Preface to the Second Edition

AuthorJohn H. Currie
As chance would have it, the f‌ina l, revised page proofs for the f‌irst
edition of this book left my desk in August, 20 01. A scant few weeks
later, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Wash-
ington shocked global public consciousness. For some, the attacks and
their aftermath called into question the appropriateness or even the rel-
evance of existing international legal regimes concerning transnat ional
terrorism, the maintenance of international peace and s ecurity, and
the protection of human right s. Some doubted the international legal
system’s capacity to adapt to the “new realities” of global ter rorist net-
works, asymmetrica l warfare, and the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction. Some abetted by an American administr ation seeming-
ly sceptica l of the value of international law (or the rule of law more
generally) and keen to assert the United States’ now-dominant “hard”
power even predicted (at times ex ultantly, one suspects) the demi se
of international law itself.
In retrospect, it would be diff‌icult to deny the profound geopolitical
repercussions of the events of September 11, 2001. So too would it be
diff‌icult to overstate the heinous nature of the attack s or the tragedy of
their consequences. However, it seems that their negative sign if‌icance
for the relevance, adaptability, or sur vival of the international legal
system has been great ly overstated. Inter national ter rorism, th reats to
international pe ace and security by non-state actors, and the spread of
weapons capable of causing mass casualties were concerns already well-
known to international law in 2001. Complex treaty networks address-
ing e ach, overlaid with customar y i nternational legal obligations and
institutional fr ameworks, were already in place. This perhaps explain s

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