Journal Article

Inherent Imperialism

Frederick Cowell

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 15, issue 4, pages 667-687
Published in print September 2017 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online October 2017 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jicj/mqx041
Inherent Imperialism

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Abstract

Since 2008, the International Criminal Court has been subject to criticism for being somehow imperialist, and some criticism of the Court has pursued a distinctly anti-imperialist narrative. Whilst such criticism is often motivated by political considerations, this article examines whether the narrative can be to a certain extent due to provisions of the Rome Statute itself, rather than contingent choices made by Court organs. This involves analysing the law for traces of what this article terms ‘inherent imperialism’. This is where the text of an instrument implicitly envisages an unequal or hierarchical legal structure. If some of the Rome Statute’s features can be considered inherently imperialist, this could provide a partial justification for some of the political attacks on the Court’s choices. This article, by providing a theoretical framework, which interprets claims that the law is imperialist, aims to put the anti-imperialist attacks on the Court in perspective.

Journal Article.  10004 words. 

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

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