Le strategie terzomondiste, il postcolonialismo e la giustizia internazionale

Un articolo di W. Zoungrana. Translated by myself. History of ideas and international criminal law-Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) and post-colonialism. The current essay acknowledges the contribution that TWAIL made to the recent development in the theory and practice international law.

Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) have evolved in the last two decades into a fertile source for interpretations and engagements of international law and its relationship with its colonial past and the manifold complicity of law and forms of domination. As an eclectic and critical stream, TWAIL comprises approaches such as feminism, postcolonialism, marxism, and post-structuralism. The common denominator of these eclectic approaches seems to be the importance they give to colonialism and forms and structures of domination. TWAIL scholars sought to uncover the role of colonialism in the development of international law and critique the euro-centrism that characterized international law. The current essay acknowledges the contribution that TWAIL made to the recent development in the theory and practice international law. It then proceeds to take TWAIL to task by asking how the approaches conceptualized international criminal processes. The article surveys how early and later generations of TWAIL scholars thought of criminal justice both in domestic and international contexts. The paper concludes that TWAIL can contribute to the articulation of an alternative view of international criminal justice. This is nonetheless predicated on a sound relationship to critique and the recognition of the danger of edifying critique.

Third World approaches to international law certainly represent, in the course of criticisms, one of the most recent thoughts evolved to a much greater extent after the years 1990. According to the Keucheyan’s mapping (2013,20-32), this breakthrough would resulted from the critical thought of the years 1977 and 1993. This globalization of thought would put center stage intellectuals originating from peripheral regions of the South at the same time that it would have resulted in a diversification and a proliferation of criticism references (ibid.). Even if these approaches enjoy a relative popularity in the academic British world, they however remain for a wide majority unknown in France. Moreover, post-colonial studies, similar to Third World approaches have been described, although not without cruelty, as an “academic carnival”, a ragbag of approaches more based on an identity level than scientific or philosophical, mingled with anachronism and nonsense (Bayart, 2010, 16-17). However « French criticism » took over the arguments earlier formulated in the British context by Appiah (1991), Dirlik (1994), McClintock et al. (1997). Within international law as in philosophy, Third World thoughts appear to be a combination of disparate approaches relegated to a lower priority in the international justice studies. These approaches are indeed sometimes opposed, often complementary but never entirely reconciled in their respective methodologies. If one had to identify a common denominator, it would include the importance given to colonialism, the multifaceted continuation of power relationship, identity and differences, all these issues put into perspective with the face of the challenge to international law. In Gathii‘s article (2011) dedicated to the origins of Third World approaches in international law study, the author concludes that the roots of contemporary approaches dated back to the 1990’s. To him, the group of students from Harvard Law School around Bhupinder Chimni in the fall 1996 had the idea of a conference in Madison with the theme of New Approaches of International Law that later on will spread as the Third World Approaches of International Law. The Third World approaches will therefore establish themselves as a decentralized and polycentric network of researchers and academics working on a broad spectrum of thematic areas whose most salient refer to the relationship between post-colonialism, development and international law. It is important to note that, despite Gathii’s choice to date the genesis of these approaches in the 1990’s, those are older than the series of conferences and articles initiated by the students and the teachers of Harvard Law School. Therefore, one might say that one can find the roots in the Bandung conference of 1955 or within the Havana Declaration of Fidel Castro and the Non-Aligned movement whose keywords “imperialism”, “colonialism” and “exploitation during colonialist era” evoke the work horses privileged by Third World approaches.justice 4

In an article on Africa and international law for the Oxford Handbook of International Law, Gathii (2012) does not restrict his genealogy of Third World approaches to a nucleus of 1990’s Havard students. His typology of Third Word approaches, founded on research in Africa and international law, is based on two chronologically distinct trends of opinion: those he calls the contributionists on the one hand and those “followers of social criticism” on the other. The aim of the contributionnists part of the first generation of post-colonialist thinkers was to deepen the relationship between public international law and international economic law on the one hand and poverty issues and valuable global resource. In this perspective, this generation tried to introduce Africa and the Third World in the existing frame of international law and to claim the positive contribution of the Third World to the development of the principles of international law. Researchers delve in the history of ancient kingdoms to introduce Africa and the Third World as intrinsically civilized systems fitted with complicated proto-systems of inter-kingdoms law but whose importance was not systematically recognized by international law. This first generation, driven by the vision of a Third World capable of catching up its development, finding its place in an unbiased international law system and thus make history, takes upon itself the weight of academic activism for a new international economic order. Failing in being heard, this generation will step down especially since its dogmatic discourse on the critic of imperialism gradually falls into disuse.

