Daedalus or Icarus? Footprints of International Criminal Justice Over a Quarter of a Century
27 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 27, 2016
International criminal justice has taken a long journey over the past quarter of a century. This essay analyzes this evolution through an analogy to the Greek myth of Daedulus and Icarus. It argues that, similar to the flight in the tale, the journey of international criminal justice is marked by rise and fall and need for re-orientation. It examines some of the major developments and critiques through a contextualization of seven key moments: (i) Tadić 1995: The grounding of the humanist tradition, (ii) Akayesu: New consciousness regarding sexual and gender based violence, (iii) Kristić: The “new law” on genocide, (iv) the Al-Bashir Arrest Warrant: Law vs. Politics, (v) Lubanga: The global victim as constituency, (vi) Charles Taylor: Even-handedness and dilemmas of accessory liability , and (vii) Saif Gaddafi and Al Senussi: The new frontiers of complementarity. It shows that each of them marks an important turning point for modern understandings of international criminal justice. It concludes that like Icarus, international criminal jurisdiction is ill-advised to fly too close to the sun, and too low to the sea.
Keywords: International criminal law, humanism, sexual and gender-based violence, genocide, immunity, victims, victor’s justice, complementarity
JEL Classification: K33, K14, K42, F51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation