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Wind, Marlene (2009)
Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
Journal: Ethics & Global Politics
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: The ICC; U.S.; opposition to the Court; Sovereignty; International law; exceptionalism
Does the establishment of a permanent InternationalWar Crimes Tribunal (International Criminal Court - ICC) constitute a challenge to national sovereignty? According to previous US governments and several American observers, the answer is yes. Establishing a world court that acts independently of the states that gave birth to it renders the idea of sovereignty meaningless. This article analyzes the American objections to the ICC and the conception of sovereignty and international law underlying these objections. It first considers the structure and intent behind the criminal court and attempts to unveil the logic hiding behind the idea of ‘America’s historical uniqueness.’ It touches on the diverging US and European conceptions of sovereignty and ends up arguing that governments that stick to traditional conceptions of sovereignty and international law in the employment of their foreign policy may lose the moral legitimacy that has proven increasingly important for winning the sympathy of allies and regaining world leadership.Keywords: The ICC; US opposition to the court; sovereignty; international law; exceptionalism(Published: 19 May 2009)Citation: Ethics & Global Politics, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2009, pp. 83-108. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v2i2.1973
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    • 1. Gulio Gallarotti and Arik Y. Preis, 'Toward Universal Human Rights and the Rule of Law: The Permanent International Criminal Court', Australian Journal of International Affairs 53, no. 1 (1999): 95 117; Andrea Bianchi, 'Individual Accountability for Crimes against Humanity: Reckoning with the Past, Thinking of the Future', SAIS Review 19, no. 2 (1999): 97 131; Marc Weller, 'Undoing the Global Constitution: UN Security Council Action on the International Criminal Court', International Affairs 78, no. 4 (2002): 693 712.
    • 2. Jeremy Rabkin, 'Nuremberg Misremembered', SAIS Review 19, no. 2 (1999): 81 96.
    • 3. For a radical critique of the Nuremberg trials, see Jeremy Rabkin, 'Nuremberg Misremembered', SAIS Review 19, no. 2 (1999): 81 96. As he writes, the Nuremberg Trials were: ' . . . more concerned with vindicating Allied war aims than with establishing a new standard for all nations.' (Jeremy Rabkin, 'Nuremberg Misremembered', SAIS Review 19, no. 2 (1999): 86); See also David A. Nill, 'National Sovereignty: Must it be Sacrificed to the International Criminal Court?', Brigham Young Journal of Public Law 14, no. 119, (1999): 2.
    • 4. Jeremy Rabkin, 'Nuremberg Misremembered', SAIS Review 19, no. 2 (1999): 86 87.
    • 5. Hazel Fox, 'An International Tribunal for War Crimes: Will the UN Succeed Where Nuremberg Failed?' The World Today 49, no. 10 (1993): 194 7.
    • 6. Gulio Gallarotti and Arik Y. Preis, 'Toward Universal Human Rights and the Rule of Law: The Permanent International Criminal Court', Australian Journal of International Affairs 53, no. 1 (1999): 1.
    • 7. John Ashcroft cited in: David A. Nill, 'National Sovereignty: Must it be Sacrificed to the International Criminal Court?', Brigham Young Journal of Public Law 14, no. 119 (1999): 8.
    • 8. Lee A. Casey, 'The Case against the International Criminal Court', Fordham International Law Journal 25 (2002): 841.
    • 9. The campaign included several elements, as Marc Weller has pointed out ' . . . from the deployment of national legislation against the court, to the obstruction of crucial decisions of the UN Security Council and to pressure directed against individual states to contract out of the ICC regime they had just joined.' (Marc Weller, 'Undoing the Global Constitution: UN Security Council Action on the International Criminal Court', International Affairs 78, no. 4 (2002): 694; See The Economist, March 15 21, 2003, 30, for a discussion of which countries have signed these agreements.
    • 10. John R. Worth, 'Globalization and the Myth of Absolute National Sovereignty: Reconsidering the ''Un-signing'' of the Rome Statute and the Legacy of Senator Bricker', Indiana Law Journal 79, no. 8 (2004): 245 65; Attila Bogdan, 'The United States and the International Criminal Court: Avoiding Jurisdiction through Bilateral Agreements in Reliance on Article 98', International Criminal Law Review 8 (2008): 1 54.
