We are now accustomed to thinking of the Holocene as an epoch that we have left behind. But from what perspective do we close the Holocene and begin describing the Anthropocene? Academic disciplines have their own geology: epistemic or medial strata, sediments or condensations, which condition the apprehension and communication of fresh insight. The phrase ‘Holocene jurisprudence’ draws attention to a particular epistemic sediment: the figure of appropriation or ‘taking’, which is reactivated in many critical commentaries on the Anthropocene. And if, speaking figuratively, one were to identify an index fossil that compellingly expresses the epistemic traditions and potentialities that are sedimented into the Euro-American figure of appropriation, then Carl Schmitt's Nomos of the Earth would be a good candidate.
Dina Lupin Townsend
The Inter-American Court and Commission of Human Rights, following the approach in key international human rights texts, have emphasized the importance of procedural rights in the protection of indigenous rights to territory and to cultural identity. In particular, the Court and Commission have focused on rights to consultation in a range of cases in which indigenous peoples have challenged mining, logging and other extractive activities on their territories.
Consultation processes are often expected to serve a wide range of purposes in the protection of indigenous rights and interests in territory. Consultation is a means of informing a community about a project, but also a process through which an agreement can be reached between the community and the State about the use of territory or the sharing of benefits. In this article, I focus on consultation's role as part of the impact assessment process.
In determining the impact that a project might have on indigenous territory, the Court and Commission have found that the State must assess both the environmental and cultural impacts of a plan or activity. Consultation is a necessary part of the identification of the impacts of an activity and ensuring that the State has all the necessary information prior to making decisions to grant concessions over indigenous territory.
However, the Court and Commission's interpretation of indigenous testimony in consultation processes could undermine the role of such testimony in the assessment of environmental impacts, and might silence indigenous participants rather than ensure their meaningful participation. With reference to the idea of illocutionary silencing, taken from feminist speech act theory, I argue that the Court and Commission have interpreted indigenous testimony about the environment as being claims about the cultural impacts of disputed activities or plans, and not as claims about the environmental impacts. In other words, when indigenous community members have offered descriptions of their territories and surrounding environments, such testimony has been treated not as descriptions of the environment but as reports of cultural beliefs and practices. As a result, indigenous input in regard to the environmental impacts of a project or plan can be overlooked. In this article I argue that this failure to recognize indigenous accounts of the environment means that these communities are silenced through the consultation process and denied the opportunity to be informed about all relevant impacts.
The ‘problem’ of ‘the child soldier’ is a touchstone of our contemporary time. It names an impassioned concern with the exploitation and victimization of children in situations of armed conflict by more powerful state and non-state actors – a concern which is understood to reflect a global humanitarian sentiment that has emerged in response to the grave violence and injustice that occurs in the world. Influential international actors and institutions frame child soldiering as ‘one of the most deplorable developments in recent years’ and a ‘crime against humanity’, cautioning that ‘[e]mpathy alone with the suffering of boys and girls in times of conflict is not enough. We must act.’ The problem of child soldiering thus justifies a variety of humanitarian campaigns, international justice initiatives and political interventions designed to end the practice. In the name of preventing and redressing the scourge of child soldiering, individuals, communities and organizations come together to denounce this practice and respond to its effects. And at the heart of many of these collaborations and campaigns lies an image of the vulnerable (often African) child compelling protection and care. This is an image that can appear as transparent as it is problematic; an unquestionable depiction of injustice that seems to demand a certain reaction. This is the work of problematization. Problematization refers to the socially, legally, politically, culturally and historically located processes whereby a particular issue or concern emerges on the social and legal scene. It is the giving of form to something which previously did not exist as such, in particular ways. Problematization refers to ‘the totality of discursive or non-discursive practices that introduces something into the play of true and false and constitutes it as an object for thought (whether in the form of moral reflection, scientific knowledge, political analysis)’. Here then, problematization refers to the way in which the complex array of contexts and experiences that have been described so carefully in the preceding pages come to be understood as parts of a whole, as different perspectives on ‘the problem of the child soldier’. And it is from this understanding and articulation of a shared problem that potential solutions can then be crafted – solutions which are always delimited to the terms and truths upon which the initial problematization is based. An attention to problematization, therefore, separates an acknowledgement of the reality of children’s participation in conflict from the current, somewhat cohesive and consistent, way of understanding (and indeed pathologizing) this participation, its nature, causes and potential solutions.
Theory, Practice and Policy
Edited by Devyani Prabhat
Massimo La Torre, Leone Niglia and Mart Susi
This book’s aim is to take seriously the legal theoretical thesis that the law has a double dimension: a ‘real’ or ‘conventional’ dimension, which is somehow a matter of course and a reflection of the concrete legal practice in the world of facts, and an ‘ideal’ or ‘normative’ dimension, which one finds in the aspi¬rations and claims that accompany that same legal practice and facts. Law is factual, but it is also ideal and/or normative, and this is in the common percep¬tion of citizens and legal practitioners related to a notion of justice. This double dimension of law has been articulated in different ways by several philoso¬phers of law and legal scholars, and has recently found a powerful elaboration in Professor Robert Alexy’s theory of the nature of law. In this book we take as a starting point Professor Alexy’s proposal and at the same time attempt to present an original discussion about law and rights. As a matter of fact it is legal rights and principles that best express what is commonsensically meant by the ideal and normative dimensions of law.
Mark A. Drumbl and Jastine C. Barrett
Throughout history, armed conflict has ensnared children. On occasion such children have been lauded as heroes or, at least, praised for their martial courage in the darkness of desperate times. Increasingly, however, the involvement of children in armed conflict is no longer seen as unbecoming or an anguished last stand but, instead, as flatly impermissible with the affected children projected as afflicted victims. Global consciousness has shifted. The drift of international human rights law, international criminal law and international humanitarian law both reflects and hardens this shift. The relationship of the child with armed conflict has migrated from one informed by ethics, needs and morality to one regulated by law, rules and public policy. The international community is progressively moving towards a position where the conscription, enlistment or use in hostilities of persons under the age of 18 – in particular by armed groups but also increasingly by armed forces – is seen as unlawful. Many activist and humanitarian groups commit to the cause of ending child soldiering. UNICEF and other United Nations (UN) organs have deeply invested themselves in this mission as well. In 1996, pursuant to a UN General Assembly resolution, Graca Machel of Mozambique submitted a ground-breaking report entitled Impact of Armed Conflict on Children (widely known as the Machel Report). The Machel Report firmly put children and violent conflict on the international agenda and has had considerable social constructivist influence. In light of one of its recommendations, for example, the Office of the Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict was established within the UN system. The UN Security Council, generally fractured, has unified to issue 12 resolutions over the past two decades on children in armed conflict. The focus of law- and policymakers has further expanded to address the place of children in terrorist groups and to interrogate how counter-terrorist strategies and initiatives should approach such children.