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publications

Rights and Justice

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.

Types
Un signe d'interdiction des armes est collé sur la fenêtre d'une voiture
Article

Criminalising the enemy and its impact on humanitarian action

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. 

A tank moves towards the frontlines as people are fleeing
Article

"Not in our name": Why Medecins sans frontières does not support the "responsability of protect"

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.

 

Un hôpital Médecins Sans Frontières au Soudan
Article

Humanitarian Aid and the International Criminal Court. Grounds for Divorce

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.