The Expressive Turn of International Criminal Justice: A Field in Search of Meaning
Leiden Journal of International Law 2019, Forthcoming
40 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2019
Date Written: October 8, 2019
As the glow that accompanied the kinetic judicialisation of the field of international criminal justice has faded over time, scholars have increasingly turned to expressivist strands of thought to justify, assess, and critique the practices of international criminal courts. This expressive turn has been characterised by a heightened concern for the pedagogical value and legitimating qualities of international criminal courts.
This article develops a unique typology of expressivist perspectives within the field of international criminal justice, distinguishing between: instrumental expressivism, which concerns the justification of different practices of international criminal courts in terms of the instrumental value of their expressive qualities; interpretive expressivism, which concerns the identification of expressive avenues for improving the sociological legitimacy of international criminal courts; and critical expressivism, which concerns the illumination of the expressive limits of international criminal courts, as well as unveiling the configurations of power that underpin the messages and narratives constructed within such courts in different institutional contexts.
Reflecting on the limitations of these perspectives, the article elaborates a nascent strand of expressivism – strategic expressivism – which examines whether and how different actors in the field may harness the expressive power of international criminal justice in line with their strategic social and political agendas.
Keywords: international criminal justice, expressivism, legitimacy, critique, strategy
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation