has proved to be (with only one small exception) generally inefficient. The practice of the United Nations confirms the lack of any overarching supremacy of the organization over member States and their peoples.

Such views are extensively and more clearly developed in one of GAR’s latest works: The “Dual State”, International Law and the United Nations: a Reply to Charles Leben (in Studi Giuridici in ricordo di Giovanni Battaglini, Jovene, Napoli, 2013).

A more general – and generous – evaluation of GAR’s contribution to international law can be read in L. Picchio Forlati, G. Palmisano, La lezione di una vita: cos’è e com’è il diritto internazionale (in F. Lattanzi, A. Giardina, Studi di diritto internazionale in onore di Gaetano Arangio-Ruiz, 3 vol., Editoriale Scientifica, Napoli, 2004, vol. I, pp. XVII-LVIII).