    • 11. CRS Report to Congress, Update from August 2006.
    • 12. See the ICC Website: http://www.icc-cpi.int/statesparties.html (accessed August 22, 2006).
    • 13. Article 16 of the Rome Statute (Deferral of investigation or prosecution) reads the following: No investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded with under this Statute for a period of 12 months after the Security Council, in a resolution adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, has requested the court to that effect; that request may be renewed by the Council under the same conditions.
    • 14. In a survey from 2002 conducted by the Chicago Council Poll, 29% of the adult population thought that ' . . . the US should not support the proposed Court because trumped up charges may be brought against Americans, for example, US soldiers who use force in the course of a peacekeeping operation.' At the same time, however, 66% agreed that 'the US should support such a court because the world needs a better way to prosecute war criminals, many of whom go unpunished today.' See www.americans-world.org/digest/ global_issues/un/un1.cfm (accessed May 17, 2007).
    • 15. I here use the term American 'exceptionalism' or 'historical uniqueness' as first used by James Reed, 'Why is the USA Not a like-Minded Country?', in Enhancing Global Governance, ed. Andrew Cooper (United Nations University Press, 2002), 55 69; See also Francis Fukuyama, After the Neocons: America at the Crossroads (London: Profile Books, 2006). I also rely on the debate of American exceptionalism and international law in Wade Mansell and Emily Haslam, 'John Bolton and the United States' Retreat from International Law', Social Legal Studies 14 (2005): 467 70.
    • 16. Wade Mansell and Emily Haslam, 'John Bolton and the United States' Retreat from International Law', Social Legal Studies 14 (2005): 467 70.
    • 17. Robert B.J. Walker, 'State Sovereignty and the Articulation of Political Space/Time', Millennium: Journal of International Studies 20, no. 3 (1991): 445 61.
    • 18. Robert B.J. Walker, Inside/Outside: International Relations as Political Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Samuel J. Barkin, 'The Evolution of the Constitution of Sovereignty and the Emergence of Human Rights Norms', Millennium*Journal of International Studies 27, no. 2 (1998): 229 52; Rebecca Adler-Nissen and Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen, eds., Sovereignty Games: Instrumentalizing State Sovereignty in Europe and Beyond (London: Palgrave, 2008).
    • 19. Samuel J. Barkin, 'The Evolution of the Constitution of Sovereignty and the Emergence of Human Rights Norms', Millennium*Journal of International Studies 27, no. 2 (1998): 229 52; Amitay Acharya, 'State Sovereignty After 9/11: Disorganised Hypocrisy', Political Studies 55, no. 2 (2007): 277 96; Adriana Sinclair and Michael Byers, 'When US Scholars Speak of ''Sovereignty''. What do They Mean?', Political Studies 55, no. 2 (2007): 318 40.
    • 20. Ronald L. Jepperson, Alexander Wendt, and Peter J. Katzenstein, 'Norms, Identity, and Culture', in The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics, ed. P.J. Katzenstein (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 33 75.
    • 21. Following Mansell and Haslam this can be characterized as a 'Redneck School of American Jurisprudence' (See Wade Mansell and Emily Haslam, 'John Bolton and the United States' Retreat from International Law', Social Legal Studies, 14 (2005): 459).
    • 22. Jack L. Goldsmith and Eric A. Posner, The Limits of International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); Adriana Sinclair and Michael Byers, 'When US Scholars Speak of ''Sovereignty''. What do They Mean?', Political Studies 55, no. 2 (2007): 332; Wade Mansell and Emily Haslam, 'John Bolton and the United States' Retreat from International Law', Social Legal Studies, 14 (2005).
    • 23. Is yet to be defined.
    • 24. Peggy E. Rancilio, 'From Nuremberg to Rome: Establishing an International Criminal Court and the Need for U.S. Participation', University of Detroit Mercy Law Review 78 (1999): 2.
