Is International Criminal Law “Crowding Out” the Rest of Public International Law?

Is International Criminal Law “Crowding Out” the Rest of Public International Law?

That’s the question underlying my new essay, The Rise of International Criminal Law: Intended and Unintended Consequences, in the European Journal of International Law (Vol. 20, No. 2, June 2009).  And I’m very curious as to whether anyone else shares my general feeling that the very success, on important metrics, of international criminal law is tending to swallow, as it were, the rest of public international law.

The essay is a very wide-ranging, high altitude, fast survey of ways in which international criminal law has impacted other areas of international law, including the laws of war, law related to the Security Council and the UN, and other matters.  Even a section on … robot soldiers!  Here is the table of contents:

  • Regimes of mutual benefit and regimes of altruism
  • Alternative to intervention?
  • Earning the moral right to administer universal justice
  • Reprisal and reciprocity in the laws of armed conflict
  • The rise of the machines
  • Individual liability and the loss of the laws of war as rules for the social organization of war between groups
  • Does anyone ‘own’ the rules of war anymore?
  • An end-run around the P-5?
  • Neglecting the UN?
I want to thank EJIL editor and old friend Joe Weiler for commissioning this essay – and then running it when it turned out to be a somewhat strange piece for EJIL. It draws on my personal experience regarding the early days of the then-proposed ICTY, among other things.  Everything from battlefield robots to the P-5 … no lack of topics here in a short space. Although I think it will drive some readers crazy, and for a good reason – it takes the punchbowl of each topic away just as the party gets going – I think once in a while it is useful to have a high altitude survey that seeks to reveal something about changes to the landscape below. That’s the intent, anyway.  It is not an essay about criticizing international criminal law as a field or endeavor, but instead noting its effects on other things.
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International Criminal Law, Organizations
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The article looks very interesting. I’ll definitely read it.


[…] July 4, 2009 in Uncategorized Is International Criminal Law “Crowding Out” the Rest of Public International Law? […]

gorden harris
gorden harris


Good blog – very interesting!!

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