Author Archives: Bronwyn Leebaw

About Bronwyn Leebaw

Associate professor of political science at the University of California at Riverside, where she teaches courses in human rights, transitional justice, political theory, international politics and ethics, and environmental justice. She is the author of Judging State-Sponsored Violence, Imagining Political Change (Cambridge, 2011) and has published articles on human rights, humanitarianism, and transitional justice in journals such as Perspectives on Politics, Human Rights Quarterly, Polity, and Journal of Human Rights. She codirects the University of California Human Rights Collaboration.

Justice, Charity, or Alibi? Humanitarianism, Human Rights, and “Humanity Law”

In Humanity’s Law, Ruti Teitel argues that international humanitarian law and international human rights law have come together to form a novel and distinctive set of norms. Teitel argues further that this new set of norms, which she refers to as “humanity law,” constitutes a “dynamic unwritten constitution” of the contemporary international legal order. Humanity’s Law is not a triumphal narrative of legal progress or of law’s ability to transcend violent conflict, but an intricate reckoning with the possibilities, internal tensions, and uncertainties inherent in contemporary international law. This essay examines her claims and contends that “humanity law,” as analyzed by Teitel, functions simultaneously as a basis for justice, as a framework for charity or rescue, and as an alibi for state-sponsored violence. Continue reading →