Crimes Against Humanity: The Struggle for Global Justice

Geoffrey Robertson, Author, Kenneth M. Roth, Introduction by
Geoffrey Robertson, Author, Kenneth M. Roth, Introduction by New Press $30 (554p) ISBN 978-1-56584-597-8
Hardcover - 800 pages - 978-0-14-103728-8
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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 sides--and 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.)
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