United States Practice in International Law

United States Practice in International Law

United States Practice in International Law

United States Practice in International Law

Synopsis

Sean D. Murphy's wide-ranging and in-depth 2002 survey of U.S. practice in international law in the period 1999–2001 draws upon the statements and actions of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government to examine its involvement across a range of areas. These areas include diplomatic and consular relations, jurisdiction and immunities, state responsibility and liability, international organizations, international economic law, human rights, and international criminal law. At the time of its first publication this summary of the most salient issues was a central resource on U.S. practice in international law. The volume contains extracts from hard-to-find documents, generous citations to relevant sources, tables of cases and treaties, and a detailed index. Revealing international law in the making, this essential tool for researchers and practitioners was the first in a series of books capturing the international law practice of a global player.

Excerpt

During 1999–2001, in the waning years of the administration of William J. Clinton, the United States remained actively engaged in the use of international law and international institutions to advance the interests of the United States. the Clinton administration focused strongly on use of international law and institutions to promote the economic interests of the United States, both in containing severe global market turmoil during this period and in aggressively fighting foreign trade barriers. the administration successfully negotiated trade agreements with Jordan, Vietnam and China, but Congress did not grant “fast-track” authority for more ambitious trade negotiations. With the World Trade Organization still in its early years, the United States pursued dispute settlement before the wto on matters such as bananas and hormone-treated beef, while at the same time seeking to fend off challenges relating to U.S. tax benefits for its “foreign sales corporations” and other matters. the Clinton administration also sought to use multilateral institutions in a range of areas, including to provide debt relief for the most poor nations and to combat the aids epidemic in Africa.

Where feasible, the Clinton administration also built its foreign policy around notions of advancing the rule of law, human rights, and democracy worldwide, placing great emphasis on supporting the ad hoc international criminal tribunals; developing creative ways of compensating victims of human rights abuses that occurred during the Second World War; using the United Nations to impose economic sanctions on “rogue states”; signing treaties relating to the rights of children; and implementing existing human rights treaties through legislation and reporting. Extensive efforts were made toward the pacific settlement of disputes in areas of great tension and conflict, such as in North Korea and the Middle East. the U.S. role in advancing new techniques of international adjudication could be seen in the creation of a Scottish court in the Netherlands to try Libyan suspects implicated in the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, and in the arbitration established to resolve the control of Brčko in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

At the same time, the Clinton administration’s fidelity to human rights was tempered. Foreign election irregularities, and even the usurpation abroad of democratically elected leaders, typically was addressed through diplomatic measures rather than economic or military sanctions. in most instances of widespread deprivation of human rights, such as in East Timor, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and the Great Lakes region of Africa, the United States refrained from projecting military force to uphold the rule of law. By contrast, military force was aggressively deployed in a NATOauthorized effort to forestall human rights abuses in Kosovo, raising difficult issues regarding the authorization for such force under international . . .

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