Justice in a time of terror

Hudson, Barbara Anne (2009) Justice in a time of terror. British Journal of Criminology, 48 (5). pp. 702-717. ISSN 0007-0955

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The war on terror has seen the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan; the use of torture on detainees in Guantanamo Bay; extension of periods of detention without trial, and increased levels of surveillance and control in the United Kingdom and the United States. Although being fought in the name of justice and democracy, the war on terror seems to have brought about curbs on freedom to citizens of the Western democracies and brutality rather than justice to those who are designated enemies and suspects in the war. This article looks at aspects of the war on terror from the perspective of a concern to defend the ideal of justice. Under headings of justice and legality, the lesser evil, the threat to liberal values, and justice and the other, war and occupation, torture, curtailment of civil liberties and the extent to which we each have a responsibility to protect the rights of those who are not our fellow citizens and who do not appear to share our values and our commitments to rights and freedoms are discussed. Recent writings by Michael Walzer on just and unjust wars, Michael Ignatieff on the use of the lesser evil, Jacques Derrida on the rights of the stranger to hospitality and Drucilla Cornell on the need to defend our ideals at the time when we are most likely to forsake them are drawn upon to help examine the fate of and the prospects for justice in a time of terror.

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