Judging in the Name of Humanity: International Criminal Tribunals and the Representation of a Global Public

L.D.A. Corrias, G.M. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article, we look at ways in which international criminal tribunals, notably the International Criminal Tribunal for the formerYugoslavia and the International Criminal Court, purport to do justice in the name of humanity. The exercises of justice in the name of humanity, as we observe them here, also have the effect of supporting the institutional powers of international criminal tribunals. To do so, however, courts must give form to the idea of humanity on which they rely. We argue that international criminal tribunals, in these instances, act as representatives of humanity understood as a global public. But representation and identification of a global public prove to be two sides of the same coin, reflecting a paradox of representation. This paradox, as it is manifest by international criminal tribunals, is situated within the context of Western political culture. Accordingly, proceeding from Hobbes through to ideas of contemporary phenomenology, we explore representation as a creative act: in representing humanity as a whole, international criminal tribunals engage in a constitutive act by which they embody and thereby establish that which they purport to represent. Finally, we investigate this process in terms of self-assertion and community making, done for the purposes of realizing and channelling the potential power of collectivity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Criminal Justice
Early online date18 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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