The International Criminal Court and Africa: Exemplary Justice
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This is a theoretical and empirical investigation into the causal link (if any) between international criminal trials and preventing violence through exemplary prosecutions. Specifically how do representative trials of persons accused of having the greatest responsibility for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, supposedly bind recurrent violence? The argument pursued is that by using an accused as an example, a court engages in an indirect and uncertain substitution of personal rights for social harmony and order. These prosecutions combine a peculiar rhetoric, logic and aesthetic, all which substitute the responsibilities for a society in general to a particular individual in order to redeem that society by transferring its communal responsibility onto the individual punished as a form of atonement or expiation. International and domestic trials, as well as truth and reconciliation commissions, are part of a suite of options addressing communal mass violence that can work in tandem. However, because those convicted do not have a monopoly on criminality, nor do those merely reconciled have a monopoly on virtue, exemplification through punishment only targets a few on behalf of the many. Indeed such a redemptively sacrificial economy distinguishes legal justice from mere vengeance.
Law and Critique
Copyright 2011 Springer Netherlands. This is an electronic version of an article published in Law and Critique, February 2012, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 21-41. Law and Critique is available online at: www.springerlink.com with the open URL of your article.
Criminal Law and Procedure
Criminology not elsewhere classified