Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law series
Edited by Ugo Mattei and John D. Haskell
Chapter 19: Ending impunity? Eliding political economy in international criminal law
International law has long been understood as a pacific force. Its scholars and practitioners share a faith in the field’s progress towards, in Hersch Lauterpacht’s words, ‘the subjection of the totality of international relations to the rule of law’. The project of achieving international peace through law was given new impetus following the First World War, the scale and destructiveness of that conflict being a catalyst to new institutional innovation. If the League of Nations failed in its mission of upholding international law ‘as the actual rule of conduct among Governments’, as its Covenant proclaimed,the peaceful resolution of conflict through law remained an ideal for which international lawyers strove. For many, it remains ‘an article of faith’ that the ‘march of progress of international law’ will go on.International law, on this view, is the most important instrument regulating the conduct of states so as to prevent war, or at the very least mitigate the worst effects of war, conflict and competition and create a peaceful international order.One area where such faith is especially strong is international criminal law (ICL).
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