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Language as a Medium of Legal Norms

Implications of the Use of Arabic as a Language in the United Nations System

Edzard, Lutz

Schriften zum Völkerrecht, Vol. 131


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Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Table of Contents\r 9
Tables\r 14
Abbreviations\r 15
Notes on language use and transcription\r 16
Chapter One: Introduction 17
Chapter Two: Basic legal and linguistic issues regarding Arabic and Islam 22
A. Historical background: Middle East and North Africa 22
B. Religious background: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam 26
C. Legal background: Islamic law 29
D. Linguistic background: Arabic 33
I. General observations 33
II. Arabic as a modern language of diplomacy 34
III. Types of Arabic documents in the UN system 37
1. Overview 37
2. Bi- and multilateral treaties 37
3. Diplomatic correspondence 41
4. Periodic reports 45
5. Oral contributions 47
IV. Linguistic features of diplomatic Arabic 48
1. Syntactic features 48
2. Lexical features 49
3. Stylistic features 51
4. Pragmatic features 53
5. Islamic formulae 54
E. Summary of Chapter Two 57
Chapter Three: The theory of interpretation 58
A. Legal and linguistic interpretation 58
B. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 60
C. Speech Act Theory 62
D. A typology of diplomatic misunderstanding 66
I. General considerations 66
II. The extension coincides, the intension differs 68
III. The extension differs, the intension coincides 69
IV. The extension differs, the intension differs 70
V. The extension coincides, the intension coincides partially 72
E. Summary of Chapter Three 73
Chapter Four: Application of the theory of interpretation to the realm of war and peace 74
A. Overview of problems 74
I. Basic considerations 74
II. The Islamic concept of jihād 75
III. Islam and terrorism 76
IV. Contemporary conflicts in the Arab world 77
V. The diplomatic use of the term “Zionism” 79
B. The Palestine conflict (“Middle East conflict”) 82
I. Overview of general discourse problems 82
II. The McMahon-Husayn correspondence (1915/1916) 85
III. The Armistice Agreements of 1949 between Israel and its neighbors 87
IV. The Camp David Peace Accord between Israel and Egypt 87
V. The Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO 88
VI. The Washington Declaration between Israel and Jordan 89
VII. The Treaty of Peace between Israel and Jordan 90
VIII. The Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron 90
C. The Iraq-Kuwait crisis 91
I. Overview of general discourse problems 91
II. Crucial documents 93
D. The Iraqi concepts of “law”, “truth”, “peace”, and “justice”: a comparative analysis of the traditional methods of treaty interpretation and Speech Act Theory 105
I. Basic considerations 105
II. The traditional methods of treaty interpretation 105
III. Speech Act Theory 106
E. Summary of Chapter Four 107
Chapter Five: Application of the theory of interpretation to the realm of human rights 108
A. Overview of problems 108
I. Basic considerations 108
II. “Western” vs. “Islamic” approaches to the issue 112
B. The periodic reports submitted to international treaty bodies 116
I. Synopsis: accession of Islamic states to international human rights conventions and their reservations 116
II. The situation in the Arab states and in Iran 120
III. The specific problems 124
1. Types of reservations 124
2. Hidden precepts 126
3. List of conflicting norms between international law and the Islamic šarīca 128
IV. Overview of the specific problems, as appearing in UN documents 130
1. Personal statute law 130
a) Muslims vs. non-Muslims 130
b) Men vs. women 131
c) Freedom of religion, thought, and conscience 131
2. Family law 132
a) Prohibition of marriage between Muslim women and non-Muslim men 133
b) Lack of freedom in contracting marriage 133
c) Polygamy up to four wives 133
d) Complementary distribution of “rights” and “obligations” 134
e) Prohibition against women leaving the house, or traveling without husband’s permission 139
f) Institution of dowry 141
g) Asymmetry in divorce regulations 141
h) Prohibition of adoption 142
3. Law of succession 146
4. Penal law 146
a) Absolute prohibition against Muslims changing religion 146
b) Ḥudūd sentences 147
5. Law of procedure 148
C. The Islamic concept of “equality”: a comparative analysis of the traditional methods of treaty interpretation and Speech Act Theory 148
I. Basic considerations 148
II. The traditional methods of treaty interpretation 149
III. Speech Act Theory 150
D. Evaluation of the arguments 152
I. The anachronistic nature of the arguments 152
II. Discrepancies within Islamic theory 152
III. Discrepancies between Islamic theory and practice 152
IV. Comparable issues in other religions 153
V. Problem of maintenance of status quo 153
VI. Insistence on international human rights principles 154
VII. The Islamic concept of ijtihād 154
E. Summary of Chapter Five 156
Chapter Six: Case study: application of the theory of interpretation to the definition of “ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities” in UN documents 158
A. Overview of problems 158
I. Basic considerations 158
II. Instruments of international law for the protection of minorities 160
III. The data and the issues 161
IV. Linguistic strata 168
B. Problems in the discussions of the treaty bodies 170
C. Case study: the Turkish-Kurdish conflict 172
D. Analysis: application of Speech Act Theory 177
E. Summary of Chapter Six 180
Chapter Seven: Conclusion 181
A. General observations 181
B. Legal aspects 181
C. Linguistic aspects 184
D. Summary of Chapter Seven 185
Appendix: Analytical catalogue of data and sources 187
A. Arabic terminology 187
I. Glossary of Arabic legal/religious and political terms 187
II. Arabic honorifics 189
B. Arabic terminology sources 190
I. Specialized dictionaries and manuals 190
II. List of UN terminology manuals 190
C. Sources for treaties and other diplomatic documents 193
D. List of quoted treaties and declarations 193
I. Bilateral treaties and declarations (in chronological order) 193
II. Pluri- and multilateral treaties and declarations (in chronological order) 194
E. List of quoted UN documents 196
I. List of letters, resolutions, verbatim records, special reports, legal references, and other documents 196
II. List of periodic reports by Arab states and Iran, summary records of discussions, and concluding observations 199
F. List of other quoted documents 215
G. List of quoted cases, pleadings, and judgments 216
H. Original Arabic quotations 216
References 234
A. Arabic references 234
B. Non-Arabic references 235
Index 249
A. Index of names 249
B. Index of subjects 254