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The authors propose a post-imperial analysis of the city based on a reconstruction of its history and a reading of the traces of this history in the city's architecture and its self-presentation in American popular culture. This analysis of Las Vegas as ruinopolis draws attention to the ruin sites of the city and its hinterland, reading them through the lens of empire. We work out the imperial Article PDF. Submit Site Search Search.

Donor Spotlight. U-M Alumni Association. Diversity Related Research Departmental Events. Diversity Related Courses. People Faculty Julia Hell In such non-legal contexts, whoever speaks of crimes against humanity also speaks on behalf of humanity. By contrast, the prosecutor opens investigations in criminal cases on behalf of a body politic whose normative ties have been ruptured by the defendant. Pondering why some injuries are compensated for by damages and others by public trials and incarcera- tion, Nozick points out that a tort injures only a single person while a crime affects the society as a whole.

A remark by Arendt captures this feature of the political productiv- ity of the criminal law as follows: Arendt marks the irony of the fact that the very same institution that violates human rights is also charged with securing them. From her observation we can infer that the more effectively individuals can claim rights protection from the state, the closer they are tied to its authority. See Arendt, Origins, p. Arguments criticizing the individualist principle of rights cast into sharper relief the col- lective dimension of the criminal law.

Martti Koskenniemi argues that understandings of politics via rights evacuates the irreducibly communal quality of in justice claims. The ATCA gives district courts civil jurisdiction over torts in viola- tion of the law of nations independently of national or territorial jurisdiction.

As such, it func- tions as the civil law version of universal jurisdiction statutes that provide a state with criminal jurisdiction above and beyond the jurisdictional principles of nationality and territoriality.

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The ATCA presents an interesting hybrid case in the present context. Although the ATCA is an instrument of tort law, US courts have found defendants liable for criminal violations of inter- national law in litigations initiated by individuals claiming human rights violations. Courts Downloaded from lch. Detailing the nexus between criminal law and the invocation of political community, Arendt remarks about the crime of genocide as the ultimate crime against humanity: For just as a murderer is prosecuted because he has violated the law of the community, and not because he has deprived the Smith family of its husband, father, and breadwinner, so these modern, state-employed mass murderers must be prosecuted because they violated the order of mankind, and not because they killed millions of people.

Conclusion: Crimes against Humanity and the Claim to Humanity as a Body Politic By way of conclusion, I turn to a final topic that emerges from the foregoing discussion, namely the intimate nexus between criminal trials and invocations of political commu- nity. If domestic criminal law addresses the national political community as a whole, then the question arises how we should think about the relationship between interna- tional criminal law, and specifically crimes against humanity, and humanity as a global political community.

Saravia , and Chavez v.

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Garcia In the latter case, the court made refer- ences to cases adjudicated at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and cited the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, thereby strengthening the criminal law dimension of the ATCA case.

Moreover, courts regularly assign not only com- pensatory damages in ATCA cases, but also punitive damages. Given that the ATCA is restricted to the US legal sys- tem, however, it does not invalidate the overall argument advanced here. Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem. Arendt, Eichmann, p. The phrasing of human- ity as a category of international criminal law therefore appears to indicate the under- standing of humanity as a global political community.

She there sketches the ingrained narrative of political beginnings, namely the trope that all politics has its origin in violence and crime, in contradistinction to which she develops her account of revolu- tion and political founding. Recounting the standard narration of the violent origins of political organization, she writes: That such a beginning must be intimately connected with violence seems to be vouched for by the legendary beginnings of our history as both biblical and classical antiquity report it: Cain slew Abel, and Romulus slew Remus; violence was the beginning […].

Yet, given the prominence Arendt accords to this metaphor of the criminal founda- tions of political community, her remarks are instructive regarding the relationship between crimes against humanity and the claim to humanity as a global body politic. In this vein, the Nuremberg Trials mark a constitutive moment of claiming humanity as a global legal community structured by norms of justice with regard to positive inter- national law.

See Bassiouni, Crimes against Humanity, pp. However, claims to speak on behalf of humanity via crimes against humanity are riddled with disagree- ments that complicate their coherence and efficacy.

