Wann ist Krieg gerechtfertigt? Das Problem des ‚bellum iustum‘ in historischer und systematischer Perspektive

Kolloquium der Professur für Neuere Geschichte (Westeuropa) an der

Helmut‐Schmidt‐Universität Hamburg am 23.‐24. März 2015, Hamburg

lm Mittelpunkt des Kolloquiums steht die Frage nach dem Spannungsverhältnis zwischen kriegsregulierenden Normen und bellizistischer Realität: lnwieweit haben die diversen moralischen bzw. rechtlichen Restriktionen erlaubter Kriegführung im Laufe der Geschichte das Ausmaß kriegerischer Gewalt reduziert? Hat die zunehmende Kriminalisierung des Krieges im 20. Jahrhundert diesen wirklich eingehegt oder lediglich neue Legitimationsstrategien entstehen lassen? Sind es am Ende vielleicht gar nicht so sehr normative Grundsätze als vielmehr ordnungspolitische, ökonomische u.a. Systemeigenschaften, welche den Grad binnen- bzw. zwischenstaatlicher Friedfertigkeit bestimmen?

Programm

Continue reading

Conference on Decolonization and Cold War Implications on War Crimes Trials in Asia, 1945-1954

Conference Report: “Rethinking Justice? Decolonization, Cold War, and Asian War Crimes Trials after 1945”, Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”, Heidelberg (organizer: Dr. Kerstin von Lingenwww.transcultural-justice.uni-hd.de ), October 26-29, 2014

20141028_War_Crime_Trials_Lingen

The first day of the conference began on the evening of 26 October. Kerstin von Lingen, leader of JRG ‘Transcultural Justice’ and principal organizer of the conference, gave an introductory speech where she highlighted how war crimes trials in Asia offered a crucial legal, political, and moral-ideological watershed through which some of the initial contestations of decolonization and Cold War were played out. She argued that the trials should not be seen in isolation, but as part of this broader global politics, and also as an integral stage in the emergence of new universalistic norms of international humanitarian law. Fabian Klose (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz) suggested that in spite of the emergence of these new norms, the traditional colonial powers (he took the specific examples of Britain and France) were reluctant to accept these standards, since their acceptance would have restricted the potential to use violent force to maintain domination in the colonies in Africa and Asia.

Continue reading

HUMANITY VOLUME 5, ISSUE 3

The new issue contains a diverse suite of articles — Jessica Whyte’s fascinating engagement with the theme of Robinson Crusoe in debates around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an example with a rich earlier philosophical history; Johanna Siméant’s probing sociological examination of the rise of “advocacy” in international affairs; and Peter Slezkine’s breakthrough account of the origins of Human Rights Watch. They are joined by Greg Girard’s photo essay “Phantom Shanghai” and the regular essay reviews, including Laleh Khalili’s fabulous reading of recent books on counterinsurgent warfare and Patrick W. Kelly’s historiographical digest of work on Latin America and human rights.

hum.5.1_front_sm

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Continue reading

History in the Making: An @ICRC Interview with Andrew Thompson

Cross-Posted from CIGH Exeter 

ICRC

ICRC Headquarters, Geneva.

Malcolm Lucard
Cross-posted from Red Cross Red Crescent Magazine

Internal records from the ICRC’s archives concerning the conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s shed light on a decisive era for humanitarian action.

In a small room in the basement of ICRC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, historian Andrew Thompson methodically pours through folders full of documents — typewritten mission reports, confidential telegrams and hand-written letters — never before seen by people outside the ICRC.

“It is a process of discovery,” says Thompson, a professor of history at Exeter University in the United Kingdom. “There is a sense of expectation and anticipation not knowing what is going to be there. For a historian, it’s a bit like opening a birthday present, or like going into a candy shop.”

The ‘candy shop’ in this case is the ICRC archives, where Thompson is exploring 40- to 50-year-old records to be released to the public in January 2015 under the ICRC’s policy of making internal documents public in blocks of ten years once 40 years have passed since the events they describe.

Aside from exciting Thompson’s intellectual curiosity, these records offer a deeper understanding of conflicts going on between 1965 and 1975. In particular, they give insight into an area of great interest to Thompson, who took an early look at the records in order to pursue research on the evolution of international humanitarian law and human rights law as they pertain to the treatment of political detainees in non-international conflicts.

Continue reading

Call for Papers: Conference “Contested Visions of Justice: Allied War Crimes Trials in a Global Context, 1943-1958″, Dublin, September 25-27, 2015

Venue: Boston College in Ireland, Dublin, 25-27 September 2015

Convenors: Kerstin von Lingen, Heidelberg University; Wolfgang Form, Marburg University; Franziska Seraphim, Boston College; Barak Kushner, Cambridge University

Co-sponsored by Boston College, Heidelberg University and the German Historical Institute, Washington DC

Call for Papers, deadline: February 07, 2015

Despite important differences in the war aims and conduct of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, war crimes trial policies emerged as globally connected domains of meting out justice that cut across the borders of nations, cultures, and continents. The aim of this conference, which is open to historians, political scientists and legal scholars alike, is to analyze and compare the transnational interconnections among the political, administrative, legal and social mechanisms of Allied transitional justice in the reshaping of the post-World War II world, with the prospect of an edited publication.

Far from a unidirectional imposition of “Western norms” on global conceptions of justice, experiences in Asia turn out to also have shaped legal perceptions in Europe, the United States, and the Soviet Union. The emerging geopolitics of the Cold War met with those of civil wars and decolonization in Asia, with huge implications not only for former colonies but for the European metropoles as well, including the former Axis powers themselves.

Continue reading

Conference: The Laws of War and Military Justice from 1700 to the Present

Venue: German Historical Institute Paris

Date: 14-16 January 2015

Organisation: Steffen Prauser (IHA) and Hanna Sonkajärvi (Universidad del Pais Vasco)

Conference Programme:

Wednesday 14th January 2015

14h30                Welcome and Registration

Thomas Maissen (Director of the IHA), Hanna Sonkajärvi (Universidad del País Vasco), Steffen Prauser (IHA),

15h00                Military Justice in the Early Modern Period

Sandro Wiggerich (Universität Münster), Why Military Justice? – History of an Argument

PD Dr. Markus Meumann (Universität Erfurt), Searching for the Origins of the Conseils de Guerre in Seventeenth Century France

Discussion followed by a coffee break

16h30                Family, Gender, and Eighteenth Century Military Justice

Maria Sjöberg (Gothenburg University), Family Matters and Military Justice in Eighteenth Century Wars

Marianna Muravyeva (Oxford Brookes University), Creating a Model Citizen: Sex Crimes and the Military in Eighteenth-Century Russia

Discussion followed by a leg stretch

18h00                Laws of War in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Renaud Morieux (Cambridge University), The Laws of War and the Laws of the Prison. French and British Prisoners of War in the Eighteenth Century

Jakob Zollmann (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung),  N.N.

Discussion Continue reading

New Book on “René Cassin and Human Rights”

Jay Winter, Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University, and Antoine Prost, Professor Emeritus at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, have published their new book on René Cassin and Human Rights. From the Great War to the Universal Declaration, (originally published in French in 2011). Both authors are investigating the emergence of the international human rights regime through the lens of one of its supposed major protagonists. They focusing on the life of the prominent French jurist and diplomat René Cassin (1887-1976), who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968 for his renowned human rights commitment.

9781107655706

By examining the biography of this prominent figure Winter and Prost seek to show what human rights meant to a generation that experienced two World Wars and how these experiences shaped the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Approaching the history of human rights through the prism of an individual’s life both authors claim to add a “third approach” ( p. xix) to the existing literature:  “This biography is a history of the struggle for human rights in a specific time and place. We offer a different chronology and a compromise between those who see human rights as advancing in a glacial manner in a cumulative or additive process of gains and losses, and those who see it in terms of truncated evolution, with a radical break at a specific point in time” (p. xix).

I have just published a review of the book in the American Historical Review, Vol. 119, No. 5, p. 1786-1787. If you are interested in reading it, you will find the complete review @:

http://ahr.oxfordjournals.org/content/119/5/1786.full?keytype=ref&ijkey=Pz5fCb7lkzrrdjj

Conference: Decolonization and the origins of ‘excessive’ violence

Decolonization and the origins of ‘excessive’ violence: Dutch military operations in Indonesia (1945-1950) in comparative perspective

10-12 December 2014 Leiden

Website

The conference is initiated by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) in Leiden, the Netherlands, and deals with the Indonesian decolonization war of 1945-1949. The aim in particular is to explore the occurrence of ‘excessive’ violence or (war crimes) during this conflict. In Dutch historiography there has been limited attention for the violent nature of these closing years of Dutch colonialism, while the possibility of Dutch war crimes remains a sensitive and under-explored subject. By way of a comparative approach – both diachronically and synchronically –  the goal is to achieve a better understanding of the role ‘excessive’ violence played during this conflict. We want to discuss how historians can further investigate this important but neglected period of (Dutch) colonial history.

