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World Peace Through Law: Rethinking an Old Theory

Abstract

The author sets about re-thinking the old concept of “World Peace Through Law” (WPTL), meaning replacing the use of international force with the global rule of law. He traces the history of the WPTL concept back to the British legal philosopher Jeremy Bentham, whose 1789 ‘Plan for an Universal and Perpetual Peace’ proposed “a plan of general and permanent pacification for all Europe,” with troop reductions(especially in naval forces) and “a Common Court of Judicature” to resolve differences between nations. The author’s 21st century version of WPTL bears an uncanny resemblance to Bentham’s original proposal, calling for: 1) arms reductions (including abolition of nuclear weapons); 2) a four-stage comprehensive system of compulsory alternative dispute resolution(compulsory negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and adjudication); and 3) various enforcement mechanisms, including an international peace force.

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