Review of Cassese, Five Masters of International Law [Book Review]

Law and Politics Book Review 22 (1):154-161 (2012)
Focused on five prominent scholars of international law, and casting light on the related institutions which frequently engaged them, the present book provides insight into chief currents of international law during the last decades of the twentieth century. Spanning the gap, in some degree, between Anglo-American and continental approaches to international law, the volume consists of short intellectual portraits, combined with interviews, of selected specialists in international law. The interviews were conducted by the editor, Antonio Cassese, between 1993 and 1995 though the present volume was published only last year. Cassese, an Italian jurist and international lawyer, was Professor of International Law at the University of Florence (1975-2008) and specialized in public international law. Among other posts held, he was the first President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the first President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and chaired the UN Inter-national Inquiry into Crimes in Darfur. He authored International Law (2005), a comprehensive commentary on the subject (which makes a fine companion volume to the present book). He was also editor in chief of the Oxford Companion to International Criminal Justice (2009) and founded the Journal of International Criminal Justice. His work has been credited as providing a chief impetus in the revival of international criminal law from its post-Nuremberg hiatus. Cassese seeks to bring out the central ideas associated with each of his five selected scholarly jurist-professors, focusing on international law and international relations; and he aims to place each of the five scholars within the context of their own intellectual and philosophical back-grounds - and their views of the development of the international community. The interviews were based on Cassese’s “basic questionnaire,” which is reproduced in the opening pages of the volume (pp.xvii-xix). Overall, the book provides an engaging, though intricate, perspective on contemporary developments in international law combined with discussion of its roots in the post-WWII era and in legal philosophies.
Keywords Philosophy of law  Legal positivism  International law
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