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Law and Minimum World Public Order: Armed Conflict in Larger Context, 3 UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal 21 (1984)


From what I have heard, and recently read, I gather that there is a movement to bring together the law of war and the law of human rights. This article will be directed toward the possible integration of these two, once allegedly different, dimensions of inherited experience. I propose to try to put the problems of humanitarian law into a larger context which includes other urgent, contemporary problems.

My first thought is that it is a mistake to separate humanitarian law from other parts of the law of war and from international law and even law, more generally. There was a very famous professor of constitutional law at Harvard, Thomas Reed Powell, who used to say: "If you think you can think about something to which something is attached without thinking about the thing to which it is attached, then you have a good legal mind." It is this high skill that is in some measure being applied to the new humanitarian law.

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