    • 25. Officially called 'The London agreement of August 8, 1945.' To this comes the 'Tokyo Proclamation' by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers of January 19, 1946.
    • 26. Andrea Bianchi, 'Individual Accountability for Crimes against Humanity: Reckoning with the Past, Thinking of the Future', SAIS Review 19, no. 2 (1999): 4; Peggy E. Rancilio, 'From Nuremberg to Rome: Establishing an International Criminal Court and the Need for U.S. Participation', University of Detroit Mercy Law Review 78, (1999): 3.
    • 27. William Pfaff, 'Judging War Crimes', Survival 42, no. 1 (2000): 46 58.
    • 28. Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1992); David Held, 'Democracy and Globalization', in Re-imagining Political Community: Studies in Cosmopolitan Democracy, eds. D. Archibugi, D. Held, and M. Kohler (Oxford: Polity Press, 1998), 11 27.
    • 29. Thomas Weiss, 'The Politics of Humanitarian Ideas', Security Dialogue 31, no. 1 (2000): 11 23; See also Samuel J. Barkin, 'The Evolution of the Constitution of Sovereignty and the Emergence of Human Rights Norms', Millennium*Journal of International Studies 27, no. 2 (1998), 229 52.
    • 30. Marlene Wind, 'Legal Globalization and the New Human Rights Regime: Human Rights in a Post-Sovereign World', in The New Millennium: Challenges and Strategies for a Globalizing World, ed. Sai Felicia Krishna-Hensel (London: Ashgate, 2000), 265 83.
    • 31. Andrea Bianchi, 'Individual Accountability for Crimes against Humanity: Reckoning with the Past, Thinking of the Future', SAIS Review 19, no. 2 (1999), 97 131.
    • 32. The Rwanda tribunal was the first international court in history to deal with crimes against humanity in a purely national conflict.
    • 33. Andrea Bianchi, 'Individual Accountability for Crimes against Humanity: Reckoning with the Past, Thinking of the Future', SAIS Review 19, no. 2 (1999), 97 131.
    • 34. Peggy E. Rancilio, 'From Nuremberg to Rome: Establishing an International Criminal Court and the Need for U.S. Participation', University of Detroit Mercy Law Review 78, (1999): 15.
    • 35. Paul W. Kahn, 'Why the United States is so Opposed: The International Criminal Court: An End to Impunity?', Magazine, 2003, www.crimesofwar.org/print/icc/icc-kahn-print.html (accessed March 11, 2009).
    • 36. John Bolton, 'The United States and the International Criminal Court', Speech to the Federalist Society, November 14, 2002, www.state.gov/t/us/rm/15158.htm (assessed January 15, 2008); David A. Nill, 'National Sovereignty: Must it be Sacrificed to the International Criminal Court?', Brigham Young Journal of Public Law 14, no. 119 (1999): 15; Jeremy Rabkin, 'Nuremberg Misremembered', SAIS Review 19, no. 2 (1999): 89.
    • 37. Andrea Bianchi, 'Individual Accountability for Crimes against Humanity: Reckoning with the Past, Thinking of the Future', SAIS Review 19, no. 2 (1999): 16 7.
    • 38. Paul W. Kahn, 'Why the United States is so Opposed: The International Criminal Court: An End to Impunity?', Magazine, 2003, www.crimesofwar.org/print/icc/icc-kahn-print.html (accessed March 11, 2009).
    • 39. For more on this visit: www.amicc.org/usinfo/papers.html (accessed March 23, 2009).
    • 40. Geoffrey Robertson, Crimes Against Humanity, 3rd ed. (London: Penguin Group, 2006), 422 3.
    • 41. Wade Mansell and Emily Haslam, 'John Bolton and the United States' Retreat from International Law', Social Legal Studies, 14 (2005): 465.
    • 42. David A. Nill, 'National Sovereignty: Must it be Sacrificed to the International Criminal Court?', Brigham Young Journal of Public Law 14, no. 119 (1999): 2.
