International Criminal Justice as Progress: From Faith to Critique
M. Bergsmo et al. (eds), Historical Origins of International Criminal Law: Volume 4 (TOAEP 2015), pp.749-835.
90 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2015 Last revised: 6 Jan 2016
Date Written: November 20, 2015
As the field of international criminal justice has rapidly institutionalised over the past two decades, one assumption that has become particularly entrenched is the notion that international criminal courts are mechanisms of progress. The establishment of such courts has often been accompanied by a triumphalist discourse proclaiming their demarcation from the world of politics, as well as their power to serve as global peacemakers and global justice providers.
Taking these progress claims as its point of departure, this chapter examines how the association between international criminal courts and progress has been subject to increasing contestation within international criminal scholarship and what such contestation may signify for the future orientation of the field.
The chapter concludes by advocating the adoption of a mindset that strives to temper enthusiasm for over-exuberant progress claims with a critical inquisitiveness for the darker sides of the interventions of international criminal courts, all the while maintaining a willingness to be inspired and imagine what can be created in the face of such critiques.
Keywords: International criminal justice, international criminal law, progress, critique, faith, power, International Criminal Court
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