International law and effectiveness in the post-cold war era.

Author:Turk, Danilo

The ILA/ASIL Gala Dinner was held from 8:00-10:00 pm on Friday, April 11. The speaker was Dr. Danilo Turk, former President of Slovenia.


Honorable Professor Ruth Wedgwood, President of the American Branch of the ILA and President-Elect of the ILA,

Honorable Lord Manee, Chair of the ILA Executive Committee,

Distinguished colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen,

It is a great honor and privilege to address this important global gathering of international law specialists meeting at this first-ever joint conference of the International Law Association and the American Society for International Law. The conference has already been described as historical. I am convinced that your discussions over the past days--and the outcomes of these discussions--will fully justify this description.

The presence of the great jurists who received awards and honors tonight--Alain Pellet, Cherif Bassiouni, Fatou Bensouda, and the winners of the Certificates of Merit--underscores further the special importance of this evening and of this conference. Let me add my voice to the many expressions of congratulation heard tonight.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The general, overarching subject of the conference is the question of the effectiveness of international law, a fundamental question always worthy of an in-depth discussion among legal scholars and practitioners.

The venue for this discussion could not be more appropriate. Washington, DC is not only the capital of the United States and the seat of great economic, political, and military power. Washington is also a place where some of the most important ideas of international law have been developed and have guided the progressive development of the entire system of international law.

Only a few miles away from here, in Dumbarton Oaks, in Washington, a comprehensive draft of the Charter of the United Nations was prepared in the summer of 1944, almost exactly seventy years ago. The work accomplished then led to the adoption of the UN Charter, without a doubt the most important instrument of international law of the past century and arguably the most important international treaty ever drafted.

It is appropriate that at our meeting, seventy years later, we pay tribute to the drafters of the UN Charter, and in particular to Leo Pasvolsky of the U.S. Department of State, the spiritus agens of that process. The Dumbarton Oaks Conference remains an important source of inspiration for international lawyers today and will remain so in the future. The result of that Conference, the UN Charter, has stood the test of time and remains the centerpiece of the entire international system today. However, its effectiveness has often been challenged, and many of...

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