The Perestroika of International Criminal Law: Soviet Reforms and the Promise of Legal Primacy in International Governance
Forthcoming in New Criminal Law Review, iCourts Working Paper Series No. 182
46 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2020 Last revised: 27 Feb 2020
Date Written: December 11, 2019
The article examines how the perestroika gave rise to a new legal thinking that helped spark a broader transformation of international law and governance. Building on the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, the article analyses the emergence and short-lived influence of the professionals behind the new legal thinking of the perestroika. This elite operated at the crossroads between international and domestic law and politics. At this juncture, and in an attempt to safeguard and solidify their own position, they promoted the primacy of international law over politics by calling, among other things, for the establishment of an international criminal court. Building on the thinking of this elite that coexisted with concurrent streams of investments into international law from both East and West, a geopolitical window for new criminal law initiatives beyond the state was opened. It was in this brief window of opportunity that the field of international criminal justice was developed as a reflection of a wider universalist promise of establishing legal primacy in international governance.
Keywords: perestroika, international criminal law, sociology of law
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