Conference Programme: Continue reading

Richard von Weizsäcker Lecture “The Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid: A Historical Perspective” by Johannes Paulmann

Prof. Dr. Johannes Paulmann, currently Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, will speak today at St Antony’s College/Oxford on the topic “The Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid: A Historical Perspective”.

PaulmannHumanitarian aid has been a malleable concept. It covers a broad range of activities including emergency relief delivered to people struck by disasters; longer term efforts to prevent suffering from famine, ill-health or poverty; or humanitarian intervention. The boundaries of humanitarianism have often been blurred. Existing narratives for the twentieth century provide no satisfactory explanation for the evolution of the field. We need to highlight instead historical conjunctures and contingencies such as wars and post-war periods, empires and decolonization. The emphasis on conflicting forces and multi-layered structures at particular moments in time provides a historical perspective revealing fundamental dilemmas faced by international humanitarian aid to the present day.

This public lecture will take place on Tuesday 2nd December 2014, from 05:00 – 06:45 p.m. at the European Studies Centre.

You find additional information at:

http://www.sant.ox.ac.uk/esc/

Reminder: CfA for Global Humanitarianism Research Academy open until 31 December 2014

We, Fabian Klose, Johannes Paulmann, and Andrew Thompson, would like to remind you that the Call for Applications for the first Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2015 is still open until 31 December 2014.

The international Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) offers research training to advanced PhD candidates and early postdocs. It combines academic sessions at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz and the Imperial and Global History Centre at the University of Exeter with archival sessions at the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. The Research Academy addresses early career researchers who are working in the related fields of humanitarianism, international humanitarian law, peace and conflict studies as well as human rights covering the period from the 18th to the 20th century. It supports scholarship on the ideas and practices of humanitarianism in the context of international, imperial and global history thus advancing our understanding of global governance in humanitarian crises of the present.

 Poster GHRA

The Research Academy invites applications for the 2015 Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) from PhD students and early postdocs. The Steering Committee will select up to 12 participants. Applicants must be able to certify that they are fluent in both written and spoken English, the Academy’s working language. For researching the ICRC archives a fair command of reading French is desirable in order to use the finding aids as well as the material. Continue reading

Social History Society: Conference Strand on Global and Transnational Approaches

Founded in 1976, the Social History Society (SHS) organises an annual conference which is the largest regular gathering of social and cultural historians in the UK. In 2014, this event took place at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, with over 190 papers being presented across seven thematic strands. In 2015, the SHS conference is heading to the south of England: it’ll take place from 31 March to 2 April at Portsmouth University. The deadline for paper and panel proposals is 8 December 2014. Further information can be accessed via the conference website.

Readers of the ‘Humanitarianism and Human Rights’ blog may be particularly interested in the ‘Global and Transnational Approaches’ strand, which ran for the first time at the Northumbria conference. In 2014, one panel was specifically dedicated to ‘Humanitarian Networks’, with Tom Davies (City University) discussing Lifesaving Societies in the early 19th century, Vanessa Lincoln (Sciences-Po) analysing the Société de la morale chrétienne, and Tehila Sasson (UC Berkeley) considering the interplay between imperial and humanitarian practices. Another panel examined different responses to natural disasters in twentieth-century East Asia, with contributions from David William Clayton (York), Chris Courtney (Cambridge), Pierre Fuller (Manchester) and Janet Hunter (LSE). Furthermore, several individual papers also covered issues that connect to the themes of the HHR blog – for example, Matt Perry (Newcastle) discussed Ellen Wilkinson’s contribution to the ‘Hands Off China’ campaign in the second half of the 1920s.

You can find a full description of the stand and its rationale via this link. If you have any further questions, you are also welcome to contact the strand convenors: Pierre Fuller, Emma Hunter and Daniel Laqua.

 

Shtadlanut and the Diplomacy of Jewish Questions

The 18th century saw the beginnings of the discourse on what we understand today as “minority” and “human rights” as well as “international law”. The same is true for the use of the term “diplomacy”. However, already in 1716, François de Callières (1645–1717), a minister of Louis XIV of France and member of the French academy, termed the practices of diplomacy avant la lettre perhaps in the most concise way in his treatise De la manière de négocier avec les souverains (“On the Manner of Negotiating with Princes”). De Callières advised counselors and ministers in his manual about self-control, discretion, and patience. He also recommended an interest-led negotiating style. A good mediator should always try to formulate his proposes according to the interests of his partner and should constantly point out the mutual advantages. Furthermore, the minister emphasized that the negotiating partners should always seek for a permanent, stable relationship.

