Journal of the International Law Department of the University of Miskolc

Miskolc Journal of International Law

Miskolci Nemzetközi Jogi Közlemények


Vol. 3. (2006) No. 2. pp. 55-56.


Baltic Yearbook of International Law


review by Eszter Kirs



The Baltic Yearbook is an annual publication which was founded in 2001. The managing editor of the Yearbook is Carin Laurin and its editorial board consists of scholars from the three Baltic States, such as Egidijus Bieliunas (Judge, Supreme Court of Lithuania), Aivars Fogels (Associate Professor, University of Latvia) or Tanel Kerikmäe (Associate Dean of Estonian Law, Concordia International University). They are assisted by an international advisory board.


The Yearbook is published by Martinus Nijhoff Publishers in the Netherlands. Its editorial office can be found at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) in Sweden. The Institute is an independent academic institution with the main aim of advancing knowledge and understanding of international human rights law and promoting respect for and fulfilment of human rights through research, education, and overall capacity building. The Institute supports three other journals in the field of international law beyond the Baltic Yearbook: the Chinese Yearbook of Human Rights, the International Journal on Minority and Group Rights and the Nordic Journal of International Law.


Each volume of the Yearbook focuses on a specific issue. The volumes appeared till now covered the subjects of ‘Enlargement and Further Integration of the European Union’, ‘Reparations for Internationally Wrongful Acts of States’, ‘Bioethics and Human Rights’ and ‘International Legal Status of the Baltic States’. The recent volume of 2005 focuses on the very actual problems of ‘Humanitarian Intervention and Other Use of Force’.


Among the articles there are studies dealing with the more general issues of historical aspects and the legal rules applicable for legitimate use of force, but the chapter on humanitarian intervention covers also more specific and urgent matters, such as different approaches of the notion of ‘pre-emptive’ and ‘anticipatory self-defence’. It determines the question whether self-defence can be legitimate if the necessity for that can not be called instant. The author examines the problem with special consideration on the examples of the Caroline case and the attacks carried out against Afghanistan and Iraq. In the case of the latter instance for use of force, the question arises whether the new concept of revived authorization can be accepted. After the highly debatable argument referred on by the United States and the United Kingdom, the material breach of the ceasefire conditions set out in the UN Security Council Resolution 687 (1991) committed by Iraq revives the authority to use force under the Resolution 678 adopted in 1990!


Among such problematic issues, operational problems related to the United Nations peacekeeping activities are discussed as well, focusing on the examples of intervention in Somalia and Kosovo. Beyond the co-ordination matters of the actions conducted by armed forces of member states, the relevant articles of the Yearbook deal with the more and more urgent necessity for an appropriate reform of the structure and function of the United Nations and introduce in a detailed way, why the reform of the Security Council is inevitable to develop the efficiency and to avoid the failure of future humanitarian interventions carried out by the Organization.


Beyond the articles belonging to the certain specific theme, each Yearbook contains a chapter for articles on several general issues related to the development of international law and one for a review of the practice of Baltic States, statements and actions of state institutions of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania which have relevance in the field of international law. The information included in this chapter is not available from any other source, therefore the Baltic Yearbook ensures a unique possibility to get an insight to the Baltic approach of international law.