Breaking the Bonds of Humanity: Dehumanization in International Law
What does the appeal to humanity in international law mean? This central question encompasses three sub-questions:
1. What does the experience of dehumanization in international law tell us about the harm involved?
2. What does an analysis of this harm reveal about a specific sub-field of international law?
3. How can the international legal order respond to dehumanization?
The concept of humanity occupies a central place in international law and politics. Nevertheless, the meaning of the concept remains unclear. Some scholars point to the increasing role of “human(e)” considerations in international law, and present humanity as a founding principle of the international legal order. Others have greeted these references to humanity within international law with scepticism. Both of these groups fail to take humanity seriously as a legal concept, invoked when gross violations of human rights – dehumanization – occur. With this project, I aim to approach the concept of humanity in international law by studying concrete cases of dehumanization. In this way, I can better understand why one appeals to humanity and what this appeal entails for our understanding of international law.
1) Corrias, L.D.A., “Law, Time, and Inhumanity: Reflections on the Imprescriptible,” in: L.D.A. Corrias & L.M.A. Francot (eds.), Temporal Boundaries of Law and Politics: Time Out of Joint, (Routledge 2018), pp. 53-70.
2) Corrias, L.D.A., “Crimes Against Humanity, Dehumanization and Rehumanization: Reading the Case of Duch with Hannah Arendt,” Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence: An International Journal of Legal Thought, vol. 29 (2016), pp. 351-370.
3) Corrias, L.D.A. & Gordon, G.M., “Judging in the Name of Humanity: International Criminal Tribunals and the Representation of a Global Public,” Journal of International Criminal Justice, vol. 13 (2015), pp. 97-112.