The politics of international criminal justice

Authored by: David Armstrong , Florencia Montal

The Routledge Handbook of International Crime and Justice Studies

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415781787
eBook ISBN: 9780203837146
Adobe ISBN: 9781136868504


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The essential context within which international criminal justice has evolved is well stated by Geoffrey Robertson, QC (2002: xxx): ‘The movement for global justice has been a struggle against sovereignty – the doctrine of non-intervention in the internal affairs of nation states asserted by all governments which have refused to subject the treatment they mete out to their citizens to any independent scrutiny.’ However, where Robertson and others see deference to sovereignty by the UN and other international bodies as a ‘systemic defect’ (ibid.: xxxi) and are equally scathing about the cynical and self-serving motives they see as underpinning states’ insistence on sovereignty, a more nuanced perspective is possible. In this view, five key factors are at the heart of arguments, such as those advanced by Rabkin (2007: 98–132), that seek to refute the more idealistic assertions to the effect that amoral, power-seeking states are all that stand in the way of a global legal system capable of ensuring that those violating human rights can be brought to justice as effectively as criminals inside states.

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