Attack by Design: Australia’s Offshore Detention System and the Literature of Atrocity
Forthcoming, European Journal of International Law (2021)
22 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2021
Date Written: February 17, 2021
A great work of literature does more for international criminal justice than providing evidence. By couching the evidence in conceptual categories, literature can offer insights on how law should be interpreted. This essay seeks to demonstrate this argument about legal interpretation through a reading of Behrouz Boochani’s much-acclaimed No Friends but the Mountain. In doing so, it offers a reflection on the significance of literary evidence authored by those subjected to atrocity. Boochani is far from being the first author whose work is valuable both as literature and as testimony (an overlap that has been widely studied in the humanities and social sciences). Yet the relationship between the two is still seldom appreciated by lawyers, and for its value to legal theory. The essay aims to contribute to the latter discussion, specifically as it pertains to contemporary abuses against asylum seekers.
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