Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



The distinct honor conferred on me touches my heart, but I promise you that it will not go to my head. I realize that basically I am honored because I have reached an advanced age. Nevertheless, perhaps that age enables me to fully appreciate the trajectory of legal progress made in the past few decades. I was asked by the organizers of this conference to look back to my formative years and share with you insights as regards international law and the law of armed conflict (LOAC). Doing so, what comes first to mind is the unprecedented, immense growth of international law. The universe of international law appears to be very much like the physical universe: it is constantly expanding. There are at present many domains of international law that were entirely unknown when I graduated from law school, got my LL.M. degree, and wrote my doctoral thesis: nobody in those distant days heard of jus cogens or erga omnes norms; nobody was gazing up into outer space or staring down into the deep seabed; a permanent international criminal court did not loom on the horizon; and international environmental law was unexplored ground.