Right, Crime and Court: First Steps toward a Unitary Account of International Law
PluriCourts Seminar with Postdocoral Fellow Alain Zysset on his ongoing research at PluriCourts.
It is widely acknowledged that human rights law (HRL) and international criminal law (ICL) share core conceptual and normative features. Yet, the literature has not yet reconstructed this underlying basis in a systematic way. In this contribution, I lay down the basis of such an account. Starting with theory, I first identify a similar tension between a “moral” and a “political” approach to articulate the legitimate role of HRL and ICL and explain where those approaches exactly clash and what the clash is ultimately about.
With a view to bring the debate forward, I then turn to the practices of HRL and ICL and examine which of those approaches best illuminates some salient aspects of the practice of international courts. I then argue that the political approach best unifies the legitimate role of HRL and ICL. While preserving a distinct role, both either consolidate or pally the basic conditions for the primary subject of international law, namely the state, to legitimately govern its own subjects constructed as free and equal moral agents that may reasonably disagree.