Connect with us

International Law

What is nation?

Published

on

The concept of nation is a very ancient, broad and multifaceted concept. Although it is not known exactly when the concept of nation came into being, it is more or less known to the world of science when the concept of nation was understood and activated. As we know, until the 19th century, our world consisted of a system with different realities and different perspectives. Geographical territories, states, and people within states were not divided by any nation, and were not defined in this way. However, events such as the Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment in the 19th century forced the world into a different reality and a different system. Thus, thanks to these different realities, after people realized who they were as a nation and fought for it, the traditional system of the world began to change, and thus people, nation-states and geographical areas began to be divided and defined by nations and groups. Therefore, today I will try to give a brief overview of the concept of nation and the importance of this concept for the national state.

Part 1

In general, in order to understand the concept of nation, there are 3 features that we need to know. The first is the formation of the concept of nation, the second is what a nation is, and the third is the activity and activity of a nation in our world. These three concepts are able to explain the concept of nation one by one, from its inception to its activity in our modern world.

The first of these is the process of formation of the concept of nation. Anderson himself once claimed that the emergence of the concept of nation was mainly due to the loss of connection between the three great cultural concepts historically.

1) For example, the first cultural concept was languages ​​that were considered sacred. These languages ​​were mainly Latin and Arabic. For example, if we look at historical processes, the beginning of the Arab occupation in the East in the 7th century and the use of Arabic as the main language in the territories occupied by the Arab caliphate led to the expansion and unification of the Arabic language in the East. Later, in the West, the long history of the Roman Empire and the fact that Latin was the main language made Latin the main and unified language in science, books and basic concepts in the West. Thus, the predominance of Arabic in the East and Latin in the West, and the sanctity of these languages, enabled people to be persuaded and governed by similar truths under the same religious identity. However, the concepts we call similar truths made it difficult for people to understand the concept of nation. However, Anderson argues that the historical loss of influence of these sacred languages ​​was the first factor in the emergence of the concept of nation. For example, the weakening of Latin as a result of historical processes in Europe and the emergence of European languages ​​such as French, Italian, Romance, Spanish, and Portuguese contributed to the formation of the concept of nation in the West. A number of political processes and national enlightenment movements in the East also weakened the Arabic language and lost its strategic power. Thus, the loss of Latin and Arabic languages ​​in the West and the East and their emergence from the prism of a single language became one of the factors that led to the formation of national understanding and the concept of nation in people. This was the first separation of the cultural concept in the historical understanding of the concept of nation.

2) The second cultural difference in the understanding of the concept of nation was the disappearance of the dynastic government, ie the monarchy. Anderson claimed that one of the obstacles to understanding the concept of nation was the power of the church and the monarchy. Because of the church’s strong position in society, he claimed that the king and queen were chosen by God, and in this case, too, the people unconsciously obeyed the king and queen. Thus, the king and queen could easily keep the people under their control and control their thoughts easily. Even in this situation, the formation of the concept of nation and what the concept of nation could not be formed among people could not be formed. However, the French Revolution of 1789, the weakening of the kingdoms and monarchs in Europe, and the subsequent spread of the values ​​of this revolution globally to the West through Napoleon Bonaparte, led to a strong sense of nationhood and nationalism in Europe and Latin America. Later, the Decembrist uprising in Russia and the deportation of Decembrists led to the spread of this idea and its spread to all Eastern countries. The deportation of the Decembrists and the spread of their ideas in the places where they were sent began to form a serious notion of nationhood in the East. Thus, the French Revolution in both the West and the East, the Decembrists and other similar revolutions weakened the power of the monarchy and the kingdoms, and led to the emergence of new administrations. Thus, the process of understanding the concept of nation began in people, and this process led to the formation of the concept of nation.

3) In addition, Anderson argues that there is a third factor that has allowed people to imagine the concept of nation. Going a step further here, given the capitalist attitudes and social changes that have taken place in modern times, the author claims how they affect people’s outlook on life. In other words, in addition to the previous sacred languages, books were published in languages ​​understood and spoken by the common people, which changed the attitude of the common people towards life.

