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Sapere aude - dare to be wise
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Irish Supreme Court Justice speaks at IU Law
Posted 5:15 PM by Luke
"Global forces do not cross frontiers, they transcend them."

- Hon. John L. Murray, Justice Supreme Court of Ireland, 3/22/2005

At the IU Law-Indianapolis Wynne Courtroom this evening, Irish Supreme Court justice John Murray spoke about globalization and its ability to protect human rights. Tracing the source of globalization to technological innovation, Murray said that it is revered for its uncanny power to do good, but also feared for this awesome power which global actors often feel is beyond their control.

He stated his belief that the world wars to which the 20th century was witness, were largely a product of nation-states acting in their own self-interests. Globalization has the potential to negate this factor, he argues.

Mr. Justice Murray then launched into a brief analysis of globalization in Europe from a legal perspective. Outlining several instances where national law and European Community law conflicted, such as a particular instance in Britain and one in Germany, Murray stressed that when in conflict Community law has generally won out.

"The economic success of Europe," said Murray, "would never have occurred without the stability of the law and protection of human rights there." Without the protection of human rights, the EC would have no credibility, he added. "However, I am not suggesting that the sole solution for the protection of human rights lies in the international community. The primary means of protection must still rest in the institutions of the nation-state, acting in their self interests."

Murray stated that when nations' self interests conflict with international norms, a balance must be struck between the values of human rights and state sovereignty. Globalization is a mechanism to avoid such conflicts, by bringing to nations a common purpose.

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