Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Steven Ackerman

First Page



Although historically legal interest in human rights has been the special province of scholars, recent worldwide economic realignment has educated the public to global interdependency, vindicating those who foresaw a nexus between human rights and the maintenance of world order. "[A]n interdependent global community cannot sustain itself. .if the coin of common exchange is genocide and discrimination." A pragmatic understanding of the relationship between the maintenance of world order and the protection of human rights suggests that tolerance and fulfillment of the world expectation of human rights may not be a goal that can be universally achieved. It is, however, an ideal to be sought after, requiring definition of human rights and creation of procedural safeguards for adjudicating and enforcing violations of those rights. The fulfillment of human rights must occur in a world of conflicting national interests and divergent philosophical and cultural biases. The political issues of national sovereignty and conflicting systems are absorbed into the single juridical issue of human rights when the global "elites" attempt to stabilize their territories at "tolerable levels of oppression." This "tolerable level of oppression" can be accorded a legal definition, thereby introducing procedural safeguards into political order, reducing the potential for inhumane treatment. Therefore, the scope of this article will be to provide an international human rights framework for the prospective prevention of torture and all other forms of cruel and unusual punishment which might apply to all nations.