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32 Am. U. L. Rev. 1 (1982-1983)
The New International Law: Protection of the Rights of Individuals Rather Than States

handle is hein.journals/aulr32 and id is 11 raw text is: ARTICLES
THE NEW INTERNATIONAL LAW:
PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF
INDIVIDUALS RATHER THAN
STATES
Louis B. SOHN*
I. THE DYNAMIC CHANGES IN INTERNATIONAL LAW SINCE THE
SECOND WORLD WAR
The modern rules of international law concerning human rights are
the result of a silent revolution of the 1940's, a revolution that was al-
most unnoticed at the time. Its effects have now spread around the
world, destroying idols to which humanity paid obeisance for centuries.
Just as the French Revolution ended the divine rights of kings, the
human rights revolution that began at the 1945 San Francisco Confer-
ence of the United Nations has deprived the sovereign states of the
lordly privilege of being the sole possessors of rights under international
law. States have had to concede to ordinary human beings the status of
subjects of international law, to concede that individuals are no longer
mere objects, mere pawns in the hands of states.
Before dwelling on the various aspects of this revolution, however, it is
useful to turn first to its prehistory, to the various strands of interna-
tional law from which this new tapestry was woven. The human rights
revolution did not appear suddenly full-grown, like Minerva springing
from Jupiter's head. Its main substantive rules and its procedural safe-
guards can be traced back many centuries, to the origin of international
law itself.
* Woodruff Professor of International Law, University of Georgia School of Law; Bemis
Professor of International Law, Emeritus, Harvard Law School. LLM., 1935, John Casimir Uni-
versity, Lwow, Poland; LL.M., 1940, S.J.D. 1958, Harvard University.
This Article is based on a series of lectures delivered by the author at the College de France in
June 1982. The staff and editors of the AMERICAN UNIVERSITY LAW REViEw have provided sup-
plementary footnotes for this Article.

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