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100 years of the DGIR: Germany’s commitment to international law remains strong

16.03.2017 - Article

The German Society of International Law (DGIR) celebrates its centenary this year. In his address, Foreign Minister Gabriel explained why international law is irreplaceable, for Germany and the world.

The centenary of the German Society of International Law – Foreign Minister Gabriel in Berlin
The centenary of the German Society of International Law – Foreign Minister Gabriel in Berlin© Florian Gärtner/photothek.de

100 years ago, the Great War raged throughout Europe. The order that had ensured peace on the continent was in tatters. And yet, undeterred by those oppressive times, German jurists took a step that rang with optimism: they founded the German Society of International Law (DGIR) in 1917. They had a vision – academics and practitioners would be able, through their concerted efforts, to advance international law in a spirit of international understanding. Since then, the DGIR has made an important contribution to the acceptance of binding and fair rules governing the coexistence of states around the world in all legal spheres.

International law for peace and justice

US jurist Thomas Buergenthal and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel
US jurist Thomas Buergenthal and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel© Florian Gärtner/photothek.de

At a special event in the Federal Foreign Office, Foreign Minister Gabriel congratulated the DGIR and thanked the international jurists for their dedication and hard work. He made particular mention of the Society’s members who served as judges on international courts and tribunals. “Strengthening international law is a fundamental tenet of German foreign policy”, Gabriel stated. Germany works worldwide for the further development of international law. Clear and accepted rules are more vital than ever if we want to settle conflicts peacefully and make globalisation fairer.

Precisely because we are living through a period of global power shifts, we have to place more importance than ever on the regulatory power of law. Not naively. But resolutely, keeping our interests and values firmly in sight.

Germany has signed and ratified more than 6500 international treaties. German diplomats work hard at international level to strengthen the position of international courts. Germany is the second-largest contributor to the International Criminal Court and hosts the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg.

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