Contributor(s)Sharpe, Scott, Physical, Environmental & Mathematical Sciences, UNSW Canberra, UNSW
Hynes, Maria, ANU
Thornton, Alec, Physical, Environmental & Mathematical Sciences, UNSW Canberra, UNSW
Fernandes, Clinton, Humanities & Social Sciences, UNSW Canberra, UNSW
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AbstractEvaluating Extraordinary Rendition explores the viscerality of extraordinary rendition as a way to re-evaluate this practice. Extraordinary rendition denotes the practices of transferring victims across jurisdictions for purposes other than prosecution, such as torture. Previous studies argue that the practice is ‘beyond the reach of law’, in that victims are stripped of their rights and spaces are created in which the law is suspended. The thesis does not challenge the assessment of extraordinary rendition as illegal. Instead, it examines the visceral affections involved in the day-to-day operations of the practice, which exceed the intentions of the actors involved. For this, it develops a Deleuzian, non-representational and micropolitical approach. The argument is that the varying capacities of actors engaged in the practice to feel, think and act need to be taken seriously. If, following Arendt (1964), thinking is the means to avoid the ‘banality of evil’, moral judgement, in contrast, can encourage the tendency to blindly follow orders, by fixing values as universal standards. The thesis analyses court documents and victims’ accounts, as well as interviews conducted with Human Rights lawyers and activists, to show the unpredictable paths that mental capacitation and ethical evaluation might take. Firstly, it highlights that victims are continuously framed well before their interrogation and that perpetrators, lawyers and various other actors are affected as well. Yet, it suggests that such manipulation is never total. The continuous and conflicting affections experienced open spaces for thinking and thus for ethical evaluation. However, change cannot simply be willed; this would be to overestimate the power of consciousness. Preventing these ethically dubious practices is only possible through changes in habits as well as through changes in social structures. Secondly, therefore, the thesis analyses the institutionalised procedures involved in the evaluation of the practice of extraordinary rendition. It shows that judicial procedures require diverse forms of labour and the continuous re-performance of procedures, which depend upon many social actors, their affections, and evaluations. I conclude that a focus on human capacitation opens new possibilities for evaluating and altering the habits and structures that constitute extraordinary rendition.