Term

Postcolonial legal criticism

The academic field of postcolonial legal criticism looks at the repercussions of colonialism and imperialism today. In this context, law is seen as a social and cultural construct which changes over time. During the period of colonialization by European states, national and international law developed in a way that made it possible to legitimize for example slavery and genocide. European law, with its often racist elements, spread to many parts of the world in the course of colonialization.

Postcolonial theoreticians show how imperial laws served to cover up colonial violence and how injustice was legitimized through the fig leaf of law. The law was used, for example, to deny indigenous populations in the colonies their status as legal persons. The development of international law was also closely interwoven with colonialization. Postcolonial legal criticism today tries to uncover and challenge colonial continuities in both national and international law.

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Colonial repercussions: Germany and Namibia

Activism & Arts

In the early 20th, today’s Namibia was a German colony. The Namibian population was massively and systematically discriminated against. Oppression, violence and land grabbing were widespread. ECCHR is working to address the German genocide in Namibia and Germany’s colonial past.

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(Post)colonial injustice and legal interventions

Research & Academia

The development of international law is closely interwoven with European colonialization. Colonial violence was frequently covered up and injustice developed into a legal system. With the “Koloniales Erbe/Colonial Repercussions” event series, ECCHR examined the structures of colonial power relations, which continue to impact on science, art and society today.

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New perspectives on the law: Decolonial legal critique and practice

Research & Academia

The anthology Dekoloniale Rechtskritik und Rechtspraxis, which will be published by Nomos Verlag in August 2020, is the first volume to collect fundamental texts on decolonial legal theory. Interdisciplinary theoretical approaches by scholars such as Antony Anghie, Martti Koskenniemi, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui and Makau Mutua are complied in German for the first time.

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Crimes during liberation wars: The Lumumba murder

Research & Academia

The criminal investigation into Lumumba’s assassination is part of a broader context of structural impunity for the crimes committed by European colonial powers during decolonization. While the long-term effects of colonization persist, direct accountability is rarely possible.