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Albany Law School professor James Thuo Gathii's new book, War, Commerce, and International Law (Oxford University Press) examines the laws regulating historical and contemporary conflicts—including Blackwater in Iraq and "blood diamonds" in Africa's Congo—arguing that the rules are applied differently and unfairly across the globe.
Recent wars and conflicts have once again challenged the rights of protecting private property and commercial contracts during and after armed conflict. Gathii challenges the international rights of invading and occupying powers. Are residents of war-torn countries given the same protection from international commercial laws that foreign investors enjoy? Who, and on what legal authority, decides cases over contested resources during or after armed conflict?
"An important book," says David Kennedy, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School. "This will be an indispensable reference for all those seeking to rethink the ways we are governed at the global level."
"Although the doctrines and rules of international law relating to war and commerce cover inherent fairness between all states," writes Gathii, "the application, interpretation, and adjudication of these rules and doctrines carry forward within them the legacy of imperialism and colonial conquest. As globalization and armed conflicts continue to grow and co-exist, these questions are increasingly in the international spotlight, similar to the recent military operations against piracy off the coast of Somalia."
James Thuo Gathii is the Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship and the Governor George E. Pataki Professor of International Commercial Law at Albany Law School, where he has been on the faculty since 2001. He spent his sabbatical in 2007-8 in Kenya doing research and Visiting at the University of Nairobi's Faculty of Law; during that time he also wrote a column for Business Daily (Africa). Before joining Albany Law School, Professor Gathii taught at the Rutgers Business School. He was also a Crowe and Dunlevy Visiting International Law Professor at the University of Oklahoma's College of Law. He received his LL.B. from the University of Nairobi and his LL.M. and S.J.D. from Harvard Law School.