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Countermeasures, the International Legal System, and Environmental Violations: When T ...

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Countermeasures, the International Legal System, and Environmental Violations:

Introduction and Main Findings

(A) Opening Remarks: When Two Wrongs Make a Right

My parents and, later, my wife diligently tried to teach me that two wrongs do not make a right. Although I generally agree with the notion, it might not be true in all instances. One of such instances is the countermeasures doctrine. It permits a state that is a victim of an international wrong to commit another international wrong in order to remedy the situation. Thus, two wrongs can make a right.

In an anarchical society of independent states, unilateral measures play an important role. Fortunately, this does not mean that most states act unilaterally most of the time. On the contrary, cooperation is the keyword in most areas of international relations and international law. However, unlike most developed domestic legal systems, the international legal system is not equipped with a comprehensive judicial system or effective enforcement system.