In 1994 the American Society of International Law published the collected presidential notes of Louis Henkin entitled Taking International Law Seriously, in which he appealed to U.S. officials to comply with international law obligations, and to act in bona fide respect to international law. In 1994 Justice Blackmun made the famous statement: "Taking international law seriously where the death penalty is concerned draws into question the United States' entire capital punishment enterprise." More than ten years have passed in which the world has experienced a humanitarian intervention in former Yugoslavia, the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The law has changed, the world has changed; only the United States persistently maintains its old attitude towards international law. The authors analyze this anachronism in Taking International Law Seriously, with the underlying assumption that nations, in relationship to one another, should treat international law as authoritative.
Helen Keller is Professor for Public, European and International law at the University of Zurich and is also Counsel to the firm of Umbricht Attorneys in Zurich. She has been a Visiting Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. She was a Research Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence (Italy 1995) and a Research fellow at Harvard University Law School, where her supervisors included Anne-Marie Slaughter.
Daniela Thurnherr (Yale) is Assistant lecturer for constitutional and administrative law at the Universities of Zurich and Lucerne, and the legal secretary at the Administrative Court of the Canton of Zurich.