Developments in the last two decades have produced a network of institutional mechanisms at the international level designed to pursue accountability for mass violations of human rights. As the relatively nascent field of International Justice evolves, its very foundations are the subject of great contestation. In this seminar we will explore some of the most important contemporary debates in International Justice, as a lens through which to consider the possible future of the field. We will engage the theoretical and normative terms of each debate in the context of concrete contemporary case studies that demonstrate the complexity and high stakes involved in pursuing the goals of International Justice. Our ultimate objective will be to reach some agreement on possible means of leveraging law and legal institutions to secure the future of an effective framework for International Justice.
The seminar will begin with a brief overview of the contemporary network of international institutions tasked with responding to mass atrocity. At this early stage we will identify the stated aims of International Justice, and develop an understanding of the functioning of the institutions that exist to achieve these aims. We will then explore in depth a limited number of contemporary debates, which all deeply implicate the means and ends of International Justice. These will include the debate regarding the interface between international peace and International Justice, with a particular focus on the relationship between the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the United Nations Security Council under the Rome Statute. We will consider the debate regarding the primacy of international criminal liability over other forms of accountability in the field of International Justice. We will also interrogate debates surrounding U.S. and African Union engagement with the International Justice framework. We will approach all debates through detailed case studies of the operation (or lack thereof) of International Justice mechanisms in Darfur, Libya, Syria, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda, among others.