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Article

Access_open ‘Cruel Men Can Do Kind Things and Kind Men Can Do Cruel Things’

Reconsidering the Enemy of Humanity in Contemporary International Criminal Trial Discourse

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2018
Keywords humanity, international criminal justice, opening statements, trial discourse, perpetrators
Authors Sofia Stolk
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses empirical examples from international trial transcripts to see if and why there is a need to use the ‘enemy of all humanity’ label in contemporary international criminal justice discourse. It shows an absence of explicit uses of the concept and an ambiguous set of implicit references; the hosti generis humani concept is simultaneously too precise and too broad for ICJ discourse. Based on these findings, the article challenges David Luban’s suggestion that the term can be undone from its dehumanizing potential and used adequately in the ICJ context.


Sofia Stolk
Sofia Stolk is researcher at T.M.C. Asser Instituut/University of Amsterdam and research fellow at the Centre for the Politics of Transnational Law, Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open On the Humanity of the Enemy of Humanity

A Response to My Critics

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2018
Keywords hostis generis humani, humanity, International criminal justice, piracy
Authors David Luban
AbstractAuthor's information

    Antony Duff, Marc de Wilde, Louis Sicking, and Sofia Stok offer several criticisms of my “The Enemy of All Humanity,” but central to all of them is concern that labeling people hostis generis humani dehumanizes them, and invites murder or extrajudicial execution. In response I distinguish political, legal, and theoretical uses of the ancient label. I agree with the critics that the political use is toxic and the legal use is dispensable. However, the theoretical concept is crucial in international criminal law, which rests on the assumptions that the moral heinousness of core crimes makes them the business of all humanity. Furthermore, far from dehumanizing their perpetrators, calling them to account before the law recognizes that they are no different from the rest of humanity. This response also offers rejoinders to more specific objections raised by the critics.


David Luban
David Luban is University Professor in Law and Philosophy at Georgetown University.
Article

Access_open Enemy of All Humanity

The Dehumanizing Effects of a Dangerous Concept

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2018
Keywords enemy of all humanity, hostis humani generis, piracy, international criminal law, Luban
Authors Marc de Wilde
AbstractAuthor's information

    In his contribution to this special issue, David Luban proposes to revive the age-old concept of ‘the enemy of all humanity.’ On his view, this concept supports the aims of international criminal justice by emphasizing that atrocity and persecution crimes are ‘radically evil’ and therefore ‘everyone’s business.’ Criticizing Luban’s proposal, this paper shows that in the past, the ‘enemy of all humanity’ concept has often served to establish parallel systems of justice, depriving these ‘enemies’ of their rights as suspects under criminal law and as lawful combatants under the laws of war. Thus, even if the ‘enemy of all humanity’ concept is used with the intention to bring today’s perpetrators of ‘radical evil’ to justice, it risks undermining, rather than protecting, the rule of law.


Marc de Wilde
Marc de Wilde is Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open Crisis in the Courtroom

The Discursive Conditions of Possibility for Ruptures in Legal Discourse

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2018
Keywords crisis discourse, rupture, counterterrorism, precautionary logic, risk
Authors Laura M. Henderson
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses the conditions of possibility for the precautionary turn in legal discourse. Although the precautionary turn itself has been well-detailed in both legal and political discourse, insufficient attention has been paid to what made this shift possible. This article remedies this, starting by showing how the events of 9/11 were unable to be incorporated within current discursive structures. As a result, these discursive structures were dislocated and a new ‘crisis discourse’ emerged that succeeded in attributing meaning to the events of 9/11. By focusing on three important cases from three different jurisdictions evidencing the precautionary turn in legal discourse, this article shows that crisis discourse is indeed employed by the judiciary and that its logic made this precautionary approach to counterterrorism in the law possible. These events, now some 16 years ago, hold relevance for today’s continuing presence of crisis and crisis discourse.


Laura M. Henderson
Laura M. Henderson is a researcher at UGlobe, the Utrecht Centre for Global Challenges, at Utrecht University. She wrote this article as a Ph.D. candidate at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
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