Practices and critiques of international humanitarian law
The development of contemporary humanitarian action has historically been associated with international humanitarian law. Viewed as a framework and scope for humanitarian action by certain players and as ambiguous (necro)ethics to be used as a political resource whenever necessary by others, humanitarian law has played a pivotal role in various controversies roiling MSF and the aid community. The studies contained in this volume explore these controversies, delving into the relationships between humanitarian organisations, international criminal justice, the right to intervene, the law-making process and the various ways the law is used.
In this post, published in Border Criminologies, Michaël Neuman and Corinne Torre speak out against the inhuman conditions imposed on migrants and refugees in Calais by the French state. This piece was originally published in French in Le Monde.
This article was originally published in French in Slate Magazine on 4 December 2015, accessible here. The article was translated into English by Teresa Piacentini for the University of Glasgow GramNet blog.
Considering that the United Nations juridictions officially recognises six genocides, Rony Brauman considers unjustifiable the fact that the French Parliament only recognises . The only alternative is to recognise all of them or none.
Could a doctor working for a humanitarian organisation be sentenced to life imprisonment in the United States for having offered his “expert advice” to people linked to a “terrorist organisation”? That is what is feared by a number of civil rights’ organisations in the US since the Supreme Court declared on 21 June that the legislation known as the Material Support Statute was constitutional.
Rony Brauman criticises the International Criminal Court's indictment of the Sudanese president for genocide. If the prosecutor's argument is followed, humanitarian organisations working in the displaced people's camps should be charged with complicity in genocide.
Argued in the 1990s in the name of the "right or duty to intervene", the application of military might to rescue populations in danger is now debated with reference to the "Responsibility to Protect" paradigm (or "R2P" for those in the know). In this article Fabrice Weissman explains why MSF refuses to adhere to this doctrine of ‘just war', whose legalisation would effectively be legalising a new form of imperialism.
This essay points out the fragility of the arguments most often used by humanitarian organizations to justify their support for an international criminal court. Questioning NGOs' infatuation with punitive justice, Fabrice Weissman argues that humanitarian organizations should advocate for politics of aid and mediation rather than for a global moral order based on judicial punishment and just war.
To embark upon a study of this theme is to enter a field strewn with contradictory representations linked to a highly sensitive issue – the limits of our responsibility – that has generated endless disagreements and debates on our “identity” and the existence or nonexistence of a role for MSF “beyond care”.