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Open Access The Value of International Criminal Justice: How Much International Criminal Justice Can the World Afford?

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The Value of International Criminal Justice: How Much International Criminal Justice Can the World Afford?

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Affiliations: 1: University Professor, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands; Professor, Human Rights Law, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


International criminal justice, and in particular the ICC, has been overburdened by the unrestrained idealism underlying the ambitions inscribed in its fundaments. However, the resulting acts of legal development have not been without value. On the contrary, it is only when idealism sharpens our view on reality that progress can be achieved. Striving to gradually strengthen international criminal justice is therefore worthwhile. Our best bet is to seek to understand where shortcomings in the existing system are grist to the mill for cynicism and to look for opportunities to make international criminal justice more credible in the eyes of victim populations. The question of how much criminal justice the world can afford is the wrong question to ask. Rather, we should be asking whether the international community, if it is still concerned about establishing trust and peace among nations, can afford to do away with international criminal justice.


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