Academic journal article Harvard International Review
And Justice for All?: The New Era of International Law. (Editor's Note)
International law is the object of both great hope and great fear. In an era of unprecedented globalization, international legal institutions serve as vehicles for the facilitation of commerce and cooperation among nations. And in the last year, after the worst act of international crime in history, many view international law as a prerequisite for justice. Yet there is no doubt that the desire for a global legal order is resisted by many, and for good reason. International law demands the limitation of state sovereignty and raises new fears of abuse. Our symposium examines the history of international law and assesses possibilities for its application today.
First, New York University Global Visiting Professor Ratna Kapur presents some of the concerns surrounding international law in the context of the post-September II world. Her critique examines abuses of legitimate authority that have been undertaken in an overzealous application of international standards and raises the question of whether a legal definition of terrorism is possible. Human-rights attorney and author Geoffrey Robertson is also troubled by recent developments in international law, especially the use of military tribunals to try suspected terrorists. Full trials, he argues, are not only required by justice but also offer the best chance of demystifying terrorists' ideologies. These two authors outline some of the most pressing challenges to a just international legal order. …