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Hannah Arendt’s Philosophy of Law Approach to International Criminal Law

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My argument in this article is that Hannah Arendt has a coherent and well-developed, although not systematic, philosophy of law which she brings to the Eichmann trial specifically and to international criminal law generally. In Part One of the article, I lay out Arendt’s philosophy of law, focusing on her account of the difference between the Greek and Roman conceptions of the law, the status of the consensus iuris, and the status of legal principles. Part Two offers a comparison of Arendt’s and Dworkin’s legal and political principles that animate the law. Part Three takes up Arendt’s approach to international criminal law through an analysis of her report of the Eichmann trial, specifically her account of the unprecedented nature of crimes against humanity, the new type of criminal who commits administrative massacres, and the difference between the criminal and the political trial at the international level.

Affiliations: 1: DePaul University, Chicago, IL, USA


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