Pluralism: A New Framework for International Criminal Justice
E. van Sliedregt and S. Vasiliev (eds), Pluralism in International Criminal Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)
32 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2014 Last revised: 26 Jun 2014
Date Written: April 19, 2014
This opening Chapter of the edited volume 'Pluralism in International Criminal Law' (Oxford University Press, 2014) presents ‘pluralism’ as an overarching conceptual framework for international criminal justice. The Chapter provides an overview of the previous debates on (global) legal pluralism, fragmentation, and diversification of law as they have been framed in different legal disciplines. It examines the interpretations of these concepts in their disciplinary contexts and makes a vocabulary choice for international criminal justice. It is argued that the category of 'pluralism' is more suitable than 'fragmentation'; it more accurately reflects the nature and origin of international criminal law and procedure and also better captures the diversity and complexity of this field. The discursive transition to ‘pluralism’ reflects not merely a semantic change but a wholesale paradigm shift; this shift enhances the explanatory force of the proposed framework. The Chapter connects previous debates on pluralism and fragmentation to various forms of legal and normative diversity in international criminal justice and draws an inventory of pluralist perspectives on international criminal law and procedure. It shows that these bodies of law are pluralistic in many different ways and identifies some of the risks and advantages of pluralism. The classic ‘legal pluralism’ perspective is useful in describing the confluence of legal regulations drawn from sources pertaining to different legal orders in the jurisdictional sphere of international and hybrid tribunals, but it does not capture all of the relevant facets of pluralism in international criminal justice. The Chapter presents the additional ‘extrinsic’ and ‘intrinsic’ dimensions of pluralism and outlines several pluralism-based perspectives that fall within those dimensions and are instrumental in explaining the diversified and at times troubled nature of international criminal justice. It concludes by introducing the chapters in the edited volume and by proposing a research agenda.
Keywords: Pluralism, global legal pluralism, fragmentation, diversity, international criminal law
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