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Steven Ratner
Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law University of Michigan Law School

The Thin Justice of International Law

January 28, 2013

In a world suffused with conflict and human misery, global justice remains one of the most compelling missions of our time. Although philosophers of global justice have often stayed clear of legal institutions, international law plays a critical role in understanding the prospects for global justice. Proposing that the core rules of international law have their own morality and represent a real-world incarnation of a vision of global justice, Prof. Ratner terms this ethical vision “thin” justice. He sees self-determination as an example of a core international law that meets the standard of thin justice.

Steven R. Ratner is the Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School. His teaching and research focus on public international law and on a range of challenges facing governments and international institutions since the Cold War, including ethnic conflict, border disputes, counter-terrorism strategies, corporate and state duties regarding foreign investment, and accountability for human rights violations. Prof. Ratner has written and lectured extensively on the law of war, and is also interested in the intersection of international law and moral philosophy and other theoretical issues. Since 2009, he has served on the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law. Prof. Ratner holds a JD from Yale, an MA (diplôme) from the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales (Geneva), and an AB from Princeton.


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