    • 43. Gary Dempsey, 'Reasonable Doubt: The Case Against the Proposed International Criminal Court' (1998), Cato Policy Analysis No. 311, http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php? pub_ id 1170 (accessed March 11, 2009) (Washington, DC: Cato Institute).
    • 44. Emphasis by the authors.
    • 45. Emphasis by the authors.
    • 46. United Nations Department of Public Information, 'Background Information; Crimes within the Court's Jurisdiction; May 1998', United Nations http://www.un.org/icc/crim es.htm (accessed August 2002).
    • 47. This also means that individuals from non-signatory states can be convicted for crimes that were unclear and undefined when they were committed. According to the American government, this deprives American citizens of the fundamental rights that they have under the American Constitution.
    • 48. In July 2002, a compromise was drawn up in the Security Council giving Americans involved in UN peacekeeping immunity from the jurisdiction of the court. However, this exception was renewed in July 2003.
    • 49. Attila Bogdan, 'The United States and the International Criminal Court: Avoiding Jurisdiction Through Bilateral Agreements in Reliance on Article 98', International Criminal Law Review, 8 (2008): 1 54.
    • 50. This argument has been promoted by the far right. See, for instance, William Jasper, The New American 14, no. 18 (1998).
    • 51. Marc Weller, 'Undoing the Global Constitution: UN Security Council Action on the International Criminal Court', International Affairs 78, no. 4 (2002): 704.
    • 52. Marc Grossman, 'American Foreign Policy and the International Criminal Court', (2002) www.state.gov/p/9949.htm (accessed May 2004).
    • 53. Eric Posner, 'All Justice, Too, Is Local', The New York Times, December 30, 2004.
    • 54. John Bolton, 'The United States and the International Criminal Court', Speech to the Federalist Society, November 14, 2002. www.state.gov/t/us/rm/15158.htm, 2.
    • 55. Ibid., 3 (See also David A. Nill, 'National Sovereignty: Must it be Sacrificed to the International Criminal Court?', Brigham Young Journal of Public Law 14, no. 119, (1999): 14 and E. Posner, 'All Justice, Too, Is Local', The New York Times, December 30, 2004).
    • 56. As Nill writes: 'The value of having a government refer it (the case MW) or the Security Council refer it is that they are accountable to somebody. They are accountable either to their people, their populace, for doing so, or the Security Council is accountable to the United Nations System. We believe that fundamental principle of accountability should be at the core of referrals to this court.' David A. Nill, 'National Sovereignty: Must it be Sacrificed to the International Criminal Court?', Brigham Young Journal of Public Law 14, no. 119 (1999): 14.
    • 57. John Bolton, 'The United States and the International Criminal Court', Speech to the Federalist Society, November 14, 2002. www.state.gov/t/us/rm/15158.htmBolton, 'The United States and the International Criminal Court', 2 (accessed April 2007).
    • 58. Marc Grossman: 'American Foreign Policy and the International Criminal Court', (2002) www.state.gov/p/9949.htm, 2.
    • 59. Jason Ralph, 'Between Cosmopolitan and American Democracy: Understanding US Opposition to the International Criminal Court', International Relations 17, no. 2 (2003): 195 211.
    • 60. Jack L. Goldsmith and Eric A. Posner, The Limits of International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). See also William Jasper, The New American 14, no. 18 (1998).
    • 61. David A. Nill, 'National Sovereignty: Must it be Sacrificed to the International Criminal Court?', Brigham Young Journal of Public Law 14, no. 119 (1999): 7.
    • 62. Adriana Sinclair and Michael Byers, 'When US Scholars Speak of ''Sovereignty''. What do They Mean?', Political Studies 55, no. 2 (2007): 318 40.
    • 63. Ibid.
    • 64. Marc Grossman, 'American Foreign Policy and the International Criminal Court', 2002, www.state.gov/p/9949.htm, 2 3.
    • 65. This does not mean that states are not bound by customary law however. See the analysis below of sovereignty and international law.
    • 66. William Jasper, 'Courting Global Tyranny', The New American 14, no. 18 (1998): 1 14.
    • 67. Emphasis by the authors.
