Defending the Society of States: Why America Opposes the International Criminal Court and Its Vision of World Society

By Jason Ralph | Go to book overview

Preface and Acknowledgements

The origins of this book can be traced to my undergraduate module PIED3625 Human Rights and International Society, which I taught at the University of Leeds from 1999 onwards. I developed this module partly because I was not particularly interested in teaching cold war history, but mostly because I was fascinated by the moral, political, and legal dilemmas raised by the Kosovo conflict of that year. It is easy to overlook the fact that, at such an early stage of my teaching career, I was given the intellectual freedom to pursue my interests in this way. For that I wish to thank my colleagues at Leeds. I would also like to thank Charlotte Bretherton, who as an external examiner offered some very kind words about the module and has continued to be a source of support and encouragement. It is less easy to forget the role that the students on this module played in encouraging me to develop the module's central ideas and its case studies. Their thoughtful enthusiasm helped make teaching this module a particularly rewarding experience.

The early versions of this module concentrated on theories of international society and explored the dilemmas posed by humanitarian intervention. An examination of international criminal justice came later. I made the decision to start writing in this area for two reasons. First, the reading list was not short of references in the area of the English School and humanitarian intervention but there was clearly a gap when it came to political analyses of international criminal justice. Second, it became obvious that many of the themes highlighted by English School authors were acutely relevant to the question of international criminal justice. Moreover, the framework they offered helped me and the students to understand a practice that was becoming increasingly common. Of course, the year 1999 not only gave us the military campaign in Kosovo, it gave us the indictment of Milosevic and the House of Lords judgments on the possible extradition of Pinochet. In addition, the world was slowly coming to terms with the fact that a year earlier states had agreed to set up the International Criminal Court. It was an exciting time to be introduced to these issues. What made that time particularly stimulating were the conversations I was able to have with Martin Cinnamond, who is just completing a Ph.D. thesis on the dilemmas raised by cosmopolitan law enforcement. Martin's commitment to, and knowledge of, his subject is infectious and having him around to test ideas was a real boost to my initial inquiries. No doubt he has a promising career ahead of him but I hope he looks back as

-vii-

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