Part 2

In addition to all this, there is a second feature to understand the concept of nation, which is called the concept of nation. We have learned how and in what way the process of understanding the concept of nation has been historically formed. But let’s clarify what we mean by the concept of nation.

There are basically two basic concepts in the concept of nation. The first is the analysis of the concept of nation on the cultural level, and the second is the analysis on the political level.

1) The cultural analysis of the concept of nation is mainly based on several values. These values ​​are mainly based on factors such as common language, traditions, geography, religion, history and art. When analyzing the concept of nation in a cultural way, academics mainly refer to these factors. Academics, who see the concept of nation as cultural, claim that having a common mass creates an identity among people. For example, in World War II, Jews needed an ideology and an identity to save the Jewish nation from torture and to reunite it as a disintegrated nation. This idea was the idea of ​​struggle and the ideology was the ideology of nationalism. Therefore, the Jews saw that there was no other way but struggle and nationalism, and focused on struggle and nationalism. The identity that united them in this struggle was a common language, religion, historical tradition and common culture. Or, in the formation of the Finnish nation as a nation and in the reform of the Finnish state, and in the struggle for this reform, the identity that united them as a nation was mainly cultural identity and values. These identities and cultural values, as I said, were common religions, languages, geographies and historical traditions. Therefore, the concept of cultural identity and values ​​is a concept that helps nations to come closer to each other and work together in the idea of ​​struggle. Cultural national identity makes nations feel safe, comfortable and happy. For example, a person can never feel psychologically comfortable in a country he never knows, among people who speak a language he never knew. However, speaking the same language with a member of the same nation can make them happier. Because in this case, a mechanism of cultural identity is activated between them, and they feel more comfortable psychologically. These were the cultural analysis of the concept of nation.

2) In addition, there is an identity analysis of the concept of nation as a political entity. Unlike the cultural analysis of the concept of nation, the concept of political unity is more related to civil and political loyalty. For example, in the cultural sense of the word, if people are united by a common language, customs, history, art and geographical area, they are united here mainly under the identity of a citizen. Academics who support this approach are mainly academics who support the notion of nation as a cultural concept. Academics, who see the nation more as a political union, claim that it is impossible for a nation to remain culturally pure and unchanged. Its traditions change over time or disappear altogether. For example, the values ​​and languages ​​of each nation change over time through the soft power of different countries and through today’s globalization process, or disappear altogether. Therefore, the concept of nation should be analyzed politically, not culturally. Because political interests can keep the nation together at any time, anywhere.

In general, these were ideas about what the concept of nation was. I tried to explain how the concept of nation came into being and what it is, both with practical examples and with theoretical foundations.In addition, there is a third and final concept to understand the concept of nation, which is how the nation operates and how it actively participates in the process. The functioning of the nation is mainly based on some principles. For example, the first principle is common customs, the second principle is common language, the third principle is common geography, the fourth principle is common art, the fifth principle is common history and the same race, the sixth principle is political existence, and the seventh principle is common citizenship. As you can see, some of them are culturally based on the concept of nation, and some are based on the concept of identity as a political union. When all this is one, the nation exists and can function. Otherwise, the nation cannot be formed. For example, Ireland, which had been ruled by others for centuries, had such a nation at that time. Or, on the contrary, Ottomanism ended its political existence without becoming a nation. The unity of the race is the same. In general, most European nations belong to the same races, but they have not been able to form one nation. Or, on the contrary, France, full of different races, is one of the greatest examples of the concept of nation alive. Language is a bigger factor. However, it is possible to see that people who speak the same language belong to different nations. For example, we can give examples of Iran and Afghanistan, Britain and America. Religion, on the other hand, has lost its former political power in many countries, and it is possible to see that people of the same nationality today belong to more different faiths.