    • 68. Marc Weller, 'Undoing the Global Constitution: UN Security Council Action on the International Criminal Court', International Affairs 78, no. 4 (2002): 710.
    • 69. Ibid.
    • 70. Attila Bogdan, 'The United States and the International Criminal Court: Avoiding Jurisdiction Through Bilateral Agreements in Reliance on Article 98', International Criminal Law Review (2008): 1 54.
    • 71. Coalition for the International Criminal Court, December 11, 2006, http://www.iccnow.org/ documents/CICCFS_BIA status_current.pdf (accessed May 11, 2009).
    • 72. Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court, January 2008, 8, no. 1/2, 1 54. See: www.wfa.org/issues/wicc/wicc.html (accessed May 11, 2009).
    • 73. See for instance the article by Fareed Zakaria, 'The arrogant Empire', Newsweek, March 24, 2003.
    • 74. George W. Bush cited in John Bolton, 'The United States and the International Criminal Court', Speech to the Federalist Society, November 14, 2002. www.state.gov/t/us/rm/ 15158.htm (UK: SAGE Publications, University of Leeds), 1.
    • 75. Jason Ralph, 'Between Cosmopolitan and American Democracy: Understanding US Opposition to the International Criminal Court', International Relations 17, no. 2 (2003), 195 211; Wade Mansell and Emily Haslam, 'John Bolton and the United States' Retreat from International Law', Social Legal Studies, 14 (2005): 465ff.
    • 76. Gary Dempsey, 'Reasonable Doubt: The Case against the Proposed International Criminal Court' (1998), Cato Policy Analysis No. 311, http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id 1170, 2 (accessed March 11, 2009).
    • 77. Ibid.
    • 78. David A. Nill, 'National Sovereignty: Must it be Sacrificed to the International Criminal Court?', Brigham Young Journal of Public Law 14, no. 119 (1999): 15.
    • 79. Ibid.
    • 80. Antonio Amato, 'Is International Law Really ''Law''?' Northwestern University: LawReview 79 (1985): 1293 314.
    • 81. Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace (New York: KNOPF, 1948/1985), 295 688.
    • 82. Terry Nardin, Law, Morality, and the Relations of States (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983), 157 350; Herbert L.A. Hart, The Concept of Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961), 231 309.
    • 83. Marlene Wind, Sovereignty and European Integration: Towards a Post-Hobbesian Order, (Palgrave, 2001), 1 259.
    • 84. William Pfaff, 'Judging War Crimes', Survival 42, no. 1 (2000): 46 58.
    • 85. Wade Mansell and Emily Haslam, 'John Bolton and the United States' Retreat from International Law', Social Legal Studies, 14 (2005): 459 85.
    • 86. John A. Austin, The Province of Jurisprudence Determined (London: Weidenfield & Nicholson, 1832/1954), 201, 11 12, 142. (Emphasis by the author).
    • 87. Terry Nardin, Law, Morality, and the Relations of States (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983).
    • 88. David Kennedy, 'Theses about International Law Discourse', German Yearbook of International Law 23 (1980), 354 91.
    • 89. Alf Ross, Introduction to International Law (Copenhagen: Nyt Nordisk Forlag. Arnold Busk, 1984), 44ff. (Own translation).
    • 90. Fridrich Kratochwil, Rules, Norms and Decisions: On the Conditions of Practical and Legal Reasoning in International Relations and Domestic Affairs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).
    • 91. Robert Vander Lught, 'International Legal Rules: Contending Approaches', Paper presented at the 36th Annual Meeting of ISA, Chicago, IL, February 1995.
    • 92. Terry Nardin, Law, Morality, and the Relations of States (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983).
    • 93. William Pfaff, 'Judging War Crimes', Survival 42, no. 1 (2000): 50.
    • 94. Anne-Marie Slaughter, 'The Real New World Order', Foreign Affairs 76 (1997): 183; William Pfaff, 'Judging War Crimes', Survival 42, no. 1 (2000): 46 58; Andrea Bianchi, 'Individual Accountability for Crimes against Humanity: Reckoning with the Past, Thinking of the Future', SAIS Review 19, no. 2 (1999): 97 131.