However, a disconnection must be indicated here, not only to avoid a linear genealogy of Third World approaches but to identify some academic trends from social sciences; at the very least they encouraged the emergence of Third World approaches and more particularly the generation of international law criticism. The Third World approaches chronology proposed by Gathii and various historians has, according to us, passed over in silence the importance of the post-structuralist turning point in the new articulation of the epistemological premises in social sciences of the study of international law. Post-structuralism paved the way to deconstruction works targeting euro-centric historiography. Post-colonial studies, considered as offspring of post-structuralism, conducted by Said and his criticism of orientalism are symptomatic of this epistemological reorientation. Third World approaches have more particularly emerged as following a methodology arising paradoxically more from the Western World than from the Third World. However, without the intellectual tools provided by post-structuralists, it would be difficult to explain the wealth of productions of the latest Third World approaches, furthermore in continuous expansion. This specific aspect of Gathii’s genealogy of Third World approaches is not in a systematic way included in his analysis.

justice 1

LĂ©on Davent d’aprĂšs Luca Penni,
La Justice, eau-forte. BnF,
RĂ©serve Ed-8b (2)-Fol

Les approches tiers-mondistes reprĂ©sentent certainement, dans la gĂ©nĂ©alogie des pensĂ©es critiques, l’une des plus rĂ©centes pensĂ©es qui se soient dĂ©veloppĂ©es dans leur plus grande mesure aprĂšs les annĂ©es 1990. Cette percĂ©e aurait fait suite Ă  la dĂ©faite de la pensĂ©e critique situĂ©e entre les annĂ©es 1977 et 1993 d’aprĂšs la cartographie proposĂ©e par Keucheyan (2013, 20-32). Cette globalisation de la pensĂ©e critique aurait propulsĂ© sur la scĂšne des intellectuels provenant des gĂ©ographies pĂ©riphĂ©riques du Sud en mĂȘme temps qu’elle aurait entraĂźnĂ© une diversification et une prolifĂ©ration de rĂ©fĂ©rences dans la pensĂ©e critique (Ibid.). Si ces approches jouissent d’une relative popularitĂ© dans le monde universitaire anglo-saxon, elles demeurent dans leur grande partie relativement peu connues en France. Les Ă©tudes post-coloniales, assimilĂ©es aux approches tiers-mondistes ont d’ailleurs Ă©tĂ© dĂ©crites, non sans cruautĂ©, comme un « carnaval acadĂ©mique », un ramassis d’approches plus identitaires que scientifiques ou philosophiques, mĂȘlant anachronismes et non-sens (Bayart, 2010, 16-17). La critique « française » a pourtant repris Ă©galement Ă  son compte des arguments dĂ©jĂ  formulĂ©s dans le contexte anglo-saxon par Appiah (1991), Dirlik (1994), McClintock et al. (1997). Au sein du droit international comme en philosophie, les pensĂ©es tiers-mondistes apparaissent comme un mĂ©lange hĂ©tĂ©roclite d’approches longtemps relĂ©guĂ©es au second plan dans l’étude du droit international. Ces approches sont en effet tantĂŽt opposĂ©es entre elles, souvent complĂ©mentaires, mais jamais totalement rĂ©conciliĂ©es dans leurs mĂ©thodologies respectives. S’il fallait leur identifier un dĂ©nominateur commun, on citerait l’importance qu’elles accordent aux questions du colonialisme, de la continuation multiforme des rapports de domination, d’identitĂ© et de diffĂ©rence dans leur mise en cause du droit international. Gathii (2011) qui a consacrĂ© un article sur les origines des approches tiers-mondistes dans l’étude du droit international, conclut qu’il faut remonter aux annĂ©es 1990 pour retrouver les racines contemporaines de ces approches. Pour lui, c’est le groupe d’étudiants de la Harvard Law School rĂ©uni autour de sa personne et de Bhupinder Chimni en automne 1996 qui eut l’idĂ©e d’une confĂ©rence Ă  Madison ayant pour thĂšme les Nouvelles Approches au Droit International qui se rĂ©pandront plus tard comme les approches tiers-mondistes au droit international. Les approches tiers-mondistes se prĂ©senteront dĂšs lors comme un rĂ©seau dĂ©centralisĂ© et polycentrique de chercheurs et enseignants travaillant sur un spectre large de thĂ©matiques dont les plus saillantes ont trait aux rapports entre post-colonialisme, dĂ©veloppement et droit international. Il est important de noter, malgrĂ© le choix de Gathii de dater la genĂšse de ces approches dans les annĂ©es 1990, que celles-ci sont plus anciennes que la sĂ©rie de confĂ©rences et d’articles initiĂ©e par les Ă©tudiants de Harvard et leurs enseignants. Ainsi, n’est-il pas exagĂ©rĂ© d’en trouver les racines dans la confĂ©rence de Bandung en 1955 ou au sein de la dĂ©claration de la Havane de Fidel Castro en 1979 qui situait les objectifs du mouvement des ‘non-alignĂ©s’ dans un contexte de guerre froide et dont des mots-clĂ©s comme « impĂ©rialisme », « colonialisme » et « exploitation coloniale » Ă©voquent les chevaux de bataille privilĂ©giĂ©s par les approches tiers-mondistes.