Conclusion

As we know, the concept of nation is a very serious and ancient concept. In our modern world, people, states, and geographical areas are often divided and analyzed by nationality rather than by name. However, despite the fact that the concept of nation has such a wide and ancient history, today, multiculturalism internally, and the globalization of culture externally, is one of the factors damaging the concept of nation. With the development of communication and transport technologies, people can now easily travel to other countries and keep in touch with other countries. This can lead to the emergence of a global common culture in humans. The emergence of a global culture is one of the concepts that seriously harms the concept of nation in the world today and is likely to degrade the concept of nation.

Reference

  • Peter Alter, Nationalism, p. 9
  • Andrew Heywood, Politics, p.5
  • Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, p 186-189
  • Andres. B, 1983 Imagine communities; Reflection on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism

I am a 3rd year student at Khazar University in Azerbaijan. My specialty is political science. My main areas of focus are South Caucasus politics and Asian studies.

International Law

Upholding Dharma by Mob lynching?

Published

on

By

Label any Muslim a cow smuggler, accuse him of carrying beef and then lynch in the name of protecting religion. These premeditated barbaric acts seem to have become the order of the day. According to “Hate Crime Watch”, around 90% of religious hate crimes have occurred after the change of Central government in India in 2014. Although Muslims are victims in 60% of incidents, people from all religious faiths have suffered hate crimes.

India’s constitution promises its citizens justice, liberty and equality, but the shattering of social life through mob violence triggers an inescapable sense of powerlessness among its citizens. After the 2015 gruesome Dadri lynching, Mohammad Azam was lynched in July 2018 by a mob in Karnataka after a series of WhatsApp messages had warned locals that child kidnappers were on the loose. The mob assumed that Azam, who worked for Google, and his friends were co-conspirators and lynched him. In 2019, Tabrej Ansari became the first victim of the gruesome hate crime in the second term of the current regime led by proponents of Hindutva. He was lynched by a mob that forced him to chant Hindu religious slogans. In June this year, three people were lynched on suspicion of cattle smuggling in Tripura.

It needs to be recalled that lynching was used to terrorize black community for generations in the United States; blacks were lynched on dubious and false criminal accusations but this was put to an end through NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People). In a similar fashion today, there is a growing perception that mob lynching happens with disturbing regularity in India to terrorize not only minorities but also dissenters in the name of religion and culture.

Violence against those who dissent is sought to be rationalized as nationalistic. The killings of Mohammad Akhlaq, Govind Pansare, M M Kalburgi, Narendra Dabolkar and Gauri Lankesh were masterminded by religious bigots masquerading as nationalists. In fact, the recent murder of George Floyd at the hand of a racially bigoted policeman in the United States, and custodial torture and death of a father-son duo in Tamil Nadu are hate crimes which are blots on the conscience of democratic societies.

Contemporary India has witnessed a surge in right-wing Hindu extremism, and crimes committed in the name of Love Jihad, beef eating, child kidnapping, cow slaughter and anti-Muslim fake news are aimed at normalizing this disturbing phenomenon. This right-wing propaganda usually spreads like a wildfire on the internet, particularly on the so-called Whatsapp University where it has become quite common to see pictures and videos of dead cows lying in a puddle of blood. It has been noticed that such videos and images on social media platforms are always of questionable veracity whose primary purpose is to incite fear, anger and violence. Very often, the text accompanying the videos appeals that everyone should spread it as much as possible in order for it to reach at the highest political executives. When this damaging and dangerous content is continuously circulated, the resulting fear in the minds of majority community gets converted into hatred toward the minority community.

These are nothing but politically motivated polarizing tactics and diatribes which only feed off pre-existing demeaning stereotypes of minorities. Technology has become an enabler of violence for various political and cultural reasons. There are many parties and stakeholders involved in these hate crimes but victims are only innocent people and invariably from vulnerable socio-economic groups. But the most shameful is the attitude of India’s politicians and police officials who justify these crimes, garland the lynchers, deny it ever happened or shrug off their responsibility by preferring to watch as mute spectators. Even delayed or muted condemnation of communal violence, by those in positions of power, only signal tolerance of such activity. Unfortunately, both the mob violence and the official response to it are symbolic of the Indian state’s rising incompetence in countering religious intolerance.

