The Comfort of International Criminal Law

(2013) 24-2 Law and Critique

22 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2013 Last revised: 17 Apr 2013

Date Written: November 16, 2012

Abstract

This paper examines the changing relationship between the disciplines of international criminal law (ICL) and international human rights law; I particularly focus on the associations of the former with comfort and the latter with discomfort. It appears that a shift may be taking place in that ICL is being refashioned from a field enforcing human rights law to one which has assumed an entirely independent status. Indeed, ICL appears to be crowding out international human rights law. The inquiry begins with the question whether ICL is becoming the preferred discursive framework for practitioners, academics, and politicians. A contemporary desire for certainty over contention, action over discourse, and simplicity over complexity is revealed; in short, a preference for comfort over discomfort. The second half of the paper is dedicated to highlighting some of the concerns attached to this preference and suggesting possible techniques for addressing these concerns. Employing the idea of 'discomfort', I refer to the relevance of (a) Michel Foucault's Ethics of Discomfort, (b) Judith Butler's idea of the Language of Discomfort, and (c) draw on Franz Kafka's literary exploration of the Comfort in Discomfort. The ideas culminate in an invitation to relearn the comfort in discomfort of contention, discourse and complexity in international law.

Keywords: international law, international human rights law, international criminal law, comfort, discomfort

Suggested Citation

Schwöbel-Patel, Christine, The Comfort of International Criminal Law (November 16, 2012). (2013) 24-2 Law and Critique. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2251799

Christine Schwöbel-Patel (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry CV4 7AL, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/people?id=25504b090aaed74b111e4d096c3cf151%20

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