So long before the concept of “diplomacy” existed and the discourse on minorities and human rights emerged, there were related practices that ensured the intercession for individuals and collectives in previous time periods, the strategic representation of interests and political negotiations. These practices of negotiating and intervening existed in various societies and they were also part of the Jewish culture.

The history of the Jews shows that negotiations with non-Jewish authorities as well as the establishment and consolidation of good relationships played an essential role. The permission of settlement and the location policy were the basis of Jewish life, particularly in medieval and early modern Europe. In the early modern period, the manner of negotiating with the non-Jewish authorities was so refined that a term based on the Aramaic root of “shadal” – meaning “to intercede” or “to make an effort” – was created: the so-called “Shtadlanut” (“intercession”). Continue reading

Anthropology and Humanitarianism – Reading by a Historian

Miriam Ticktin, “Transnational Humanitarianism”, Annual Review of Anthropology 43 (2014). This is a useful review article on how anthropologists have studied humanitarianism since the late 1980s. It provides valuable insight into the epistemology of the discipline but also raises questions which may interest others, such as historians like myself. One of Ticktin’s main contentions is that the study of humanitarianism was central to a shift in legal and medical anthropology, from analysing cross-cultural differences to a concern with the universal through the particuluar focus on suffering subjects. In the wake of decolonization, she suggests, this turn gave anthropology a new moral legitimation following criticism in the 1960s and 1970s of its entanglement with colonialism. We may ask whether the resulting kinship between anthropologists and humanitarians perhaps also has an analogy in the role historians wish to play when they study humanitarianism.

From Ticktin’s review of the recently literature, we see a move away from this emphatic engagement of the 1990s to a sometimes severe criticism of humanitarianism in present day anthropological writings. She asks (and historians need to ask themselves the same question, I believe) from what moral, political or other position we criticise those morally driven movements and actions. What is our role when we write, for example, about the “humanitarian aid industry”; the negative consequences of living in refugee camps; the self-interests of those humanitarians who outwardly engage to “save” others; or the implication of humanitarianism with other forces such as government domination over ethnic minorities, military activities or economic interests? As scholars, we cannot stop being critical but we should perhaps also reflect on the positions we are thereby occupying.

US Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion deliver a sling load of wheat donated by the people of Australia, Somalia 1993 (Photo: PHCM Terry Mitchell) http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Aus_wheat_in_Somalia.jpg

Operation RESTORE HOPE, Somalia 1993

(Photo: PHCM Terry Mitchell)

Lastly, Ticktin rightly emphasizes the blurring of boundaries of humanitarianism, i.e. the overlap between humanitarian relief, human rights, development, and humanitarian intervention. She claims that the delimitations are breaking down with the overwhelming growth of the humanitarian aid industry in recent years. From a historical perspective (see my take on the blurred history of humanitarian aid in Humanity 4/2 (2013), this is no surprise. To my knowledge, though, we do not have a careful study of how these boundaries were drawn over time. Ticktin’s review may serve as a reminder to pursue further historical investigation not only of the political in and around humanitarianism but also of the changing epistemology of scholarship on humanitarianism, and the way both interact. This is what a historian takes away from reading a most welcome review of the recent anthropological literature.

Journal for Human Rights: Special Issue on “Human Rights and Violence”

The Journal of Human Rights/Zeitschrift für Menschenrechte (zfmr) is a multidisciplinary quarterly journal, which publishes articles concerning the issues of human rights in English and German. Its aim is to serve as an interdisciplinary forum for the public discussion and social-theoretic reflection of questions of human rights. The journal reaches out especially to scholars working in all fields of political science, history, philosophy, sociology, and legal theory as well as politicians, policy makers and decision makers in politics, economy, and civil society. It seeks to intensive significantly the debate about human rights in political science and in related disciplines and offers wide-ranging approaches to the subject including both theoretic and empirical perspectives.

zfmr

The main objective of the Journal of Human Rights is “to make a significant scholarly contribution to the theory of human rights and enrich and expand discourses about rights in practical political, economic, and social contexts. The journal is committed to the systematic development of the human rights subfield in political science and to the broadening the debate on human rights at all levels.”

Its recent issue focuses on the topic of “Human Rights and Violence” and contains a broad variety of articles from different disciplines. You can have a look at the abstracts of all contributions @:http://www.zeitschriftfuermenschenrechte.de/

In this issue I have published a contribution on the emergence and limits of the human rights regime after 1945 with a special reference to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 in the colonial context. Continue reading