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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Ethics and Authority in International Law

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Alfred P. RubinTufts University, Massachusetts

ISBN13: 9780521582025
ISBN: 0521582024
Published: January 1998
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Format: Hardback
Price: Price on Application
Paperback edition , ISBN13 9780521046114

The specialised vocabularies of lawyers, ethicists, and political scientists obscure the roots of many real disagreements. In this book, the distinguished American international lawyer Alfred Rubin provides a penetrating account of where these roots lie, and argues powerfully that disagreements which have existed for 3,000 years are unlikely to be resolved soon. Current attempts to make 'war crimes' or 'terrorism' criminal under international law seem doomed to fail for the same reasons that attempts failed in the early nineteenth century to make piracy, war crimes, and the international traffic in slaves criminal under the law of nations. And for the same reasons, Professor Rubin argues, it is unlikely that an international criminal court can be instituted today to enforce ethicists' versions of 'international law'.

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1. Introduction; 2. The international legal order; 3. Theory and practice come together; 4. Putting it together; 5. Implications for today.