Friday, February 17, 2006

How to punish those who commit atrocities in Darfur?

On the same subject as my post below, what do you do when demons plow over a church full of refugees and burn the rubble to kill those who survived? A new paper, "Atrocity and Punishment," by one Mr. Drumbl, addresses this issue of extraordinary crime and ordinary punishment. How do you treat a demon? As a person, as someone hors-le-loi, as a punishable example for other, future demons? Can we resurrect the category of barbarians and outlaws for the most atrocious actors? Do you execute extra-judicially (Churchill), use show-trials (Stalin), or make long trials aimed not at the defendants but at history (Truman)? Is evil one end of a continuous spectrum, as the liberal legalist paradigm asserts, or is it thought-defying, as Hannah Arendt believes?

What will become of Darfur when the demons are finally caught?

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