International Criminal Law at PluriCourts
The field of international Criminal Law (ICL) is under pressure. Many query whether ICL can live up to the high expectations that have been placed upon it, and whether it is truly possible for the international criminal justice system to bring peace, reconciliation and accountability to communities ravaged by violence, hatred and impunity. Expectations are shifting as to what can realistically be achieved, with many believing that ICL is at a critical juncture.
Permanent Premises of the International Criminal Court. Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
One common strand running through the debates surrounding ICL and international criminal tribunals (ICTs) is the concept of legitimacy. The legitimacy of ICL and ICTs is not something that can be taken for granted, but rather something which must be understood, developed and nurtured.
Our next edited work, planned for publication in early 2018, will examine ways in which the validity of ICTs and ICL can be strengthened as we move into the future.
Pluricourts researchers are also investigating other key issues surrounding the legitimacy and effectiveness of ICTs.
One line of research explores the wider impact of ICTs by assessing whether and how ICTs influence domestic justice systems and judicial practices. The project places particular focus upon how the rights of the accused within domestic legal systems have been affected by the intervention of an ICT. It also examines the notion of legality in ICL and how this can be used to strengthen the field and to improve the rights of the accused.
Another line of research examines the normative legitimacy of ICL and ICT. This line examines the distinction between domestic and international law crimes through the core notions of criminal law theory: harm, jurisdiction, responsibility or authority. It also aims to connect those notions to broader normative notions that are central to international law but that reach beyond ICL, such as human rights, justice or international society.
A third line of research consists in the analysis of the reparations regime of the International Criminal Court and other international systems of reparations for victims of serious human rights violations/international crimes. This analysis is conducted under legal considerations and legitimacy criteria, particularly human rights as a legitimacy standard. Such approach evidences the underlying intersection between human rights and international criminal law at the international judiciary. A related topic is the set of procedural rights that victims of mass atrocities may exercise at international and hybrid criminal courts as a manner to realize their human rights to protection, participation and reparations. Identification of a common grammar or vocabulary of the international law of reparations and other victim issues amidst international judicial diversification is pursued to examine the substantive law, procedural, and institutional dimensions of international courts with jurisdiction over mass atrocities, Jurisprudential and comparative analysis of other topics such as gender issues, legal elements of international crimes and sentencing provide the general picture of international criminal justice and other areas of international and national law.