THE CONFLICT OF THE RATIONALITIES: INTERNATIONAL LAW, HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE WAR IN IRAQ

THOMAS CUSHMAN

Abstract


[When one thinks of international law and human rights, one imagines that they are complimentary phenomena. The goal of international law is to protect human rights, and human rights are to be enjoyed, presumably on a global basis, under the protection of a universally binding rule of inter- national law. To be for human rights is necessarily to be for international law, and vice versa. The central purpose of this essay is to argue that not only is the presumed positive relationship between international law and human rights not necessarily the case, but that the relationship is of a more tense and conflictual nature. In some cases, there is a negative or in- verse relationship between law and human rights. While there is an as- sumption that the promotion of international law and the promotion of human rights are essentially part of the same project of modernity, this is not the case. At a rhetorical level, they appear to be one and the same thing, but at a practical level – literally, at the level at which international law is practiced and at which human rights is practiced – international law and human rights constitute different value-spheres in the contempo- rary world.] 


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21153/dlr2005vol10no2art292

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