FOREWORD TO WILLIAM GARROW

It is a pleasure to welcome this study of the life of William Garrow, the first great cross-examiner at the English Bar. He can truly be said to have revolutionised the practice of criminal law, not by any seminal writing or legislation, but through the extraordinary force of his character and conduct in the first […]

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 FOREWORD TO TERROR VOLUME

If the first casualty of war is truth, the first casualty of the war on terror has been grammar. How is it possible to go to war on a common noun – or on a state of mind rather than a state? Terrorism – broadly defined as politically motivated killing of civilians – has forever […]

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 FOREWORD TO TORTURE: A HUMAN RIGHTS PERSPECTIVE

Before I became a human rights lawyer, my only encounter with torture came from attending performances of Tosca. In Act II, the judge gives a nod (it’s a non-singing role) and the politically suspect painter is escorted to an off stage torture chamber: his pain-wracked notes traumatise his girlfriend during her interrogation by Inspector Scarpia. […]

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 WHY OBAMA SHOULD STOP DRINKING FIJI WATER

Last week’s suspension of Fiji from the Commonwealth invites the reflection that a world which cannot protect democracy in this friendly island nation cannot secure it anywhere else. A puppet government, declared unlawful by an appellate court earlier in the year, has now been re-invented as a full-blown military dictatorship, with a self-declared mandate to […]

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 THE U.N.’S NEW LOW

Leading human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson says Qaddafi’s U.N. rant was the exemplar of hypocrisy—and it’s a shame he had the General Assembly as his platform for vitriol. Qaddafi’s rant at the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday afternoon is arguably the lowest point in that organization’s history. At one level, it was black humor at […]

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 HOW I HID SALMAN RUSHDIE DURING THE FATWA

Twenty years ago this week, the Ayatollah issued a fatwa against the author of The Satanic Verses. Then I brought him into my house to hide from the assassins. It was twenty years ago, on St Valentine’s Day, that the Ayatollah Khomeini launched the mother of all prosecutions against Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic […]

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 HOW TO UNDO BUSH’S HUMAN RIGHTS LEGACY

A leading global human rights lawyer lays out Obama’s to-do list for restoring America’s shattered reputation abroad: close Guantanamo, end the death penalty, engage Darfur, and re-embrace the Geneva Conventions. President-elect Obama is the living embodiment of what human rights can do—the product of Brown v Board of Education and the achievements of the civil […]

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 HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS

The Lancet. February, 2007. This important collection of essays illustrates some of the ways in which the delivery of medical services must answer to human rights principles. It was, after all, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which endowed every person with a claim to basic healthcare, which means a right for their lives to […]

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 Milosevic and Hussein on trial

How far has international law come, in what our forebears, back in 1649, called “the great business” of denying impunity to tyrants accused of mass murdering their own people? Slobodan Milosevic sits in a dock in The Hague; he has been strutting and fretting his time on this televised stage since his trial began—as long […]

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 FAIR TRIALS FOR TERRORISTS?

in Wilson, ed, Human Rights in the War on Terror (Cambridge University Press, 2005). The title of this chapter, “Fair Trials for Terrorists?” is oxymoronic. The trial of any one already labelled a terrorist cannot, by definition, be fair. But the first casualty of war is always logic. The Pentagon’s original brand name for its […]

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