Research Handbook on the Theory and Practice of International Lawmaking
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Research Handbook on the Theory and Practice of International Lawmaking

Edited by Catherine Brölmann and Yannick Radi

The global landscape has changed profoundly over the past decades. As a result, the account of the making of international law based on the traditional theory of sources is increasingly challenged. This Handbook offers a comprehensive guide to the theory and practice of international law‐making today. It takes stock at both the conceptual and the empirical level of the instruments, processes, and actors involved in the making of international law. The book contains essays by leading scholars on key aspects of international law-making and on law-making in the main issue areas, with an interest in classic processes as well as new developments and shades of normativity.
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Chapter 17: The making of international criminal law

Sergey Vasiliev


This Chapter provides a panoramic account of the making of international criminal law (ICL). The complexity of international criminal lawmaking is demonstrated by the norm profusion and growing specialization within this field, accommodating multiple lawmakers, sources, and enforcement frameworks. The efficacy of legality as the constraint on (substantive) lawmaking is qualified by ICL’s conflicted character as a methodological hybrid which pays allegiance to competing doctrines of sources and interpretation. Nor does legal formalism constitute a true fetter on law-ascertainment: it does not square with the role of, and relationship between, law-creating processes and law-determining agencies in ICL. The latter is ‘autopoietic law’, to the extent it has been legislated by judges at the interstices of the traditional lawmaking authority. The polycentrism of lawmaking opens ICL, whether judge or state-produced, to legitimacy challenges, relating to the motives that led states to design some ICL regimes as more autopoietic than the others.

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