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From a Soft Law Process to Hard Law Obligations

The Kimberley Process and Contemporary International Legislative Process

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2014
Keywords Kimberley Process, soft law, international law, legislative process
Authors Martin-Joe Ezeudu
AbstractAuthor's information

    Ever since its creation and coming into force in 2003, the Kimberley Process has elicited a number of academic commentaries coming from different backgrounds. Legal scholars who have contributed to the commentaries, simply projected the regulatory regime as an international soft law without further analysis, based on an evaluation of the text of the agreement. This article in contrast, explores its practical effects and the manner of obligations that it imposes on its participant countries. It argues that although the regime may have been a soft law by classification, its obligations are hard and are no different from those of a conventional treaty. Those obligations enhance its juridical force, and are a factor by which the regime on its own tends to nullify the traditional criteria for distinction between hard and soft law in international jurisprudence, because it has elements of both.


Martin-Joe Ezeudu
PhD (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, Canada); LLM (University of Birmingham, UK); LLB (Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria); Barrister & Solicitor, Nigeria; Solicitor, England & Wales. An articling student at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General (Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Consumer Services), Toronto, Canada. I am grateful to Prof Ikechi Mgbeoji who introduced me to this line of research. My thanks to Mr Tom van der Meer for his helpful comments on an earlier draft of this article. All errors and omissions remain mine. Dedicated to the loving memory of my brother, Chukwuemeka Innocent Ezeudu ‍–‍ a true brother and companion.
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