    • 95. William Pfaff, 'Judging War Crimes', Survival 42, no. 1 (2000): 50.
    • 96. For instance, one could argue that humanitarian values have little to do with natural law but rather refer to the fact that an increasing number of states have agreed to sign international human rights conventions and the UN Charter, all of which have to do with the respect for human rights.
    • 97. Thomas Weiss, 'The Politics of Humanitarian Ideas', Security Dialogue 31, no. 1 (2000): 15 6.
    • 98. The Responsibility to Protect-Engaging Civil Society (R2PCS) project seeks to advance R2P and to promote concrete policies to better enable governments, regional organizations, and the UN to protect vulnerable populations. See more on www.responsibilitytoprotect.org
    • 99. Samuel J. Barkin, 'The Evolution of the Constitution of Sovereignty and the Emergence of Human Rights Norms', Millennium*Journal of International Studies 27, no. 2 (1998): 249.
    • 100. Jason Ralph, 'Between Cosmopolitan and American Democracy: Understanding US Opposition to the International Criminal Court', International Relations 17, no. 2 (2003): 209.
    • 101. Marc Weller, 'Undoing the Global Constitution: UN Security Council Action on the International Criminal Court', International Affairs 78, no. 4 (2002), 693 712.
    • 102. Francis Fukuyama, After the Neocons: America at the Crossroads (London: Profile Books, 2006), 102; William Kristol and Robert Kagan, 'Towards a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy', Foreign Affairs 75 (1996) 18 32.
    • 103. Francis Fukuyama, After the Neocons: America at the Crossroads (London: Profile Books, 2006).
    • 104. Emmeric de Vattel, vol. III of 'International Law' The Classics of International Law. (Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution, 1758/1916); Alfred Verdross and Bruno Simma, Universelles Vo¬®lkerrecht: Theorie U. Praxis (Berlin: Dunker und Humbolt, 1984).
    • 105. See also Joseph H. Weiler, The Constitution of Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 29.
    • 106. See the Van Gend en Loos case 26/62 [1963] ECR 13.
    • 107. Joseph H. Weiler, The Constitution of Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).
    • 108. Ibid.
    • 109. Joseph H.H. Weiler and Marlene Wind, European Constitutionalism Beyond the State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).
    • 110. Ibid.
    • 111. Michel Rosenfeld, 'Principle or Ideology? A Comparativist Perspective on the U.S. Controversy over Supreme Court Citations to Foreign Authorities' Working Paper no. 213, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, 2008, 20.
    • 112. Scalia cited in Rosenfeld, 'Principle or Ideology? A Comparativist Perspective on the U.S. Controversy over Supreme Court Citations to Foreign Authorities', 20.
    • 113. William Pfaff, 'Judging War Crimes', Survival 42, no. 1 (2000): 47.
    • 114. See also Samuel J. Barkin, 'The Evolution of the Constitution of Sovereignty and the Emergence of Human Rights Norms', Millennium*Journal of International Studies 27, no. 2 (1998), 229 52.
    • 115. Statements of U.S. Presidential Candidates on the International Criminal Court, AIMCC, http://www.amicc.org/docs/2008%20Candidates%20on%20ICC.pdf (accessed March 16, 2009).
    • 116. Kevin Jon Heller, 'Does Obama support the ICC? Opinio Juris', 2008, http://opiniojuris.org/ 2008/07/26/does-obama-support-the-icc-and-what-is-samantha-power-thinking/ (accessed March 16, 2009).
    • 117. Thomas Weiss, 'The Politics of Humanitarian Ideas', Security Dialogue 31, no. 1 (2000): 15; see also Samuel J. Barkin, 'The Evolution of the Constitution of Sovereignty and the Emergence of Human Rights Norms', Millennium*Journal of International Studies 27, no. 2 (1998), 229 52.
    • 118. See for example, Shirley V. Scott, 'Is there room for international law in realpolitik? Accounting for the US ''attitude'' towards international law', Review of International Studies 30, no. 1 (2004): 71 88.
    • 119. See Financial Times, April 8, 2003.
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