International Criminal Law as Justice

11 Journal of International Criminal Justice (2013) 699

13 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2014

See all articles by Darryl Robinson

Darryl Robinson

Queen's University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2013


This piece outlines an ongoing research project that received the Antonio Cassese Prize for International Criminal Legal Studies, and was published in conjunction with receipt of that award. The paper argues that, even though international criminal law addresses crimes with collective and extraordinary dimensions, we are still rightly concerned with the constraints of justice for the individual. The framework it suggests is not that we replicate national doctrines and principles, nor that we abandon them. Instead, we can explore animating principles and how they operate in unusual contexts, thereby refining and deepening our understanding of them. Examining criminal law in abnormal situations can show us parameters and subtleties that we had not noticed in familiar concepts, and show us that principles that seemed fundamental may be contextually contingent manifestations of deeper commitments.

Clarifying the constraints of justice is useful in two ways. Most obviously, it helps avoid transgressions against the individual. But it can also expose excessively conservative doctrines, adopted out of deference to misconceived and inapposite understandings of principles. Thus it can contribute not only to the justice but also the effectiveness of the system.

Keywords: international criminal law, justice, fundamental principles, liberal, legality, authority, culpability, collective

JEL Classification: K14, K33

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Darryl, International Criminal Law as Justice (2013). 11 Journal of International Criminal Justice (2013) 699 . Available at SSRN:

Darryl Robinson (Contact Author)

Queen's University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Macdonald Hall
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6 K7L3N6

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