Who Is the Subject of Atrocities Prevention?

In: Global Responsibility to Protect
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  • 1 Tufts University

This essay poses the question, who is the subject of atrocities prevention? Borrowing a rhetorical and argumentative model from Jacques Ranciere’s work on the subject of human of rights, the essay explores the conceptual frameworks for the subjects of atrocities and queries their relevance to the specific context of prevention. The concepts that dominate work on mass atrocities were articulated in relation to atrocities that were underway or had concluded; they are a poor fit for prevention. New work on prevention, like that on ‘factors of restraint’ or resilience,’ suggest revisions to the concepts and cases that currently dominate study of mass atrocities. Crucial amongst these concepts that require adjustment are how we address the subject of atrocities prevention.

  • 1

    Jacques Ranciere, ‘Who is the Subject of the Rights of Man?’ South Atlantic Quarterly, 103/2–3: 297–310 (2004).

  • 3

    Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: The World Publishing Co., 1951), p. 299.

  • 5

    Rancière, “Who is the Subject of the Rights of Man?”, p. 305.

  • 6

    Rancière, “Who is the Subject of the Rights of Man?”, p. 304.

  • 8

    Fionnuala Ni Aolain, ‘Sex-based Violence and the Holocaust—A Reevaluaion of Harms and Rights in International Law,’ Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, 12/1: 43–84 (2000), p. 82.

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  • 9

    Raoul Hilberg, Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe 1933–1945 (New York: HarperCollins, 1992).

  • 12

    McEvoy and McConnachie, ‘Victim and Transitional Justice,’ p. 499.

  • 13

    McEvoy and McConnachie, ‘Victim and Transitional Justice,’ p. 492.

  • 14

    Katherine Verdery, The Political Lives of Dead Bodies: Reburial and Postsocialist Change (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), p. 97.

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  • 16

    Ibid., p. 43.

  • 18

    Laurel Leff, Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

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  • 19

    Raphael Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (Washington, d.c.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944),

  • 20

    Ibid., p. 79.

  • 22

    Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, p. 91.

  • 28

    Lee Ann Fujii, Killing Neighbors: Webs of Violence In Rwanda (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009), p. 13.

  • 30

    Hugo Slim, Killing Civilians: Method, Madness and Morality in War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), p. 1.

  • 31

    Geneva Declaration, The Global Burden of Armed Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

  • 33

    Geneva Declaration, The Global Burden of Armed Violence, p. 15.

  • 35

    Hugh Roberts, ‘Who Said Gaddafi Had to Go?’ London Review of Books, 33/22: 8 – 18 (17 November 2011).

  • 37

    Thomas Cushman, ‘Is Genocide Preventable? Some Theoretical Considerations’, Journal of Genocide Research, 5/4: 523–542.

  • 38

    A/66/874, 25 July 2012, p. 4.

  • 40

    Scott Straus, ‘Retreating from the Brink: Theorizing Mass Violence and the Dynamics of Restraint,’ Perspectives on Politics, 10:02, (2012), 343–362.

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  • 45

    Straus, ‘Retreating from the Brink’ and Deborah Mayersen and Stephen McLoughlin, ‘Risk and Resilience to Mass Atrocities in Africa: A Comparison of Rwanda and Botswana’, Journal of Genocide Research 13:3 (2011) 247–269.

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  • 46

    Straus, ‘Retreating from the Brink’, p. 355.

  • 48

    Ibid., p.356.

  • 49

    Mayersen and McLoughlin, ‘Risk and Resilience to Mass Atrocities in Africa: A Comparison of Rwanda and Botswana’, p. 248.

  • 50

    Ibid., p. 265.

  • 51

    Margot Phaneuf, ‘Resilience: Abstract Concept of Survival Skill’ 2007. http://www.infiressources.ca/fer/Depotdocument_anglais/Resilience_abstract_concept_or_survival_skill.pdf, accessed 30 May 2014.

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  • 53

    Ibid., p. 3.

  • 54

    Ibid., p. 10.

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