Friday, October 2, 2015

Conference: The Missing Criminology of International Criminal Law: From Doctrine to Practice

Today, October 2, 2015, iCourts will host a conference on "The Missing Criminology of International Criminal Law: From Doctrine to Practice," in Copenhagen. The program is here. Here's the idea:

The conference will bring together scholars of international criminal law, criminologists and practitioners in an attempt to define the parameters of the nascent field of inquiry – the criminology of mass atrocities. International criminal law was born out of political consensus reached in the aftermath of the Second World War. The idea to set up international tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo was highly controversial due to the existing legal vacuum at that time. The horrendous nature of crimes and the sentiment that something needs to be done about the perpetrators served as a push for the development of the discipline. The law eventually caught up with politics - the 1990’s saw the proliferation of international and hybrid tribunals, while the 2000’s witnessed the creation of a permanent international criminal law institution – the International Criminal Court. The jurisprudence emanating from these courts significantly expanded the body of international law.

What is still missing from the picture is the study of international criminality. Criminology, which occupies itself with causes of offending and societal responses to it, is not on the agenda of actors responsible for advancing international justice. Paradoxically, while domestic policy makers benefit from science when they craft responses to different types of crimes, advocates of international criminal law are working in the absence of reliable facts and theories. The conference will lay down foundations for the future development of the discipline. In particular, it will explore the points of intersection between established criminological theories and international offending. The aim is to create bridges where they can be created and identify gaps to be further explored by international criminologists.

Panel 1 explores definitional aspects of international crimes. Based on which criteria do we select crimes that fall within the scope of international criminology? How do we define this new discipline? What is the capacity of international criminal law to deal with mass criminality? Panel 2 focuses on causes of international offending. Which theories may assist in explaining the type of criminality at hand? Does the context of mass atrocities distorts the idea of deviance, equating it, at times, with wrongful obedience? Panel 3 connects theoretical underpinnings of criminology with the practical issues faced by international criminal justice practitioners and scholars. What is the added value of developing international criminology? To what extent do we need to account for cultural and regional diversity in developing criminology of international criminal law?