The Banality of Law: Reflections on The Oxford Handbook of International Criminal Law

Journal of International Criminal Justice 2020

18 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2021

See all articles by Talita Dias

Talita Dias

Chatham House; University of Oxford - Blavatnik School of Government

Date Written: October 26, 2020

Abstract

The Oxford Handbook of International Criminal Law encapsulates what its object is all about: a variety of perspectives on the legal framework, academic discipline and judicial institutions that comprise what we call ‘international criminal law’. But it goes beyond orthodox definitions and approaches to the subject to include some of its parallel and underrated ‘lives’ in social, economic, political and cultural settings – from diplomatic negotiations to TV screens. The Handbook’s contributions include doctrinal, political, sociological, historical and philosophical perspectives on some of the most contentious issues in the field. Despite such diversity, the rhetoric of crisis and critique pervades different chapters and seems to originate from varying levels of personal or professional disappointment with the field, following an initial sense of utopia. After mapping out and unpacking such underlying disappointment, I argue that constructive criticism, self-reflection and accessibility are necessary to move past it. One important step is to shift attention from spectacular trials, narratives and discourses to ‘the banality of law’: its ordinary existence as an educative tool. Upon reflection on the Handbook’s chapters, I conclude that international criminal law ought to be made simpler, more transparent and inclusive.

Keywords: Oxford Handbook of International Criminal Law; International Criminal Justice; Educative Function

Suggested Citation

Dias, Talita, The Banality of Law: Reflections on The Oxford Handbook of International Criminal Law (October 26, 2020). Journal of International Criminal Justice 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3776283 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3776283

Talita Dias (Contact Author)

Chatham House ( email )

10 St James's Square
London, SW1Y 4LE
United Kingdom

University of Oxford - Blavatnik School of Government ( email )

120 Walton Street
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX2 6GG
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.bsg.ox.ac.uk/

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