Journal Article

Beyond the ‘Global–Local Divide’

Leila Ullrich

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 14, issue 3, pages 543-568
Published in print July 2016 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online July 2016 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI:
Beyond the ‘Global–Local Divide’

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  • Criminal Law
  • International Law
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This article examines the role of a new category of actors in the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) justice process, so-called ‘local intermediaries’, who have largely been ignored in the research on the Court’s work. Intermediaries are diverse actors, from community leaders to grassroots organizations, who help the Court with evidence collection and victims’ engagement in situation countries. While much controversy surrounds the ICC’s engagement with intermediaries, there is a shared analytical framework for making sense of this relationship: the ‘global–local divide’. While many scholars advocate for a combination or even integration of ‘global’ and ‘local’ justice processes, the premise that the important misunderstandings and contestations in international criminal justice happen between the ‘global Court’ and ‘local communities’ is hardly put in doubt. Drawing on fieldwork at the ICC in The Hague, in Kenya and in Uganda, I will argue that the global v. local framework obscures more than it illuminates about the Court’s victims' engagement through intermediaries. By developing a theory of interactional justice, the article will show that some of the most important justice contestations happen within the ICC and in the field rather than between the ‘global Court’ and ‘local communities’. In fact, the ICC’s internal contradictions, rather than the much vaunted ‘mischievousness’ of intermediaries, explain much of the Court’s ambiguous victims’ engagement. Ultimately, the article aims to close the empirical gap in research on ICC intermediaries by releasing them from the analytical confines of the global v. local conceptual framework.

Journal Article.  12928 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law ; International Criminal Law ; International Humanitarian Law ; Transnational Crime

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