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Volume 69 Number 4 (Winter 2002) International Justice, War Crimes, and Terrorism: The U.S. Record

Volume 69 Number 4 (Winter 2002) International Justice, War Crimes, and Terrorism: The U.S. Record

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Volume 69, Number 4 (Winter 2002)


Martin Peretz Part I: Just and Unjust War: Introduction
The article discusses papers published within the issue including one by Richard Holbrooke on the ethical aspects of war, and another by Michael Walzer on the theory of just war.

Richard Holbrooke
Just and Unjust Wars: A Diplomat's Perspective
The article discusses the author's perspectives on the moral and ethical aspects of the war headed by the U.S. The author stresses that an individual's just war can be an act of terrorism or genocide on another. Moreover, he notes that those who do murderous activities justify their actions by invoking religion or nationalism. He believes that relativism has influenced American foreign policy. Thus, he points out that the greatest dilemma that needs to be addressed in discussing just and unjust wars is the nature of modern wars, which he emphasizes as the factors that need to be considered by the U.S. in building a national army to maintain peace in the Middle East.

Michael Walzer
The Triumph of Just War Theory (and the Dangers of Success)
The article discusses the author's views on various issues surrounding the just war theory in the U.S. He examines the application of the theory in the Vietnam war, wherein many civilians were killed. He thinks that the war was fought badly, like there were no moral limits to it. He also criticized the bombing of Iraq in 1991 which had many civilian fatalities. To him, such an attack does not meet the just war standards, which should have included the protection of civilians. He thinks the intervention of the U.S. was driven by geopolitical and strategic motives. In conclusion, the author believes that just war theory is not an excuse for any particular war. Rather, it is deigned to sustain constant scrutiny...

Arthur Helton
Part II: The Training of the Military: National Law and Teaching the Geneva Conventions: Introduction: Training the Military
The article explores the legality of the use of military force with reference to the provisions of the Geneva Conventions. The author notes that according to a study, humanitarian law in the Geneva Conventions presents a series of dilemma on how a war should be fought. He states that many terms in such law refer to collateral damage on the issue of military and civilian objects in the course of war fighting. Furthermore, humanitarian law has become the basis for human rights group to monitor the conduct of military operations. Thus, the author believes that this issue should be addressed for it has profound implications for military training.

Charles Garraway
Training: The Whys and Wherefores
The article reflects on the importance of having the right military training for a nation's armed forces. The author thinks that training must be effective in order to justify the need for it. He believes that the basic principles of humanity found in law of armed conflict should also be taught. He emphasizes that military force is not the main solution to conflict rather, it is just a small part of the solution. It is the way peace is handled that will decide the ultimate success of conflict resolution. Thus, military training should not only be strategic but moral, ethical and legal as well.

Anthony E. Hartle
Atrocities in War: Dirty Hands and Noncombatants
The article focuses on the issue of atrocities by U.S. military personnel in the war against terrorism with reference to the Dirty Hands principle. As a veteran of the Vietnam War, the author learned to function efficiently and professionally as a soldier. Though at that time it did not bother him that prisoners were tortured, looking back at it now, he believes that his reaction was a result of the training he has had. Thus, he emphasizes that military training should center on the laws of war which include the two principles: one, human suffering must be minimized, and two, each person merits respect. These, he concludes, oppose atrocities, and maintains honor without immoral or illegal acts.

W. Hays Parks
The United States Military and the Law of War: Inculcating an Ethos
The article discusses the association between military conduct in war and its law of war training in the U.S. The author believes that law of war training is just a part of an integrated program to implement a government's international law obligations. To effectively implement it requires a fundamental moral element within the military. The author emphasizes that it is the command's responsibility to promulgate directives and provide guides for law of war instruction, which is important in maintaining military discipline. In conclusion, he states that the degree to which governments and their military forces have instituted this law of war training program determines its success.

Bob Kerrey
International Justice, War Crimes, and Terrorism: Keynote Address
The article discusses various concepts on how the U.S. conducts itself in war with reference to the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and its ongoing war against terrorism. The author thinks that national and international tribunal should not be used as remedy for war crimes. He emphasizes the need for the military to conduct war according to the requirements of the Geneva Conventions. Although he believes that the deployment of forces in self-defense and threat reduction is understandable and justified bases for military actions, he still holds that self-preservation is far from noble. In conclusion, the author presents agenda for dealing with issues relating to international justice and war crimes.

Andrew Arato
Part IV: International Law and Justice: Introduction
The article discusses various papers published within the issue regarding the idea of international law. The author mentions the essays of Michael Walzer and Richard Holbrooke which have divided views on international order. He notes the kinds of objections raised concerning an exaggerated emphasis on international law. Furthermore, he states that it is the assumption of the papers that the international realm is not a state of nature. He emphasizes that the papers within the issue presuppose that international morality is incomplete and defenseless without the presence of international law.

Gary Bass
Victor's Justice, Selfish Justice
The article discusses the application of victor's justice to political situations and war crimes. The author made a qualified defense of victor's justice by showing that only liberal states favor international war crimes tribunals. He believes that illiberal states negotiate with war criminals, or eliminate their enemies. Furthermore, he notes that liberal states have the ability to risk their soldiers for the sake of international justice. He believes that liberal states are more focused on punishing war crimes committed against their own citizens than those committed against foreigners. In conclusion, the author analyzes the implications of victor's justice for American foreign policy and its...