In recent years, the alarming idea that the ‘nation’ belongs only to the majoritarian community has made global strides as many countries like Poland, Hungary, Brazil and Turkey have come under its sway. Even many long-established democracies, including the United States, are feeling the pressure of this authoritarian tendency. The emergence of Hindu nationalist ideology in India, which is seen as replacing Indian civic nationalism, promotes the notion of a unique national culture grounded in Hindu cultural supremacy. The proponents of Hindu right-wing extremism are trying to radicalize their children and youth with ultra-conservative and fictional thoughts which often re-assert historical prejudices and ungrounded hatred toward Muslims.  

One may be wrong, but cynical indifference shown by the middle class citizens tends to breed servitude and perpetuate complacency. When the victim of mob violence dies a death, shockingly there is no remorse from the crowd. Only the victim’s family remembers the event even as the societal silence is spine chilling. Actually, one should not ignore the performance aspect to mob lynching. Those indulging in mob lynching or public beatings ensure that their acts are recorded and then the potential circulation of such videos is targeted to send a strong message of the majoritarian men terrorizing minority men into humiliation and subjugation.

The dominant mainstream assumptions that cattle slaughter and beef trade directly concerns only Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis and Christians is also far from reality. Unfortunately, framing of the debates around bovine trade along communal lines has been sustained by provincial media which acts as an echo chamber to propagate Islamophobia. It has also been observed that the messages of hate get intensified after any terror attack, and instigate people to act against specific communities, primarily Muslims.

In July 2018, a landmark judgment given by the Supreme Court had condemned the incidents of mob lynching and cow vigilantism as ‘horrendous act of mobocracy’, asking the government to enact strict law to counter them. Nevertheless, in spite of comprehensive guidelines and anti-lynching laws in some states such as Rajasthan, Manipur and West Bengal, the mob violence continues unabated. In many states where the right-wings groups feel emboldened such as Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, there is widespread feeling that the enactment of stringent cattle preservation legislation has further exacerbated such crimes. Those who think that the lynch squad is a thing of the past are wrong.

Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) do not have specific provision dealing with the mob lynching because this was never seen as a crime in India. It is similar to terrorism for which we have the most stringent laws. But mob lynching causes more than just a death; it kills the spirit and substance of democracy. We are told that Hindus and Muslims share the same DNA in India. How can the cold-blooded lynching of one’s brethren make one a hero rather than a murderer? How can a policeman’s lynching and alleged cattle lifter’s lynching possess different form of bestiality? In fact, the time has come to brand mob lynching as ‘domestic terrorism’ and a serious threat to India’s internal security.

Does glory to Lord Rama be restored through unruly mob justice? Does the path to righteousness come through killing innocent people in the name of Cow? Does circulation of derogatory and hateful projection of Muslims bring glory to Hindus? Are those calling publicly for violence against Muslims and Christians are real friends of the Indian State and government? Is not hate crime the prelude to genocide? These uncomfortable questions shake the core of India’s multi-religious and pluralist democracy. India’s timeless civilization has unflinchingly celebrated the foundational principles of humanity such as non-violence, tolerance, peaceful-coexistence and ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ which is one of the most important moral values engraved in the heart of every Indian. These eternal principles come under violent assault whenever a mob kills an innocent Indian.

Continue Reading

International Law

International Criminal Court and thousands of ignored complaints

Published

on

©ICC-CPI

The civil war in Donbass has been going on for more than seven years now. It broke out in 2014, following Kiev’s decision to launch a military operation against the local militia in Donbass, who did not accept the Maidan coup that had happened in February of that same year. More than 10,000 civilians were killed in the conflict.

Correspondent of the French newspaper L’Humanité Vadim Kamenka, French historian Vincent Boulet, as well as a MEP and a member of the Spanish Communist Party Willie Meyer took part in the international conference “Topical Issues of Human Rights Violations in Donbass.”

