The Anxieties of International Criminal Justice

Leiden Journal of International Law (2016).

21 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2014 Last revised: 10 Jun 2016

See all articles by Frederic Megret

Frederic Megret

McGill University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: December 9, 2014


This paper presented at the International Studies Association Toronto meeting (2013) argues that international criminal justice as a field and project is chronically afflicted by forms of anxiety. In particular, the article is interested in what might be described as a form of existential disciplinary anxiety linked to a constant search for meaning. The field's anxieties are described as those of dependence, politics, method, legitimacy, authenticity, fairness, moral clarity, identity, status and responsibility. Anxieties are deeply woven into the rhetorical and practical structures of international criminal justice. To escape them would be to escape the field's condition, a difficult proposition that might well be the project's downfall. Yet anxieties can also be fundamentally creative and inform a range of practices deployed by international criminal tribunals. A modified version of the paper will appear in the Leiden Journal of International Law in 2015.

Keywords: International criminal justice, international criminal court, anxiety, existentialism

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Mégret, Frédéric, The Anxieties of International Criminal Justice (December 9, 2014). Leiden Journal of International Law (2016).. Available at SSRN:

Frédéric Mégret (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec

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