The History and Legacy of State Responsibility for Rebels 1839-1930: Protecting Trade and Investment against Revolution in the Decolonised World

  • Hernández (Supervisor)

Activity: PhD supervision and PhD examination typesPhD examinationAcademic


Kathryn Greenman's thesis traces the emergence and contestation of the rules of state responsibility for rebels during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It begins with a series of mixed claims commissions involving Latin American states which took place between 1839–1927 and then moves through the scholarly debates that proliferated from the turn of the twentieth century onwards. It finishes with the 1930 League of Nations Codification Conference where a group of Latin American states, in coalition with the former states of Austria-Hungary, blocked the agreement of a convention on state responsibility. The thesis argues that the rules of state responsibility for rebels were the product of intervention in Latin America, in particular its turn to arbitration, and the contestation thereof, in the context of a struggle over the transition from old colonialism to new imperialism in the region: its integration into the global economy and the re-ordering of political and economic relations after decolonisation. This research thus contributes to our understanding of the role international law has played in economic ordering after decolonisation. It is also a story of resistance: of how formerly-colonised states used their new institutional power at the League of Nations to defeat international legal rules they felt were biased against them. However, despite their demise after 1930, the rules of state responsibility for rebels had an afterlife. This thesis concludes by arguing that this legacy reveals how international law continues to prioritise the protection of foreign investment against rebels in the decolonised world.
Period19 May 2019
ExamineeKathryn Greenman
Examination held at
  • University of Amsterdam