Module 2 ICJ 704 Use sources that are uploaded ! This is the comments section now.

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You are supposed to respond to the other two questions in at least 200 words as a comment to your classmates’ responses. Remember no less than 200 words for each of the students !!!

Student 1.
Aimee Hanstein
In what ways are court processes shaped by culture?
COLLAPSE
Traditions, history, and legitimacy are just some of the ways court processes are shaped by culture. A country’s religious and historical past can shape their current day court processes, whether by keeping them the same or by challenging them. For example, a country that has an Islamic system is going to have very different court processes than that of the United States or other Western countries. These countries’ cultures and histories are what make their court processes so different. This is the case in many countries around the world, depending on what the country itself has gone through, how the people have reacted, and how they’ve adapted their processes over the years.

An example that comes to mind is here in the United States. Our court proceedings are very traditional in western cultures as well as very traditional according to Christian and Catholic proceedings from history (such as oaths and the uniform of judges). However, even specific city’s cultures can shape and change their court processes. For example, in Newark, NJ and Red Hook, Brooklyn, the culture of not respecting the criminal justice system and not viewing the court as legitimate, has forced these cities (and others) to change their court processes. Newark and Red Hook have implemented what is called “community court”. In community court, some traditions such as “Your honor” and the clothing of the judge remain the same as well as defense attorneys and victims being present. However, these court processes are more informal in that everyone knows everyone’s name, and instead of hardcore law and order that is seen in regular criminal justice courts, it takes a more social services approach. These courts help individuals who have committed misdemeanor crimes as well as drug use by connecting them to programs and providing them with support systems. These court systems have drastically reduced recidivism rates as well as regular crime rates. The judge in Newark, NJ oftentimes provides “defendants”/offenders with writing prompts that they are to answer before their next time coming to the court, she then has them repeat the prompt out loud and goes over what the individual has learned. They provide individuals with SAT test help, medical help, family resources, etc. This type of court process has also restored the faith of the community in the criminal justice system and has also helped the court be viewed as more legitimate. Community courts are sometimes modeled off of the way that Indigenous populations hold their “court” ceremonies or how they deal with issues in their communities. Similar courts include adult drug court, a mental health court, a court for those charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, a veterans court, a domestic violence court, and a homeless court. These types of courts increase community engagement, individualized justice, collaboration, and accountability.

Even with community courts, just like any time of crime and justice system, what works in one culture and community, may not work in another culture and community, and therefore all court processes, as well as criminal justice system processes, really should be catered around the culture and community they are in. In many countries and states within countries, this is shown. However, these programs really should be specialized even more on local and province/state levels.

Student 2. Derrick Lee
How might the law contribute to the proliferation of violence rather than to its containment?
COLLAPSE
Certain interpretations of the law can contribute to the proliferation of violence rather than its containment. Some international laws can be used to justify violence and even as a method to ramp up attacks. Israel’s twenty-two day attack on Gaza, which lasted from December 2008 to January, is a perfect example of this scenario.

The twenty-two day Israeli attack on Gaza resulted in the deaths of approximately 1400 people and the destruction of 15,000 buildings. The vast destruction raised concerns that Israel violated the international laws governing warfare. When justifying their actions, Israeli officials claimed that they were acting in self defense and attempting to protect Israeli citizens from rocket attacks. In addition, Israel stated that Hamas was sheltering themselves among the people of Gaza and that the death of these citizens was unavoidable. During and after the conflict, Israel used ‘lawfare’ to its advantage. In other words, Israel interpreted the wording of international law in such a manner that they were able to legitimatize the deaths of more than a thousand civilians and the overwhelming damage to infrastructure.

Israeli international law experts assisted in developing tactical operations and procedures prior to the attack on Gaza. The goal of the experts was to equip the Israeli Army with a layer of legal protection so that they could carry out attacks in Gaza without worrying about civilian deaths. The experts were able to manipulate existing international law to benefit military officials and tacticians. For example, the Israeli military used a variety of methods to warn the citizens of Gaza about impending attacks. Israel dropped leaflets over the city, used TV and radio broadcasts, called and messaged Gaza residents, and utilized warning shots and microphones. While the efforts seem extensive, according to the Geneva Convention, Israel did not need to warn civilians when doing so would jeopardize the mission or put Israeli soldiers in excessive risk. In this example, Israel used international law to proliferate violence. When Israel warned the people of Gaza of the coming attacks, they were actually protecting their own interests. Once the citizens in Gaza were warned, Israel was able to shift their legal responsibility to those citizens. In simpler terms, once Israel gave the proper warning, they were able to claim that the citizens of Gaza that chose to stay behind were responsible for their own deaths. Israeli officers began to frequently use this tactic as justification for destroying homes and killing civilians.

In these scenarios, Israeli officials used international law to their advantage and as legal protection. The mass warnings aided Israeli military operations and lead to the proliferation of violence. Israeli officials continued to bend international law as much as possible without breaking it and by doing so, Israel was able to justify the death and destruction in Gaza.

Weizman, E. (2010). Legislative Attack. Theory, Culture & Society, 27(6), 11-32. doi:10.1177/0263276410380937

This was the discussion board. You could the discussion board from me.
Please select one of the following questions and provide a thoughtful and critical answer.

According to the authors, what is the key role of a court?
In what ways are court processes shaped by culture?
How might the law contribute to the proliferation of violence rather than to its containment?

Your answer should be informed and approximately 400 words in length.

Readings & Resources
READINGS

1-) Hajjar, Lisa 2005 Legal Discourse and the Conflict in Israel/Palestine, in

Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza. Pp. 49-75. Berkeley: University of California Press.
2-) Wilson, Richard 2000 Reconciliation and Revenge in Post-Apartheid South Africa

. Current Anthropology 41(1): 75-87.
3-) Weizman, Eyal 2010 Legislative Attack.

Theory, Culture & Society 27(6): 11-32.

Additional Reading (Optional)

1-) Lazarus-Black, M. (1997), The Rites of Domination: Practice, Process, and Structure in Lower Courts. American Ethnologist, 24: 628–651. doi:10.1525/ae.1997.24.3.628

https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1525/ae.1997.24.3.628

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