Colonialism, grave robbery and intellectual history
Larissa Förster, Dag Henrichsen, Holger Stoecker and Hans Axasi╪Eichab
In 1885, the Berlin pathologist Rudolf Virchow presented three human skeletons
from the colony of German South West Africa to the Berlin Society for
Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory. The remains had been looted from a grave
by a young German scientist, Waldemar Belck, who was a member of the second
Lüderitz expedition and took part in the occupation of colonial
territory. In an attempt to re-individualise and re-humanise these human
remains, which were anonymised in the course of their appropriation by Western
science, the authors consult not only the colonial archive, but also
contemporary oral history in Namibia. This allows for a detailed reconstruction
of the social and political contexts of the deaths of the three men, named
Jacobus Hendrick, Jacobus !Garisib and Oantab, and of Belck’s grave
robbery, for an analysis of how the remains were turned into scientific objects
by German science and institutions, as well as for an establishment of
topographical and genealogical links with the Namibian present. Based on these
findings, claims for the restitution of African human remains from German
institutions cannot any longer be regarded as a contemporary phenomenon only but
must be understood as part of an African tradition of resistance against Western
colonial and scientific practices.
From 2010 to 2013 the Charité Human Remains Project researched the provenance of the
remains of fifty-seven men and women from the then colony of German South West Africa. They
were collected during German colonial rule, especially but not only during the colonial war
1904–8. The remains were identified in anthropological collections of academic
institutions in Berlin. The article describes the history of these collections, the aims,
methods and interdisciplinary format of provenance research as well as its results and finally
the restitutions of the remains to Namibia in 2011 and 2014.
The rules and principles are applicable regardless of the legality or justness of the conflict, and even if operations are undertaken by way of punitive or police action in the name of the United Nations. The humanitarian principles that operate during armed conflict are to be found in customs originally based on rules of chivalry as between the feudal orders of knighthood. To a great extent these humanitarian principles are to be found in Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Broadly speaking, they amount to the basic and minimum conditions underlying the rule of law as understood in modern society. Whether the Hague and Geneva Conventions are regarded as codificatory of customary or creative of new law, they are not and do not purport to be exhaustive.
The current legal interventions in sport balance the European Union (EU)'s regulatory and political policy interests in sport. EU sports law is a product of the EU's sports policy. The juridification of sport accelerated interest in the idea of sport and the law as an area of legal study. The EU emerged as the key new regulatory actor. The commercialisation of sport in Europe was an essential pre-requisite for international juridification. EU sports law was born out of the post-Bosman political discussions on the future of sport in the EU. The Single Market advocacy coalition pursues a regulatory policy interest in sport. Sport should be treated differently to other economic sectors before the law. The development of sports law is an approach favoured by both coalitions as it allows them to protect their fundamental belief systems.
During World War II, because of the intensive bombing attacks experienced by the civilian population, some, like the United Kingdom, set up trained units to work in the field of civil defence, assisting those injured or rendered homeless because of air raids. Civilian civil defence personnel may carry light individual weapons for their own protection or to preserve order, but not weapons like fragmentation grenades or those intended for non-human targets. Military personnel assigned to civil defence duties may perform the duties only within their own national territory and must not commit any act outside those duties which might be inimical to the adverse party. If the parties to the conflict are not parties to the Protocol they are not bound by any treaty regulations concerning the activities or rights pertaining to civil defence.
One of the oldest rules of the law of war provides for the protection of the civilian noncombatant population and forbids making civilians the direct object of attack. The Geneva Convention IV applies only to civilians in the hands of or under the physical control of an adverse party or an Occupying Power. Those in their own territory are protected only by the general rules limiting warlike acts and methods of combat. As with other protected persons, civilians in enemy hands, whether in national or occupied territory, are entitled to respect for their persons, honour, family rights, religious convictions and practices, manners and customs. When imposing punishment it must be remembered that non-national civilians owe no allegiance to the Detaining Power, which nevertheless retains the right to punish offences against its security.
A military aircraft would be one 'operated by commissioned units of the armed forces of a state having the military marks of that state commanded by a member of the armed forces, and manned by a crew subject to regular armed forces discipline'. Military aircraft has the right to fly over international waters and to use such flights for surveillance or photographing another state's territory, even including its military installations. Military aircraft brought down by a neutral state or which land in neutral territory should be detained by the neutral until the end of the conflict and then returned to their home state. Personnel on board such aircraft should be interned until the cessation of hostilities. The general rules regarding the use of weapons forbidding those which cause unnecessary suffering apply in air warfare.
The law of armed conflict has its origins in both customary and conventional law. Though the object of an armed conflict is to achieve victory over the adverse party with the least possible expenditure of men, resources and money, principles of humanity remain relevant. In conducting hostilities the opposing forces should be guided by three basic principles: necessity, humanity and chivalry. Perhaps the most significant international agreement relating to a specific weapon is the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol. Without specifying any particular weapon, in 1976 a Convention was adopted on the Prohibition of Military or any other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques. It is forbidden to use starvation as a weapon against the civilian population, but it is lawful to take steps necessary to deprive the adverse party of his food supplies.
Problems have arisen since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). If it is suggested that UNCLOS constitutes lex generalis it must be indicated that it cannot invalidate any rights arising under lex specialis such as the law of armed conflict, unless there is incontrovertible evidence in the text that it was intended to override such lex specialis. When deciding whether a ship was trading with an enemy port, or whether its cargo was intended for an adverse party, Prize Courts developed the doctrines of continuous voyage and ultimate destination. In maritime warfare only properly authorised combatants are permitted to participate in warlike activities. By Hague Convention VI enemy merchant ships in ports of the adverse party at the outbreak of hostilities were allowed to depart and were granted a period of grace for the purpose.
It has been accepted since antiquity that some restraint should be observed during armed conflict. This book examines the apparent dichotomy and introduces any study of the law of armed conflict by considering the nature and legality of war. The purpose of what is known as the law of armed conflict or, more commonly, the law of war is to reduce the horrors inherent therein to the greatest extent possible, bearing in mind the political purpose for which the war is fought, namely to achieve one's policies over one's enemies. The discussion on the history and sources of the law of armed conflict pays most attention to warfare on land because that is the region for which most agreements have been drawn up, although attention has been accorded to both aerial and naval warfare where it has been considered necessary. Traditionally, international law was divided into the law of war and the law of peace, with no intermediate stage between. Although diplomatic relations between belligerents are normally severed once a conflict has commenced, there remain a number of issues, not all of which are concerned with their inter-belligerent relations, which require them to remain in contact. War crimes are violations of the and customs of the law of armed conflict and are punishable whether committed by combatants or civilians, including the nationals of neutral states. The book also talks about the rights and duties of the Occupying Power, civil defence, branches of international law and prisoners of war.