The Crises and Critiques of International Criminal Justice

Forthcoming, The Oxford Handbook of International Criminal Law, eds KJ Heller et al. (OUP 2020)

Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2020-01

Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2020-01

47 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2020

See all articles by Sergey Vasiliev

Sergey Vasiliev

Department of Criminal Law; University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law

Date Written: March 22, 2019

Abstract

It is often heard that international criminal justice is in ‘crisis’. Although the language of ‘crisis’ suggests a temporary and exceptional moment, the project of international criminal justice has essentially been in a legitimacy crisis since its emergence. International criminal tribunals have never been able to cleanse their ‘original sin’: despite their aspiration to transcend state power, they remain not just heavily dependent on it but also constrained and directed by it in their pursuit of ‘justice’. The more finessed the doctrine becomes, the more professionalised the practice, and the more sophisticated the institutions, the more evident is the inability of international criminal law to challenge the persisting power inequalities and address structural injustices of the international order. Against this background, this chapter diagnoses the state of the field by appraising the dynamics and quality of communication between its ‘mainstream defenders’ and the ‘radical critics’. It outlines the critics’ objectives and modes of engagement with the project and shows why some of the defensive impulses of the ‘mainstream’ fall short of effective responses to the critiques. The opposing sides to the debate about the legitimacy of international criminal justice seem to seldom think together and converse in earnest, despite having overlapping normative expectations towards the project. The chapter expresses a hope for a genuine, constructive dialogue between them, free of counterproductive tropes and tactics. The critical sensibility trickling into the ‘mainstream’ could help transform the institutional politics of the International Criminal Court and enable the project to realise its emancipatory potential.

Keywords: International criminal justice, legitimacy, crisis, critique, mainstream, discourse, hegemony, TWAIL, feminist approaches to international law, International Criminal Court

JEL Classification: K4, K14, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

Vasiliev, Sergey, The Crises and Critiques of International Criminal Justice (March 22, 2019). Forthcoming, The Oxford Handbook of International Criminal Law, eds KJ Heller et al. (OUP 2020); Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2020-01; Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2020-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3358240 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3358240

Sergey Vasiliev (Contact Author)

Department of Criminal Law ( email )

REC A919
Faculty of Law University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, 1001NB
Netherlands

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law ( email )

REC A919
Faculty of Law University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, 1001NB
Netherlands

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
471
Abstract Views
2,916
rank
62,786
PlumX Metrics