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Philosophical Foundations of Criminal Law$
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R.A. Duff and Stuart Green

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199559152

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559152.001.0001

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Piercing Sovereignty: A Rationale for International Jurisdiction Over Crimes that do not Cross International Borders *

Piercing Sovereignty: A Rationale for International Jurisdiction Over Crimes that do not Cross International Borders *

Chapter:
(p.461) 20 Piercing Sovereignty: A Rationale for International Jurisdiction Over Crimes that do not Cross International Borders*
Source:
Philosophical Foundations of Criminal Law
Author(s):

Christopher Heath Wellman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559152.003.0020

The establishment of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) — the first permanent international criminal court designed to help end the global culture of impunity — has rightly been welcomed as a landmark achievement. But while the creation of a court to prosecute those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression should be hailed as an enormous political accomplishment, it has also exposed a glaring theoretical lacuna. Put simply, the construction of international criminal law in general, and the ICC in particular, has revealed that philosophers of law, international lawyers, and political theorists have yet to provide anything like a satisfactory moral justification for a supranational legal system with the power and moral authority to pierce the sovereignty of existing states. This chapter invokes a rights forfeiture justification for punishment in order to build a compelling defence of state punishment, which, in turn, will pave the way toward a theoretically sound and practically informative rationale for international jurisdiction over crimes that do not cross international borders. If successful, this theory would not only furnish a much-needed moral justification for international criminal law, it would provide guidance to political leaders and international lawyers as they continue to develop and expand the ICC.

Keywords:   International Criminal Court, international criminal law, rights forfeiture, state punishment, international jurisdiction

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