Emory International Law Review


Contrary to ethnocentric views of law, this Article proposes an inter-civilizational perspective of international law. This perspective provides an analytical tool to understand the importance of preserving and empowering diverse cultures and peoples. In a globalized world, there is an increasing recognition of the contributions of diverse cultures and nations, including indigenous, to the economic development and the cultural heritage of humankind. The Article focuses on the importance of the resolution of a historical and ongoing ethnic conflict between the people of Tawantinsuyu, especially the Quechua and Aymara, and the descendants of Spanish conquistadores who continue to pursue policies to undermine indigenous civilizations. This Article makes the case for the implementation of indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, in its remedial and internal aspects, as one of the foundations for the peaceful resolution of ethnic conflicts in Bolivia, where the decedents of the people of Tawantinsuyu are a significant part of the population. To accomplish this objective, it analyzes historical and legal ideas that have sustained the natural right to self-determination of indigenous peoples. It also addresses issues regarding ethnocentric, unjust normative discourses that justified the conquest and colonization of the Inca realm. The Article evaluates historical and anthropological facts regarding indigenous nations that were affected by the ideas and actions of Spanish thinkers and conquerors. The international relations between the Inca Empire and Spain are an excellent case study to understand the importance of cultural presuppositions in the construction of international normative ideas that have influenced international relations between diverse civilizations.