The International Criminal Court, Translation, and the Human Status
This chapter describes how English and French as the de jure languages of human rights at the International Criminal Court. As a result, populations who do not adhere to Western Enlightenment notions of rights can be declared terrorists or “enemies of humankind.” By tracing the workings of translation in the ICC through the Thomas Lubanga trial, the author discusses how translation can deny human status to those brought before the ICC. It also provides, however, the means to challenge the legitimacy of the court as merely another sign of universalizing western justice, solidified by the fact that all people brought before the ICC come from the continent of Africa. By focusing on how language produces reality, the creation of natural rights claims allow for new forms of political protection in the chasm between differing legal orders. Consequently, thinking the role of translation as metaphor and practice for world making and the production of agency is an inchoate form of political aesthetics. Translation may offer, thus, a way to reconceive the human and its attendant rights due to language’s role in world making, subject production, and power relations. This indicates a form of ahuman agency.
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