INTERNATIONAL CRIME AND JUSTICE, pp. 321-328, Mangai Natarajan, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2011
Posted: 1 Feb 2011 Last revised: 28 May 2015
Date Written: January 1, 2011
The history of international humanitarian law might be - and has been - told as a story of barbarity to civilization whereby enlightened individuals recognize the awfulness of war and, against adversity, manage to curtail it with law. This history has also been presented as a tragedy where reason struggles to control violence and fails. This chapter, by contrast, attempts to identify the tensions between proscription and prescription, humanitarianism and patriotism, and law and politics, which have run deep through the field of humanitarian law from its early inception. It makes the point that humanitarian law, which at first appears to be a principled constraint on war, is intricately entwined with it.
Keywords: International humanitarian law, war crimes, proscription, prescription, humanitarianism, patriotism, law, politics.
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