The International Criminal Court (ICC) is arguably the most important institution in the evolution of attempts to prosecute violators of international humanitarian law. For critics of the Court, it is either (a) an oppressive, neo-colonial tool or (b) completely irrelevant. For its advocates, the Court is part of a broader trend of events and movements that serve primarily to undermine Westphalian state sovereignty. The main aim of this presentation is to challenge realist critiques of the Court, as they pertain to broader interpretations of order in the international system, while also offering a sobering assessment of cosmopolitan or universalist understandings of order as they relate to the Court. Instead, it will be argued here that the actions of the ICC, while contributing to international society, contribute to a Vattelian (pluralist) international society, albeit one underpinned by narrow humanitarian concerns.
Chair: Hugo Slim