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Gideon Boas and Pascale Chifflet

International criminal justice describes the response of the international community to mass atrocity. How we respond to war, to the rupture of society and to systematized murder and persecution is at the heart of the issue. Which forms of transitional justice we respond with, and how our goals are best achieved, are important questions. But international criminal justice is about more than responses. How do we learn from history or, sometimes, fail to do so? Can we use our understanding of human psychology to better respond to mass atrocity, or better, to prevent it or react to address it sooner? What of the sociological elements that are infused in our response to heinous international crimes; how do these affect our understanding and practice of international criminal justice? Key words: international; criminal; justice; community; atrocity

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Gideon Boas and Pascale Chifflet

The story of humanity is a story of violence. It is only in recent times, after two wars of unsurpassed devastation, that the human race has developed international institutions dedicated to the maintenance of international peace and security. Despite the persistence of numerous conflicts since 1945, there appear to be signs of progress. The development of modern international criminal justice, especially since the end of the Cold War, is often touted as one of the markers of progress towards a more humane world. But it is far from a new concept. With roots deep in history and across cultures, international criminal justice is more than a modern Eurocentric preoccupation. Key words: international; criminal; justice; history; war; ancient.

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Gideon Boas and Pascale Chifflet

Politics is deeply entrenched in the discipline of international criminal justice, as it is in all law. The role politics plays in influencing the United Nations Security Council’s determination of which global conflicts in which to intervene and similarly, which countries to ignore is but one example. Political responses to international criminal justice differ, and models of diplomacy, humanitarian intervention, and the responsibility to protect doctrine are considered, as are other retributive models culminating in the creation of the International Criminal Court. Ultimately, to talk about the politics in the context of international criminal justice is trite; rather it is a question not of whether politics but what kind of politics. Key words: politics; law; UN; cosmopolitan; justice.

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Gideon Boas and Pascale Chifflet

Psychological theory provides a useful lens through which to examine the conditions leading to mass atrocity as well as to inform and evaluate the international community’s responses. Broadening the scope of inquiry beyond what is traditionally considered the realm of international criminal justice, psychology literature helps to examine responses to the pervading question one might ask in the aftermath of mass atrocity: how and why did it happen? Some answers are found through a situational analysis of the processes and impact of dichotomization, dehumanization, destruction and denial and mass atrocity may be conceptualized at a societal level through the prism of identity. Key words: psychology; dehumanization; atrocity; disposition; identity; storytelling.

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Gideon Boas and Pascale Chifflet

Terrorism, in its various forms, has always posed a particular challenge to the international community. However, the terrorist attacks perpetrated in New York, Bali, Madrid, London, Mumbai, and more recently Paris, Beirut, Istanbul, Brussels and Nice have violently highlighted the ever-present need for an effective rule of law-based response to the threat of terrorism that conforms with the fundamental norms of international criminal justice. Some of the challenges presented by terrorism are found in its lack of an objective definition — a particular problem given that the occurrence of a terrorist act gives rise to state obligations at international law. More insidious are the challenges posed by responses to terrorism. State practice reveals a temptation to meet the heinous and violent nature of terrorism with an equally hardline response. Such responses have often ignored fundamental normative principles such as the rule of law, basic criminal process rights and human rights ideals. This practice has created grave challenges for the legitimacy and coherency of international criminal justice, and has strained the international normative legal framework — the very bedrock upon which international law is based. Key words: terror; terrorism; rule of law; definition; force.

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Gideon Boas and Pascale Chifflet

Transitioning societies face a difficult set of choices in responding to atrocities committed by previous regimes. As former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa Richard Goldstone notes, the response to past crimes by transitioning societies may be ‘crucial to the prospects of future peace and prosperity’. Transitional justice demands a multifaceted approach that balances a series of potentially conflicting imperatives. The purpose of this chapter is to examine prominent responses to atrocities by transitioning societies, contrasting retributive and restorative approaches to delivering transitional justice. Key words: transition; justice; society; retributive; restorative.

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Gideon Boas and Pascale Chifflet

International criminal justice works within a complex and imperfect framework. How therefore are we to perceive and measure the idea of hope? Is it by idealistic ‘transcendent legalism’, or cynical ‘utopian politics’? It is perhaps more important to pose the questions than it is to settle on the answers. This is in part because, as this book explores, none of the various models or perspectives on justice for atrocity are perfect. Retribution, restoration and localized community models of justice all succeed and fail victims and victimized communities, as they succeed and fail accused, the international community and more directly affected states. Whether one examines international criminal justice through the lens of history, politics or psychology, whether one examines it through the prism of transitioning society, the defined crimes that encapsulate international criminal justice, or outliers like terror and terrorism, making justice a priority of the international community is measurably significant. Key words: hope; idealism; impunity; healing; justice.

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Gideon Boas and Pascale Chifflet

This book explores crucial themes in international criminal justice. It starts by answering the searching question: what is international criminal justice? The book then considers the role and impact of politics, history, psychology, terrorism, transitioning society, and even the idea of hope, and the relationship of these themes with how we understand international criminal justice. While addressing some crucial legal questions, International Criminal Justice goes further, drawing on a range of multi-disciplinary thinking.
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Matthias Herdegen

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Matthias Herdegen