18th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law, Canberra, Australia, June 24-26, 2010
12 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2010
Date Written: July 12, 2010
Something happened to international law between 2004 and 2009. It happened in fits and starts and was largely unforeseen. At various moments during that period, classified legal memoranda were released that analyzed and sought to affirm the legality of the United States’ programme of detention, interrogation and surveillance in connection with global anti-terrorism initiatives and military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Through these memos’ release, international law encountered itself and found the encounter troubling. This paper explores prospects for critical intervention within prevailing understandings of that encounter. In particular, it asks: what forms of international legal subjectivity – and what prospects and sites for international law-making – could such intervention induce? Delivered as a plenary panel address at a conference dedicated to the theme ‘International Law in the Second Decade of the 21st Century: Back to the Future or Business As Usual?’ this paper presents portions of new research forthcoming in a book: Events – The Force of International Law (Fleur Johns, Richard Joyce & Sundhya Pahuja eds., Routledge-Cavendish, September 2010).
Keywords: international law, international legal theory, torture, detention
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation