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Access_open Crimes Against Humanity and Hostes Generis Humani

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2018
Keywords hostis generis humani, Luban, crimes against humanity, political community, international criminal law
Authors Antony Duff
AbstractAuthor's information

    In ‘The Enemy of All Humanity’, David Luban provides an insightful and plausible account of the idea of the hostis generis humani (one that shows that the hostis need not be understood to be an outlaw), and of the distinctive character of the crimes against humanity that the hostis commits. However, I argue in this paper, his suggestion that the hostis is answerable to a moral community of humanity (in whose name the ICC must thus claim to speak) is not tenable. Once we recognize the intimate connection between criminal law and political community, we can see that the hostis should answer to the local, domestic political community in and against which he commits his crimes; and that the proper role of the International Criminal Court, acting in the name of the community of nations, is to provide a second-best substitute for such answering when the local polity cannot or will not hold him to account.


Antony Duff
Antony Duff is Professor Emeritus at the University of Stirling.

Antony Duff
Antony Duff holds the Russell M and Elizabeth M Bennett Chair in the University of Minnesota Law School, and is a Professor Emeritus of the Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling.

    In this response to my five critics, I note the strength of the arguments in favour of treating the presumption of innocence as a narrow, legal presumption that operates only within the criminal process; but I then try to make clearer my reasons for talking of different presumptions of innocence (moral, rather than legal, presumptions) outside the criminal process, in other contexts in which issues of criminal guilt or innocence arise – presumptions that guide or are expressed in the conduct of the state’s officials towards its citizens, and of citizens towards each other. Once we look at these other contexts in which criminal guilt and innocence (of past and future crimes) are at stake, we can see the importance of civic trust as a practical attitude that citizens owe to each other; and the fruitfulness of examining the various normative roles that citizens may have to play in relation to the criminal law.


Antony Duff
Antony Duff holds the Russell M and Elizabeth M Bennett Chair in the University of Minnesota Law School, and is a Professor Emeritus of the Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling.

    This paper explores the roles that the presumption of innocence (PoI) can play beyond the criminal trial, in other dealings that citizens may have with the criminal law and its officials. It grounds the PoI in a wider notion of the civic trust that citizens owe each other, and that the state owes its citizens: by attending to the roles that citizens may find themselves playing in relation to the criminal law (such roles as suspect, defendant, convicted offender and ‘ex-offender’), we can see both how a PoI protects us, beyond the confines of the trial, against various kinds of coercion, and how that PoI is modified or qualified as we acquire certain roles. To develop and illustrate this argument, I pay particular attention to the roles of defendant (both during the trial and while awaiting trial) and of ‘ex-offender,’ and to the duties that such roles bring with them.


Antony Duff
Antony Duff holds the Russell M and Elizabeth M Bennett Chair in the University of Minnesota Law School, and is a Professor Emeritus of the Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling.
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