The idea that the international order should be based on legal norms and rules is fragile and fragmentary, but it is steadily gaining ground. A growing body of trade law, and other rule-based frameworks, allows global markets to expand. Multilateral treaties address problems related to the global commons as well as to arms limitation and disarmament.
The agreement reached to establish the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a watershed in the history of international cooperation for the promotion of human welfare and for the universal realization of human rights. Developments in this area are of such great potential import for the international legal order that they warrant detailed attention. Building on the examples set by the International Tribunals already established, the ICC will not only bring criminal despots and tyrants to justice but also act as a deterrent against gross violations of human rights everywhere.