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Über dieses Buch

We are understandably reluctant to "rank" moral atrocities. What is worse, genocide or terrorism? In this book, Thomas W. Simon argues that politicians use this to manipulate our sense of injustice by exaggerating terrorism and minimizing torture. He advocates for an international criminal code that encourages humanitarian intervention.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction

Introduction

Abstract
We seldom say these things, but we often make these kinds of judgments. Humans have a built-in device that judges just about everything. We constantly evaluate and compare. Of course, we pretend otherwise. We do not want to be seen as imposing our values on others—or at least stand accused of doing this. We like to think of ourselves as professing and practicing value neutrality.
Thomas W. Simon

Comparing Injustices: The Centrality of Genocide

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Comparing Wrongs

Abstract
Humans make judgments and comparisons. They especially compare to determine which human characteristic or act is best and which is worst. These comparative judgments, if not unavoidable, often guide action and policy. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) sort out accident victims according to triage principles, attending to the most critically injured first. They treat unconscious victims before those victims with less severe injuries.
Thomas W. Simon

Chapter 2. Comparing Genocides

Abstract
On January 22, 1941, members of the Legionnaires of the Archangel Michael or Iron Guard, a major political party in Romania, drove 20 Jewish men, women, and children through the automated stages of a local slaughterhouse. After thrusting each body on a hook, they stamped the decapitated and limbless torsos “fit for human consumption.”1
Thomas W. Simon

Chapter 3. Rwanda

Undervalued Injustice
Abstract
Rwanda represents “the undervalued genocide”—hardly a noble distinction. The phrase brings to the fore something troubling about the Rwandan genocide. Almost everyone pays lip service to this genocide by acknowledging its horror. And anyone who knows the least about it will invariably express regret and bemoan the international community’s failure to act. Yet, soon after those with bleeding hearts express these laments, they quickly resort either to some form of Rwanda bashing or, even worse, to complete silence as if Rwanda no longer exists. This chapter attempts to understand it, “it” being not so much the Rwandan genocide as the evaluations of and reactions to it.
Thomas W. Simon

Comparative Applications: War on Terror’s Distortions

Frontmatter

Chapter 4. Torture

Undervalued Injustice
Abstract
Imagine a fully conscious man strapped faced down on a cold steel table. A sharp knife, hovering above, descends to carve descriptions of his hideous deeds into his back. Another device follows the knife to stop the bleeding and cleanse the wound before a third device fills the open wounds with ink. The machine—called the Harrow—“goes on writing, more and more deeply, for twelve hours.”1 With this, the writer Franz Kafka provides a harrowing iconic image of torture in his dark story The Penal Colony.
Thomas W. Simon

Chapter 5. Terrorism

Overvalued Injustice
Abstract
“The world will never be the same.” What place, if any, does terrorism have among the panoply of international crimes? Does it sit comfortably alongside its peers—genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity? Or does it occupy a position of greater stature seated above the others, at the high table? Contrary to current trends, terrorism ranks rather low. It does not and should not even qualify as an international crime.
Thomas W. Simon

From Theory to Practice: Humanitarian Intervention Revised

Frontmatter

Chapter 6. Universal Wrongs

Jus Cogens
Abstract
“It’s a bird, It’s a plane…” It’s a sham; it’s jus cogens.1 Many jurists find peremptory norms2 an empty concept—”at best useless and at worst harmful…. “3 Yet, the task of finding the highest or universal norms of international law has proponents as well as detractors. Among publicists, only a few deny the existence of jus cogens.4 Yet, beyond an agreement that it exists, jus cogens remains clouded in mystery. This chapter blows away some of the mysterious fog by defending a single jus cogens, universal norm, namely, the prohibition against genocide. Armed with a defensible core concept of jus cogens, the more troublesome outer perimeters become more tractable.
Thomas W. Simon

Chapter 7. Duty to Act

Beyond Responsibility to Protect
Abstract
The project of this book, the distinguishing among and ranking international crimes provides an analytic framework for formulating a defensible policy on when other countries and organizations should intervene in another country’s internal affairs. A brief survey of recent humanitarian interventions does not reveal any defensible set of intervention standards. The humanitarian reach of international law has extended considerably, especially since the early days, and by the “early days” we do not have to look back very far. States dominate the United Nations, effectively blocking voices outside the nation-state. In 1968, Resolution 1296 even threatened to expel nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from their role as consultants to UN agencies, seeing them as a threat to state domination over international law. Now, NGOs play a critical role in the United Nations.
Thomas W. Simon

Conclusion

Conclusion

Abstract
Domestic criminal codes rank crimes in terms of their seriousness. Different crimes receive different penalties and punishments depending on their seriousness. Why should international criminal law be the exception, the outlier? The problem at the international level is more a matter of political will and practical politics than anything else. There are no good reasons other than pragmatic obstacles for not establishing a hierarchy of crimes at the international level.
Thomas W. Simon

Backmatter

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