The Symbolic Economy of International Criminal Justice: Shaping the Discourse of a New Field of Law
Forthcoming, Joanna Nicholson (ed.) Strengthening the Validity of International Criminal Tribunals (Brill 2018)
iCourts Working Paper Series No. 114
29 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2018 Last revised: 9 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 25, 2018
The article explores the symbolic economy of international criminal justice, critically analyzing how specific discourses about international criminal courts have been developed and become dominant over the last few decades. These discourses are driven by stakeholders in the field, namely international criminal lawyers; NGO advocates; scholars and diplomats, who have invested materially and symbolically in crafting this relatively new area of law. These stakeholders have distinct but also overlapping agendas, and are engaged in a collective but contentious effort to nurture a certain form of justice. The article examines the terminology used by these actors to understand the conceptual dynamics that gives sense to this field of law and the tacit rules that govern what is given value within it. The terminology built and used by these stakeholders provides a window into how the field of international criminal law is shaped and how it adapts to changes, such as closure of international criminal tribunals. In adapting to these changes, the article argues, defining exactly what the end goals of international criminal justice are, and how and with what means to achieve this mission becomes the renewed object of a professional contest that helps shape the direction and impact of this field of law.
Keywords: international criminal justice, international criminal law, international criminal courts, sociology of law
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