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Open Access The Future of the International Criminal Court. On Critique, Legalism and Strengthening the ICC’s Legitimacy

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The Future of the International Criminal Court. On Critique, Legalism and Strengthening the ICC’s Legitimacy

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While the International Criminal Court (ICC) strives for justice for atrocity crimes throughout the world, increasingly, its legitimacy is undermined: powerful states refuse to join, African states prepare to leave, victims do not feel their needs for justice are met. This article argues that this is due to contradicting assumptions and too many objectives attached to the expectations of international criminal justice, which pull and push what the criminal trial is supposed to do in too many directions, undermining what it can do, raising too high expectations, and leading to disappointment. The article analyses the critique as rooted in a misunderstanding of what ‘justice’ is, what a criminal trial can do, and how inherently political international criminal justice is and only can be. It concludes with some observations on what this entails for strengthening the legitimacy of the ICC by matching expectations to what it can and cannot do.

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Senior Counsel and Director Netherlands Office at the Public International Law & Policy Group, M.de.Hoon@vu.nl

10.1163/15718123-01704002
/content/journals/10.1163/15718123-01704002
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While the International Criminal Court (ICC) strives for justice for atrocity crimes throughout the world, increasingly, its legitimacy is undermined: powerful states refuse to join, African states prepare to leave, victims do not feel their needs for justice are met. This article argues that this is due to contradicting assumptions and too many objectives attached to the expectations of international criminal justice, which pull and push what the criminal trial is supposed to do in too many directions, undermining what it can do, raising too high expectations, and leading to disappointment. The article analyses the critique as rooted in a misunderstanding of what ‘justice’ is, what a criminal trial can do, and how inherently political international criminal justice is and only can be. It concludes with some observations on what this entails for strengthening the legitimacy of the ICC by matching expectations to what it can and cannot do.

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/content/journals/10.1163/15718123-01704002
2017-06-29
2018-11-17

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