This text takes a critical look at the way in which human rights issues have been brought to the fore in international affairs. For ten years, the language of international intervention has been transformed. The UN and Nato's new policy of interventionism - as shown in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor - has been hailed as "humanitarian action", part of a new "ethical" approach to foreign policy. The establisment of an international criminal court and ad hoc tribunals for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia reflect this shift in perception, which has been welcomed by world leaders, government critics and even NGOs. David Chandler offers a rigorous critique of this apparently benign shift in international relations to reveal the worrying political implications of a new human rights discourse.