This author's articles
12 July 2006
Judith Butler discusses the ‘exception’ of naming the detainees at Guantanamo as ‘illegal combatants’ rather than POWs from a different perspective than Giorgio Agamben’s. For Butler, the exception is an exception to the universality of human rights. At the same time, Butler acknowledges that the Geneva Conventions display their own exceptions to the universal. The Geneva Conventions only refer to state-centred conflict taking place in ‘already established and recognizable forms’. According to Butler, the Conventions also concede that there are ‘uncivilized people’ who create ‘unique situations’ that require unique measures.