Moderating the conference, organized by the Society of Friends of L’Humanité in Russia (the French leftist newspaper’s Russian office), was the head of the interregional public organization “For Democracy and Human Rights” Maxim Vilkov.

The conference was also attended by the deputy foreign minister of the Lugansk People’s Republic Anna Soroka, human rights activist Yelena Shishkina, director of the Society of Friends of L’Humanité Olesya Orlenko, and head of Donetsk National University’s department of political science Artyom Bobrovsky.

The participants discussed numerous cases of human rights violations by the Ukrainian security forces and paramilitary units in the course of the civil war in Donbass. The left-minded European participants paid special attention to the fact that none of the 6,000 complaints about the actions of Ukrainian security officials and nationalists had actually been taken up by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Small wonder too, since the atrocities committed in Donbass immediately bring to mind the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s when leftwing antifascists from across the world fought supporters of fascists and Nazis. Let’s not forget that even DW (foreign agent) admits that the share of neo-fascists in Kiev’s Azov regiment is very significant.

The participants called upon the ECHR to pay attention to the non-investigation of crimes committed in Donbass.

Human rights activists and public figures from Russia, France and the unrecognized republics of Donbass called on European international human rights organizations to pay attention to the failure to investigate crimes committed during the armed conflict in Ukraine. This is stated in the statement, which was sent to European international organizations after the conference.

The statement also calls attention to obstacles created to prevent citizens from filing applications to investigate crimes, as well as to attempts to ignore pertinent complaints from international bodies.

The latter, according to the authors of the statement, is especially important since “10,650 applications have so far been submitted to the ECHR concerning violations of citizens’ rights during the civil armed conflict in Ukraine. Of these, 8,000 come from Crimea and Donbass, including 7,000 from Donbass alone. Moreover, 6,000 are complaints made against Ukraine proper. However, during the past seven years, not a single complaint pertaining to the conflict in Donbass has been considered.”

Human rights activists called on the ECHR and the International Criminal Court (ICC) “to ensure that the crimes committed in Donbass are investigated in full compliance with the ECHR and ICC charter, as well as to bring pressure to bear on the political leadership of Ukraine to fulfill its obligations to protect the rights of its citizens.”

Continue Reading

International Law

Crime of Ecocide: Greening the International Criminal Law

Published

on

In June 2021, an Independent Expert Panel under the aegis of Stop Ecocide Foundation presented a newly-drafted definition for the crime of ‘ecocide.’ The Panel consisting of 12 international lawyers proposed that the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) should be amended to include ecocide as the fifth international crime along with the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. The inclusion of the crime of ecocide in the Statute will entitle ICC to investigate, prosecute, and try individuals accused of causing grave harm to the environment.

The term ecocide comprises the Greek word ‘oikos,’ meaning house or environment, and ‘cide,’ meaning an act of killing. Premised upon the term ‘genocide,’ ecocide means the significant destruction of the natural environment by human actions. In 1970, it was first used by Arthur Galston, an American biologist, at the Conference on War and National Responsibility in Washington DC. The term was further quoted by the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in his opening speech at the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE) in Stockholm. Since then, multiple efforts were made to include ecocide within international law. Interestingly, it was adopted as an additional crime in the early drafts of the Rome Statute; however, later, it was dropped due to the lack of an adequate definition. If succeeded this time, it will be a significant victory for the environment since none of the existing international criminal laws secures it as an end-in-itself.

Definition of the crime of ecocide

The Panel has defined the crime of ecocide as, “For the purpose of this Statute, “ecocide” means unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.

The definition comprises two thresholds that should be fulfilled to constitute a crime of ecocide. Firstly, there should exist a substantial likelihood that the ‘acts’ (including omissions) will cause severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment. In other words, along with the damages causing severe harm to the elements of the environment, such damages must have an impact on a wider geographical location or for an unreasonably longer duration.

