Crimes Against Humanity
The Struggle for Global Justice
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|Format:||Hardback, 496 pages|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 01 July 1999|
This text explains, without legal jargon, exactly what the rules of international human rights are and what they should be, how they have developed, and in what courts and tribunals they may be asserted and vindicated. There is a discussion of the development of human rights as philosophy, then as law. A series of chapters deal with particular late-1990s issues, also explaining the procedures for asserting the rules in different courts and tribunals. A concluding chapter makes proposals for the future, suggesting a shift from diplomacy to institutions which can recognize and enforce human rights rules. The book includes an analysis of the war crimes trials at the Hague, the first occasion since Nuremburg on which the international community has attempted to punish violators of human rights.
Table of Contents
Part 1 The human rights story: in the beginning - natural rights; revolutions and declarations; the 19th century - Bentham, Marx and the humanitarian impulse; between wars - the League of Nations and Stalin's show trials; H.G. Wells - what are we fighting for?; the universal declaration of human rights. Part 2 The post-war world: 1946-76 - thirty inglorious years; the human rights commission - a permanent failure?; the civil covenant and its human rights committee; some enforcement at last - the European convention, and other regions; "realpolitik" rules OK; the Srebrenica question. Part 3 The rights of humankind: making human rights rule - the international law paradox; the Statue of Liberty; safety of the person; individual freedoms; the right to fairness; peaceful enjoyment of property. Part 4 21st century blues: freedom from execution; death penalty safeguards; minority rights; indigenous peoples; self-determination; economic and social rights; a right to democracy?. Part 5 War law: in search of the just war; the Geneva Conventions; good conventions - chemical, nuclear and conventional weapons, and landmines; the dogs of war. Part 6 An end to impunity?: the Nuremberg legacy; international criminals - pirates, slavers and kaisers; the Nazi leaders -summary execution?; the trial; judgement day; victors' justice?; towards universal jurisdiction (genocide, torture, apartheid). Part 7 Slouching towards nemesis: into this blackness; the duty to prosecute; the limits of amnesty; truth commissions and transitional justice; the case for retribution. Part 8: legal basis of the Hague tribunal; how the tribunal operates; the "Tadic case"; individual responsibility. Part 9 The international criminal court: Rome 1998 - the statute; international crimes; the court; the trial; the future. Part 10 The case for General Pinochet: an arrest in Harley Street; the state in international law; sovereign immunity; bring on the diplomats; the law takes its course. Part 10 Epilogue: after Kosovo; appendices.
A British lawyer long involved in human rights observations and tribunals, Robinson writes of the history and the contemporary politics of international human rights. He devotes a chapter each to the history of human rights law; the case of General Pinochet; the "Guernica Paradox" (that is, bombing in the service of human rights); the International Court; and recent events in the Balkans, East Timor, Latin America and the U.S. An unabashed supporter of international military intervention, Robinson puts individuals' rights above the right of national sovereignty. Passionate almost to a fault, he occasionally even argues that morality, the defense of human rights, should supersede the rule of international law. To his credit, he is consistently willing to criticize all sidesÄand he does criticize the U.S. Congress (for what he says is its occasional desire to place U.S. interests above international human rights), U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (for what Robinson considers his occasional incompetence) and anyone who'd excuse human rights violations in the name of cultural relativism. The author's disgust with the U.N.'s inaction leads him to propose that the human rights community form a separate organization to deal with the issue. At times, Robinson's intense focus on law may blind him to important holes in his argument. But overall, this is an erudite book that adds sophistication to the debate on a crucial subject. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
The author, a distinguished British barrister, has written a complex and demanding account of the developing regime of international human rights. Specifically, he focuses on the "struggle" (as the subtitle says) to hold accountable those who use state sovereignty as an exculpatory defense of government acts of repression, torture, and genocide. He also explains the gradual transformation of the ideals of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights into domestic law through international covenants. Much of this task remains to be completed, and Robertson is not the first to comment on the significance of the Hague Tribunal concerning former Yugoslavia or even the recent case involving Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet. Nevertheless, his account is told with abundant detail, rigorous analysis, and tenacious advocacy. Robertson is especially critical of the Pentagon for opposing recent efforts to create an effective international criminal court and the right-wing advisers of Gen. Douglas MacArthur for preventing a trial of Japanese Emperor Hirohito. This book balances an optimistic prognosis for the recognition of human rights with an acknowledgment that no leadership of a major power will likely be held accountable for their violation. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.DZachary T. Irwin, Behrend Coll., Pennsylvania State Univ., Erie Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
|Publisher: ||Allen Lane|
|Dimensions: ||24.0 x 16.0 x 4.0 centimeters (0.92 kg)|