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International Law's Objects$
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Jessie Hohmann and Daniel Joyce

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198798200

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198798200.001.0001

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(p.182) 9 Chicotte
International Law's Objects

Anne-Charlotte Martineau

Oxford University Press

In the French language, especially as it is practised today in Africa, a chicotte designates a whipping or flogging object. Looking at the history of the chicotte through the lens of the ‘standard of civilization’, this chapter shows that the chicotte has been perceived, presented, and regulated by international law differently at different times. During the Leopoldian era, the infliction of the chicotte became the symbol of a ruthless commercial enterprise that, reformers urged, had to be stopped. When the Belgian state took over the colonial administration of the Congo, the chicotte was turned into a public-law device for ‘civilizing’ native subjects. More recently, in the postcolonial world, the chicotte has come to be seen in international law as a pre-modern artefact, a breach of human rights, the use of which calls for punishment and transformation.

Keywords:   international law, history, Africa, colonialism, chicotte, human rights, standard of civilization

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