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Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy x Jaar 2018 x
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Access_open On the Humanity of the Enemy of Humanity

A Response to My Critics

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 2 2018
Trefwoorden hostis generis humani, humanity, International criminal justice, piracy
Auteurs David Luban
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Antony Duff, Marc de Wilde, Louis Sicking, and Sofia Stok offer several criticisms of my “The Enemy of All Humanity,” but central to all of them is concern that labeling people hostis generis humani dehumanizes them, and invites murder or extrajudicial execution. In response I distinguish political, legal, and theoretical uses of the ancient label. I agree with the critics that the political use is toxic and the legal use is dispensable. However, the theoretical concept is crucial in international criminal law, which rests on the assumptions that the moral heinousness of core crimes makes them the business of all humanity. Furthermore, far from dehumanizing their perpetrators, calling them to account before the law recognizes that they are no different from the rest of humanity. This response also offers rejoinders to more specific objections raised by the critics.


David Luban
David Luban is University Professor in Law and Philosophy at Georgetown University.
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