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The Case for an International System of Justice
Fifty-nine years ago today, with the enormity of the Holocaust haunting the world's collective conscience, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It stated that "recognition of the inherent dignity and ... inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." It was the first global proclamation of human rights-an occasion we observe every December 10, International Human Rights Day.
The Declaration was one of several steps taken to establish a new standard: that crimes against civilians, the extermination of ethnic groups, and acts of torture were inexcusable-even when following orders in times of war. The world appeared well on its way to fulfilling its promise of "Never again."