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The Philosophical Foundations of Extraterritorial Punishment$
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Alejandro Chehtman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199603404

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603404.001.0001

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A Jurisdictional Theory of International Crimes

A Jurisdictional Theory of International Crimes

(p.87) 4 A Jurisdictional Theory of International Crimes
The Philosophical Foundations of Extraterritorial Punishment

Alejandro Chehtman

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a jurisdictional theory of international crimes. It argues that the defining feature of the concept of an international crime is that it warrants conferring upon at least some extraterritorial authority the power to punish their perpetrators. It critically examines the leading arguments available in the literature, i.e., piracy-based explanations and the view of international crimes as harming humanity as a whole, and submits that they ultimately fail to account for their specific jurisdictional regime. This is mainly because these arguments are entirely unrelated to the reasons that justify meting out legal punishment to offenders in the first place. By contrast, the argument provided in Chapter 2 allows us to explain precisely this normative implication for standard cases of international crimes. The chapter also considers certain cases of war crimes and different varieties of terrorism to assess the explanatory potential of the view hereby endorsed. It concludes by examining the general objection put forward in the literature that a plausible theory of international criminal justice does not need an account of international crimes.

Keywords:   crimes against humanity, war crimes, piracy, international crimes, genocide, terrorism, state terrorism, jurisdiction, extraterritoriality

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