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The hegemonic position of the United States, and its implication for international law, are rapidly emerging as sites of intense scholarly interest.1 It is a truism that the fall of the Berlin wall has been followed by a period of unprecedented American predominance in the military, economic, and political spheres. Replacing the bi-polar certainties of the Cold War is a world in flux, dominated, to a significant extent, by one remaining superpower, or, in the words of the former French Foreign Minister, Hubert Vedrine, by a ‘hyperpower’. 2 Some though, have emphasised the continuing importance of other loci of (lesser) power in a ‘uni-multipolar’ world.3 That this domination posed critical questions for international law was obvious well before the 9/11 atrocities, as the debate over NATO's use of force in Kosovo illustrated. Since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and with the global ‘war on terror’ reaching into ever-increasing spheres, the debate has intensified significantly.

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see M Byers and G Nolte (eds) United States Hegemony and the Foundations of International Law (CUPCambridge2003) (hereafter Byers & Nolte, Hegemony). Individual essays in the collection are referred to further below, as are some further contributions to the debate.

See also V Lowe The Iraq Crisis: What Now?’ (2003) 52 ICLQ 859;

MJ Glennon American Hegemony in an Unplanned World Order5 Journal of Conflict and Security Law (2000) 3;

R Foot , S Neil McFarlane , and M Mastanduno (eds) US Hegemony and International Organizations: The United States and Multilateral Institutions (OUPOxford2003),

S Huntington The Lonely Superpower’ (1999) 78 Foreign Affairs 35.

A Cassesse Terrorism is Also Disrupting Some Crucial Legal Categories of International Law’ (2001) 12 EJIL 993.

M Cox Bringing in the ‘International’: The IRA Cease-Fire and the End of the Cold War’ (1997) 73 International Affairs 671,

See C Campbell and I Connolly A Model for the ‘War Against Terrorism?’: Military Intervention in Northern Ireland and the 1970 Falls Curfew’ (2003) 30 JLS 341;

See C Campbell , F Ní Aoláin and C Harvey The Frontiers of Legal Analysis: Reframing the Transition in Northern Ireland’ (2003) 66 Modern Law Review 317 (hereafter Campbell et al, Frontiers).

See L Moir The Law of Internal Armed Conflict (CUPCambridge2002) 89 (hereafter Moir, Armed Conflict).

For a technically less convincing exploration of the subject see M Von Tangen Page Prisons, Peace and Terrorism: Penal Policy in the Reduction of Political Violence in Norihern Ireland, Italy and the Spanish Basque Country, 1968–97 (LondonMacmillan1998).

L Zegveld The Accountability of Armed Opposition Groups in International Law (CUPCambridge2002);

See T Meron and A Rosas A Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards’ (1991) 85 AJIL 375. In 1994 an amended version of the document was adopted which received a degree of validation from both UN and OSCE mechanisms.

See O Eide , A Rosas , and T Meron Combating Lawlessness in Gray Zone Conflicts Through Minimum Humanitarian Standards’ (1995) 89 AJIL 215.

S Marks Civil Liberties in the Margin: the UK Derogation and the European Court of Human Rights’ (1995) 15 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 85 (hereafter Marks, Civil Liberties).

H Tolley The Concealed Crack in the Citadel: The United Nations Commission on Human Rights’ Response to Confidential Communications’ (1984) 6 Human Rights Quarterly 420.

The text of the Principles can be found at (1985) 7 Human Rights Quarterly 3. For a discussion see Fitzpatrick, Human Rights at 68–70.

See also, C Bell , C Campbell and F Ní Aoláin Justice Discourses in Transition’ (2004) 13 Social and Legal Studies 1 305–28,

and F Ní Aoláin and C Campbell The Paradox of Transition in Conflicted Democracies’ (2005) 27 Human Rights Quarterly.

See Diane F Orentlicher Settling Accounts: the Duty to Prosecute Human Rights Violations of a Prior Regime’ (1991) 100 Yale Law Journal 2537.

see C Campbell Peace and the Laws of War: The Role of International Humanitarian Law in the Post-Conflict Environment’ (2000) 82 International Review of the Red Cross 627.

S Cohen States of Denial: Knowing about Atrocities and Suffering (PolityCambridge2001).

See, eg, R David Lustration Laws in Action: The Motives and Evaluation of Lustration Policy in the Czech Republic and Poland (1989–2001)’ (2003) 28 Law & Social Inquiry 2 387;

M Los Lustration and Truth Claims: Unfinished Revolutions in Central Europe’ (1995) 20 Law and Social Inquiry 1 117,

and Arthur L Stinchcombe Lustration as a Problem of the Social Basis of Constitutionalism’ (1995) 20 Law and Social Inquiry 1 245.

see P Akhavan Justice in the Hague, Peace in the Former Yugoslavia? A Commentary on the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal’ (1998) 20 Human Rights Quarterly 4 737.

S Cohen State Crimes of Previous Regimes: Knowledge, Accountability and the Policing of the Past’ (1995) 20 Law and Social Inquiry 7.

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International & Comparative Law Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0020-5893
  • EISSN: 1471-6895
  • URL: /core/journals/international-and-comparative-law-quarterly
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