International Organization

Legalization and World Politics: An Introduction

Introduction: Legalization and World Politics

Judith Goldstein, Miles Kahler, Robert O. Keohane and Anne-Marie Slaughter

In many issue-areas, the world is witnessing a move to law. As the century turned, governments and individuals faced the following international legal actions. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Britain's ban on homosexuals in the armed forces violates the right to privacy, contravening Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia indicted Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic during a NATO bombing campaign to force Yugoslav forces out of Kosovo. Milosevic remains in place in Belgrade, but Austrian police, bearing a secret indictment from the International Criminal Tribunal, arrested a Bosnian Serb general who was attending a conference in Vienna. In economic affairs the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body found in favor of the United States and against the European Union (EU) regarding European discrimination against certain Latin American banana exporters. A U.S. district court upheld the constitutionality of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) against claims that its dispute-resolution provisions violated U. S. sovereignty. In a notable environmental judgment, the new Law of the Sea Tribunal ordered the Japanese to cease all fishing for southern bluefin tuna for the rest of the year.

Judith Goldstein is Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, Stanford, California. She can be reached at

Miles Kahler is Rohr Professor of Pacific International Relations at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS), University of California, San Diego. He can be reached at

Robert O. Keohane is James B. Duke Professor of Political Science at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. He can be reached at

Anne-Marie Slaughter is J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. She can be reached at