Transnational Networks and International Criminal Justice

48 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2006 Last revised: 15 Dec 2021

See all articles by Jenia Iontcheva Turner

Jenia Iontcheva Turner

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: 2007


The theory of trans-governmental networks describes how elements within the governments of various nations make and affect policy by coordinating with each other informally, without official or formal legal sanction. Anne-Marie Slaughter and others have argued that this sort of coordination is useful in many different areas of cross-border regulation, including banking, antitrust, environmental protection, and securities law.

One area to which the theory has not yet been applied is international criminal law. By its nature, international criminal law transcends national boundaries. But at least until recently, it had not generated the kinds of informal trans-governmental networks that have emerged in other fields. Except for a few recent collaborations among international and national prosecutors and judges serving on hybrid courts, international criminal law has largely been enforced at either the purely domestic or the international level.

The picture appears to be changing, however. Investigators, prosecutors, and judges dealing with international crimes are increasingly starting to collaborate, both in horizontal networks with their peers across borders and in vertical networks with their counterparts at international criminal tribunals. This Article describes and evaluates these developments and provides a conceptual defense of why networks could be useful in international criminal law. It then suggests what future forms this sort of cooperation might take and draws implications from the emergence of international criminal networks for the study of networks more generally.

Keywords: international criminal law, networks, transnational, transgovernmental, International Criminal Court, ICC, hybrid courts, mixed courts, complementarity

JEL Classification: K1, K14, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

Turner, Jenia Iontcheva, Transnational Networks and International Criminal Justice (2007). 105 Michigan Law Review 985 (2007), SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1, Available at SSRN:

Jenia Iontcheva Turner (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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