Is International Criminal Law Feminist?

16 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2024 Last revised: 14 May 2024

See all articles by Margaret M. deGuzman

Margaret M. deGuzman

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Rachel López

Temple University Beasley School of Law; Princeton University - Program in Law & Public Policy

Date Written: March 21, 2024

Abstract

The future of international criminal law as a feminist project at its essence turns on one central question: Does international criminal law advance feminist goals? To answer this question, this chapter charts the landscape of feminist critiques of international criminal law, identifying two schools of feminist thought. On one hand, there are those who believe in the enterprise of international criminal law as a method of advancing women’s rights and on the other, those who reject the enterprise believing that it undermines them.

To aid this analysis, the chapter applies a framework conceived by Robert Cover, and elaborated by Katherine Young, of redemptive and rejectionist approaches. Feminists who adopt a redemptive frame recognize the limitations of international criminal law, but ultimately see the enterprise as redeemable—that is, they believe that with the right reforms it can be a tool for advancing women’s rights. In contrast, those who adopt a rejectionist frame, believe the premises that undergird international criminal law are so fundamentally anti-woman, that the best course is to reject it wholesale and find another tool for advancing women’s rights. The goal of this chapter is to put these schools of thought in conversation and suggest ways that feminists can work together to support their core shared goal: the advancement of women’s equality.

Keywords: feminist, equality, international criminal law, redemptive, rejectionist, women’s rights

Suggested Citation

deGuzman, Margaret M. and López, Rachel, Is International Criminal Law Feminist? (March 21, 2024). Princeton University Program in Law & Public Affairs Research Paper, Oxford Handbook on Women and International Law, Forthcoming, Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2024-09, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4767887

Margaret M. DeGuzman (Contact Author)

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Rachel López

Temple University Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Princeton University - Program in Law & Public Policy ( email )

Wallace Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States

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