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Over a centry ago, a precursor to the International Court of Justice, usually called the World Court, was created. The US had an important role in founding the Court, and a US citizen - Andrew Carnegie - funded the Peace Palace, the building in which the World Court still convenes.
However, in 1985, during the second Reagan-Bush administration, the US effectively withdrew its suport and authority from the Court in response to its ruling on the US use of force in Nicaragua. Since that time, the role of the World Court has grown in importance internationally even though the US refuses to participate fully.
As the US role has been so attenuated, the full story of the World Court has not been told. Howard Meyer traces the World Court all the way back to the Hague Conference of 1899 and shows its development through World War I, the League of Nations, World War II and the Cold War, up to the contemporary challenges of East Timor and Kosovo.
More recently, Meyer distinguishes between the nation-state oriented work of the World Court and the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which was proposed in 1998 to prosecute individual war criminals like Milosevic and others coming out of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
As different as they are, the World Court and the ICC have a common problem which this book seeks to address: resistance in Washington to the international rule of law, especially when it comes to authority surrounding the use of force.