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'The Lady Doth Protest Too Much' Kosovo, and the Turn to Ethics in International Law

17 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2002  

Martti Koskenniemi

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Law

Abstract

Most international lawyers approved of the 1999 bombing of Serbia by the members of the North Atlantic alliance. But most of them also felt that it was not compatible with a strict reading of the UN Charter. The article describes the argumentative techniques through which international lawyers tried to accommodate their moral intuitions with their professional competence. The urge to achieve this, the article argues, arose from a general turn to ethics in the profession that has been evident since the end of the Cold War. This has often involved a shallow and dangerous moralisation which, if generalised, transforms international law into an uncritical instrument for the foreign policy choices of those whom power and privilege has put into decision-making positions.

Suggested Citation

Koskenniemi, Martti, 'The Lady Doth Protest Too Much' Kosovo, and the Turn to Ethics in International Law. Modern Law Review, Vol. 65, pp. 159-175, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=309340

Martti Koskenniemi (Contact Author)

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Law ( email )

Porthania 5th Floor
P.O. Box 4
Helsinki, FIN-0001 4
Finland
+ 358 (0)9 1912 2469 (Phone)
+ 358 (0)9 1912 3076 (Fax)

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