Richard J. Goldstone
International Law and Justice and America's War on Terrorism
The article discusses legal and ethical issues related to the war on terrorism in the U.S. The author notes that although the U.S. is a firm supporter of the Geneva Conventions, it displayed a disappointing behavior in treating the prisoners of war in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Furthermore, he believes that the U.S. failed to follow international tribunal in dealing with terrorist they have captured. He emphasizes that international law and justice depend on wide acceptance and adherence by members of the global community for it to be efficient and effective. However, he is certain that the success of the fight against terrorism is essential for the continued respect for and protection of human rights in the

Stephen Holmes
Why International Justice Limps
The article discusses the implication of transnational terrorism for both the international criminal justice system and civil liberties. According to the author, promoting international security from threats emanating from nonstate parties would have an effect on civil rights movement. With the growing need for a comprehensive reconfiguring of governmental powers to enhance international security, sacrifices would have to be made on liberty. These may include curtailment of unregulated markets, restrictions on freedom of information and freedom of speech, and abolition of the right to a free trial. However, as the author asserts, achieving consensus on international order would be difficult as long as the…

Kenneth Roth
The article discusses the evolution of the international system of justice. Accordingly, the creation of the concept of international justice was motivated by the unwillingness of the international community to take the necessary steps in stopping genocide in the early 1990s. Since then many international actions had taken place, including the establishment of tribunals for Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and Sierra Leone and the involvement of the United Nations in the justice process in Kosovo and East Timor. The most important of all these developments was the establishment of the International Criminal Court through a treaty ratified by more than 60 governments. Such development is significant not only…

Aryeh Neier
Bringing War Criminals to Justice: A Brief History
The article discusses the history of the development of the idea of universal jurisdiction and the establishment of the International Criminal Court. It cites earlier efforts in promoting war justice, including the trial in Greece for various atrocities that convicted two of the country's former presidents in the middle of 1970s and the establishment of international tribunals in Bosnia and the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. The author asserts that such efforts to do justice in international and in domestic tribunals will have a deterrent effect on crimes against humanity and will bring justice to victims of atrocities.

Samantha Power
Stopping Genocide and Securing Justice: Learning by Doing
The article examines the record of the U.S. in responding to global genocide as well as the progress of international tribunals in promoting justice. The American record spans from the 1915 Armenian genocide until the 1990s atrocities in Bosnia and Rwanda, while international tribunals were created only in the early 1990s. It has been observed that most of the actions of the U.S. were soft sanctions against authoritarian governments which failed to abolish genocides. However, with the establishment of tribunals, a promise not only for the justice of victims and their families but also for promoting deterrence was being held. In conclusion, the author recognizes the roles of the American intervention and...

David Sheffer
War Crimes and the Clinton Administration
The article explores issues surrounding the responses of the U.S. to war atrocities from the early 1990s to the present as well as the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Accordingly, many issues were created due mainly by the fact that the U.S. at first acted conventionally to what are considered unconventional crises, which include the genocides in Rwanda, Bosnia and Serbia. As a result, the government of President Bill Clinton made a decision to use military force as quickly as they could, but it was later hindered by opposition within the administration. With the establishment of ICC, the country was again faced by a dilemma over the accompanying treaty reservation law. With this, ...

Patricia M. Wald
Punishment of War Crimes by International Tribunals
The article discusses the author's experience with war crime trials as a judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague, Netherlands. Before discussing the accomplishments and issues faced by the tribunal, the author first provides an overview of the history of its founding and its organizational structure. In its nine years of existence, the tribunal was able to indict 80 defendants and complete the trials of more than 30 people. However, despite all the achievements it made, the ICTY has been criticized by the Balkans due to its remoteness and for excluding members of the ethnic groups involved in the Bosnian war as members of the court. With this, the author...

Michael Ignatieff
Human Rights, the Laws of War, and Terrorism
The article discusses the relation between human rights and terror from two perspectives that include the limitations that human rights impose on counterterrorism and the justifications that human rights accord terror. It attempts to clarify what constitutes human rights and how an act of terrorism deviates it by using the controversies surrounding the U.S. government's retaliation to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as a case in point. The article ends with the author's opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the human rights as a moral system.

David Rieff
Fables of Redemption in an Age of Barbarism
The article discusses the growing optimism among decent, cosmopolitan people toward the realization of world order in the midst of war and terrorism threats. According to the author, this type of optimism is not only founded on faith and hope but also on the notion that a revolutionary transformation grounded on morality or that a transformation of international relations based on human rights has taken place, citing Michael Ignatieff's argument as a case in point. However, despite the supposed revolution of moral concern, the reality fails to manifest the presence of such, thus pointing the need for powerful nations to do their constructive role in attaining peace.

Theodor Meron
Introductory Remarks: Part VII: Panel Discussion
The article presents a panel discussion that addresses the issues surrounding the prosecution of war crimes and acts of terrorism in international tribunals. The discussion opens with the statement made by South African international lawyer Richard Goldstone on the credibility and justification for the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Another speaker, Aryeh Neier, a human rights activist, talks about the set of duties entrusted to tribunals. The discussion ends by giving light on the policy implications for other international tribunals as well as for the International Criminal Court.

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