Research Paper Number
The Panopticon of International Law: B’Tselem's Camera Project and the Enforcement of International Law in a Transnational Society
Foucault; B’Tselem; Transnational Law; International Humanitarian Law (IHL); Compliance; Enforcement; Conflict Theory; Conflict and Society
This paper analyzes the influence of transnational non-state actors on compliance with international legal rules, as part of Foucault’s power/knowledge structure. Particularly it examines the effect of the “Shooting Back” project, by the Israeli NGO B’Tselem, on the level of investigations of alleged violations of the law of occupation. According to Bentham’s principles of Panoptism, power should be visible and unverifiable. The implementation of these principles by transnational actors is highlighted by the “Shooting Back” project in Israel. In 2007 the NGO B’Tselem supplied Palestinians living in high-conflict areas with video-cameras in order to capture, expose, and “seek redress for” human rights violations in the Occupied Territories. This project caused soldiers and their commanders to become aware of the possibility that they and their actions are being observed and documented, without knowing the exact source of the observer It also demonstrates the potential role of transnational actors in conflict resolution, who through their geographical spread and the use of affordable means of communication can assist in the implementation of Bentham’s principles.
Miretski, Pini Pavel and Bachmann, Sascha-Dominik Oliver Vladimir, "The Panopticon of International Law: B’Tselem's Camera Project and the Enforcement of International Law in a Transnational Society" (2014). Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper Series. 27.
Subsequently published in the Osgoode Hall Law Journal.