The feuilletons identify the enemy

Legal claims to humanity as a global political community via crimes against humanity thus remain deeply contested. One aspect that intervenes in the consistency and efficacy of claims to humanity is the contradiction between the particular- ity of the jurisdictional authority speaking on behalf of humanity and the global expanse of humanity.

The definition contained in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court criminalizes forms of direct, physical violence and thus excludes institutional and structural versions of violence from the range of prac- tices that offend humanity. Structural sources of political violence, such as large-scale envi- ronmental degradation and economic restructuring, are well beyond the purview of This contradiction shows primarily in two forms of jurisdiction over crimes against humanity.

National governments may adjudicate crimes against humanity via their universal jurisdic- tion statutes that are part of their domestic law. Further, international courts may initiate proceedings about crimes against humanity. Such courts, however, are either the product of international treaties signed by a number of separate sovereigns such as the International Criminal Court or of a binding United Nations Security Council resolution issued by its five permanent members.

Critiques of this tension between the particularity of jurisdiction and the globality of humanity can take several forms. The tu quoque critique, leveled against the allied powers sitting in judgment at Nuremberg, asks how actors who have committed mass violence themselves can legitimately pronounce justice on other such actors. The exer- cise of universal jurisdiction on counts of crimes against humanity and genocide by former colonial powers, such as France and Belgium, is vulnerable to the charge of long-term his- torical complicity in mass atrocities.

The response of the African Union to this issue illustrates once more the battles over political definitions and relationships fueled by attempts to apply international criminal law to situations of political violence. These examples illustrate that claims to humanity as a global political community via international criminal law remain contested due to the disput- able character of the authorities claiming to speak on behalf of humanity.

Yet, from a normative perspective, these processes amount to crimes against humanity.

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Such claims to humanity as a global politi- cal community therefore imagine humanity from a normative perspective. The reason for exclud- ing such structural causes of mass atrocities from the definition of crimes against human- ity may lie less in their missing gravity than in the difficulty of establishing causation and therefore the difficulty of assigning individual responsibility for them.

The importance of the economic and environmental context of large-scale political violence, however, should make us weary of affective justifications of the definition of crimes against humanity. This extension of international crimes indicates that what constitutes a criminal offense under international law is subject to contestation and political context.

The idea of war crimes, of criminal violations of the rules of warfare, presupposes that war itself is a normative concept defined by a set of rules and qualifications. Put differently, if the rules of war can be criminally violated, war is a normative and not just a descriptive concept in the sense that there is an institutionalized understanding of how it should be conducted. Against the equation between the criminal against humanity and the enemy of all mankind, I argued that the criminal, unlike the enemy, is a figure minimally integrated into the symbolic order of the law, which retains her human standing and her membership in the body politic.

Against approaches that conflate human rights violations with international crimes, it laid out how rights and crime produce different forms of agency and authority, which in turn engender specific political relationships phrased in distinct terms of law — an issue that is eclipsed by a Schmittian understanding of the exception of the locus of politics.

I concluded by mobilizing the nexus between criminal law and the body politic to point to the performative claim to humanity as a global body politics implicit in pronunciations of crimes against humanity. Aaron Gavin and Elaine Tan also offered helpful feedback during the writing stage. Related Papers. War and changing concepts of the political" in Scheipers and Strachan eds. By Patricia Owens. Crimes against Humanity Article edited. It would not be sufficient to tweak and fine-tune the existing political mechanisms of the EU, unless the Union as a form of political existence is rethought and, in fact, reconstituted as a whole.

After all, crises are also opportunities for radical change: here, this would imply going back to the drawing board, as it were, and considering 1 whether the citizens of Europe share a common political existence and 2 if so, what corresponding form of expressing this existence could be. Carl Schmitt, Constitutional Theory , trans. Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political , exp.

George Schwab Chicago: Univ. While the old constitutional structures have been left behind, the Union does not put forth a new model of a political regime. Notes 1. See Article 1. Schmitt, Constitutional Theory , p. Topics: Carl Schmitt , constitution , Europe , nation-state , sovereignty. Now Available! Recent Posts.