It is appreciable that the Panel has widened the scope of the definition by incorporating spatial and temporal dimensions to its meaning. However, they have changed their position adopted in the previous legal instruments to employ a mix of conjunctive and disjunctive formulations in the definition. In addition to its severe nature, such harm could be either widespread or long-term to constitute a crime of ecocide. Thus, any severe and widespread activity, such as chopping down huge rainforests, could be attributed to ecocide. Similarly, any severe activity whose consequences prevail for a longer duration, for example, causing the extinction of a plant or animal species, could also amount to the crime of ecocide.

Instant reading of the first threshold indicates that the ecocide definition might include day-to-day human activities that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental damages. It raises a question – Whether humans are environmental criminals? Though, it might be true that most human actions, directly or indirectly, are continuously degrading the ecosystem around us. However, the definition of ecocide is primarily concerned with the large polluters whose irresponsible activities at a massive level are a threat to the environment. Thus, to narrow down the ambit of the definition and identify criminal activities precisely, the Panel added a second threshold, that is, the ‘acts’ causing damage to the environment must be unlawful or wanton.

It means, only when the actions are either prohibited under national or international laws or indicate a reckless disregard for excessive destruction of the environment in achieving social and economic benefits will they amount to the crime of ecocide. The second threshold hints towards an anthropocentric approach of the definition and protects a range of human activities deemed necessary, desirable, and legitimate for human welfare. To determine the lawfulness of the acts, the actions should be seen with their potential social and economic values. The ecocide definition relies upon the principle of sustainable development to balance environmental destruction with human development and prohibits all destructive activities that outweigh their social and economic benefits. It also means that the definition places a ‘limited’ environmental harm outside the scope of the definition, which cannot be avoided for achieving social welfare that includes housing developments or establishing transport links.

The proposed definition is more concerned with the massive instances of environmental damages. It does not consider small ‘necessary’ ecological harms caused by day-to-day human activities. However, it is equally essential these negligible-looking destructive contributions of humans, made in their individual capacity, should not go unnoticed. These small contributions combined with each other also significantly impact the environment in the form of climate change, biodiversity loss, and other hazards. Thus, the reckless human lifestyle is a significant issue and needs to be regulated through some international code of conduct, if not as ecocide.

Undoubtedly, the proposed ecocide definition is a remarkable effort that should be appreciated for multiple reasons. First of all, the release of this definition indicates that the time has come to start penalizing environmental offenders and create deterrence so that such destructive activities can be minimized. It establishes the responsibility and accountability of big corporate houses and political leaders whose regular investments are causing substantial harm to the environment. Moreover, this definition founds its bases upon many core principles and concepts of public international law, international environmental law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law. For instance, the principle of no transboundary harm, sustainable development, proportionality, and necessity are aptly referred to in the ecocide definition. Moreover, it also provides a sufficiently broad definition of the term ‘environment’ to primarily include any damage committed towards the earth, its biosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and outer space.

Way Forward

Though the ecocide definition is a significant development, it still has to go a long way to be included in the list of international crimes. For this purpose, any of the 123 member states to the Rome Statute can officially submit the definition to the UN Secretary-General. The proposal has to be accepted for further consideration by the majority of the members through voting. Further, the text will be subjected to debates and deliberations and must be passed by a two-thirds majority of the members. Moreover, the member states need to ratify or accept the proposed text. Only after one year of such ratification or acceptance ICC may exercise its jurisdiction over the crimes of ecocide committed afterward. This entire process can take many years or even decades to get completed. It is also possible that the structure of the current definition might change in due course of its acceptance.

Today, it is unclear that whether this definition will succeed in amending the Rome Statute or not, but what can be said with certainty is that this definition will play a crucial role in building awareness and discourse around ecocide among the governments, corporate houses, professionals, and masses across the globe. With the pressing needs of humans and prevailing threats to the environment, it is the right time that the actions of the offenders should be regulated through the prism of international criminal law.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Trending