Repudiating Inhumanity: Cosmopolitan Justice and the Obligation to Prosecute Human Rights Atrocities

  • Patrick Hayden


This chapter’s departure point is the moral justification for the claim that all persons, and by extension our political societies, have an obligation to contest the impunity that historically has protected perpetrators of genocide and crimes against humanity. Prominent recent examples of gross injustice in the forms of genocide and crimes against humanity include the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Between 1991 and 1999, civil war, ethnic cleansing, and other human rights abuses tore apart the republics of the former Yugoslavia. Brutal fighting and repression—including violent expulsion, group rape, and mass murder—resulted in the deaths of more than 250,000 people.1 In Rwanda, approximately 800,000 people were systematically slaughtered over a 100-day period between April and July 1994. The genocide was carried out by state security forces and armed militias, most notoriously the Interhamwe (“those who attack together”) and Impuzamugambi (“the single-minded ones”). Most of the victims belonged to the minority Tutsi population, but Hutu moderates were targeted as well.2


Security Council International Criminal Court Rome Statute International Criminal Tribunal Positive Duty 
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© Patrick Hayden 2005

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  • Patrick Hayden

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