Dans un article sur l’Afrique et le droit international pour le Oxford Handbook of International Law, Gathii (2012) ne limite plus sa gĂ©nĂ©alogie des approches tiers-mondistes au noyau d’étudiants des annĂ©es 1990 de Harvard. Sa typologie des approches tiers-mondistes, fondĂ©e Ă  partir de la recherche sur l’Afrique et le droit international, repose sur deux courants chronologiquement distincts : ceux qu’il appelle les contributionnistes d’une part et les adeptes de la critique sociale d’autre part. Les contributionnistes, qui constituent la premiĂšre gĂ©nĂ©ration des penseurs post-colonialistes, avaient pour objectif d’approfondir la rĂ©flexion sur les relations entre le droit public international et le droit Ă©conomique international d’une part et les questions de pauvretĂ© et de richesse globale d’autre part (Gathii, 2011, 29). Dans cette perspective, cette gĂ©nĂ©ration a tĂąchĂ© d’introduire l’Afrique et le tiers-monde dans le cadre existant du droit international et de revendiquer la contribution positive du tiers-monde Ă  l’élaboration des principes du droit international. Ces chercheurs puisent alors dans l’histoire des royaumes antiques pour prĂ©senter l’Afrique et le reste du tiers-monde comme des systĂšmes intrinsĂšquement civilisĂ©s munis de proto-systĂšmes de droit inter-royaumes complexes mais dont la place n’aurait pas toujours Ă©tĂ© systĂ©matiquement reconnue par le droit international. Cette premiĂšre gĂ©nĂ©ration, mue par la vision que le tiers-monde pourrait rattraper son retard de dĂ©veloppement, trouver sa place dans un systĂšme de droit international non biaisĂ© et ainsi entrer dans l’histoire, prend sur elle le poids de l’activisme acadĂ©mique pour un nouvel ordre Ă©conomique international. N’ayant pas rĂ©ussi Ă  se faire entendre, cette gĂ©nĂ©ration cĂšdera sa place et son agenda, d’autant plus que son discours dogmatique sur la critique de l’impĂ©rialisme tomba progressivement en dĂ©suĂ©tude.

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Il faut cependant marquer une cĂ©sure ici, non seulement pour Ă©viter une gĂ©nĂ©alogie linĂ©aire des approches tiers-mondistes mais pour relever certaines tendances acadĂ©miques dans les sciences sociales qui ont pour le moins favorisĂ© l’émergence des approches tiers-mondistes et plus particuliĂšrement de la seconde gĂ©nĂ©ration, la gĂ©nĂ©ration des critiques du droit international. La chronologie proposĂ©e par Gathii et plusieurs historiens des approches tiers-mondistes nous semble avoir trop passĂ© sous silence l’importance du tournant post-structuraliste dans la rĂ©-articulation des prĂ©misses Ă©pistĂ©mologiques dans les sciences sociales et par ricochet de l’étude du droit international. Le post-structuralisme a ouvert la voie Ă  des travaux de dĂ©construction prenant pour cible les historiographies euro-centrĂ©es. Les Ă©tudes post-coloniales, considĂ©rĂ©es comme des rejetons du post-structuralisme, emmenĂ©es notamment par Said et sa critique de l’orientalisme (Said, 1978), sont symptomatiques de cette rĂ©orientation Ă©pistĂ©mologique. Les approches tiers-mondistes se prĂ©sentent plus particuliĂšrement comme une mĂ©thodologie Ă©manant paradoxalement davantage de l’Occident que du tiers-monde. Or, sans les outils intellectuels fournis par les post-structuralistes, il serait difficile d’expliquer la richesse des productions des approches tiers-mondistes plus rĂ©centes, par ailleurs en constante expansion. C’est cet aspect prĂ©cis de la gĂ©nĂ©alogie des approches tiers-mondistes que Gathii n’inclut pas de façon systĂ©matique dans son analyse.

 

 

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