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Boston University School of Law




International human rights law was born from the ashes of World War II. The most important post-World War II products are the United Nations, the Nuremberg Trials, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Geneva Conventions of 1949. But that was not the end of the story. International human rights law continued to develop and expand right up to September 11,2001, most notably through the adoption of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights2 and the Convention Against Torture, 3 and the establishment of the International Criminal Court.4 With the exception of the criminal court, the United States has consistently led the international human rights movement. September 11 arrested our nation's human rights momentum. Since September 11, our leaders seem to believe that we must barter human rights for security and adopt measures like torture to protect ourselves - measures that, at least since World War II, we had insisted were always and everywhere immoral and illegal.



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