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Realizing UtopiaThe Future of International Law$
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The Late Antonio Cassese

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199691661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691661.001.0001

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A Plea for a Global Community Grounded in a Core of Human Rights

A Plea for a Global Community Grounded in a Core of Human Rights

(p.136) 11 A Plea for a Global Community Grounded in a Core of Human Rights
Realizing Utopia

Antonio Cassese

Oxford University Press

Although the doctrine of human rights is inherently universalistic, the stark reality of the world society shows that there is huge variety in the implementation of human rights by the various states. To promote the gradual formation of a world community based on a core of universal values, it is suggested that a double-track approach should be taken, dealing both with the values at stake and with the means for translating them into living reality. As for values, one should emphasize the existence of peremptory rules of international law (jus cogens) on human rights, which are at the summit of the international legal order and may not be derogated from by any state. Such rules are gradually constituting the constitutional principles of the world society. As for means for implementing those rules of jus cogens, three distinct avenues are suggested. Firstly, one should set up a system of inquiry capable of verifying how and when violations occur. Secondly, one should enhance the criminal responsibility of the authors of gross violations of those fundamental values. Thirdly, one should rely upon international civil society to tenaciously and steadfastly prod all international subjects to abide by the law.

Keywords:   human rights, universal values, international law, jus cogens, criminal responsibility, international civil society

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