The Legitimation of International Criminal Justice – Normative Openness as a Resource of Legitimacy for International Public Authority

The Cluster research project (which only began operation in early 2016) throws light on the practical legal phenomenon that there is no sign of a uniform public justification of international criminal justice. Although situated in the “space of justifications,” a characteristic feature of international criminal justice is the fluidity, plurality, diversity and particularity of the proposed justifications. In the context of the project, this is referred to as the “normative openness” of international criminal justice. But what is the appropriate response to this? Instead of supporting a unified justification or focusing on merely “managing” the possible normative conflicts, here the following position is defended: The aforementioned normative openness of international criminal justice is a legitimizing resource of international public authority, because it enables us to cope (better) with the “indeterminacy of rational justification” under real life conditions of normative fragmentation.

Starting from the research approach characteristic of the Cluster, the comparatively recent system of international criminal justice (to recall: the permanent International Criminal Court only began its operations in the early 2000s) was chosen as an instructive illustrative example for examining the formation, stabilization and crisis of a new legal system. In line with the program of Research Area 3, discussion focused on the competition and also the conflict between different normative frames of reference within a legal system that is not yet normatively closed by path dependencies, uniform preconceptions or widely shared ideologies.

The research project draws upon the entire research repertoire available to legal studies. The debate over the constitutionalization of international law, findings in social science (especially concerning the effect of ambiguous normative regimes) and political philosophy (in particular regarding how to deal with non-ideal contexts of justification), among other things, are included in an interdisciplinary exchange. A workshop is planned for late 2017 at which the main research results will be presented. The Cluster Lecture Series entitled “Criminal Justice between Purism and Plurality,” organized for the summer semester 2017, is a spin-off of the research project.

The approach of the research project has in essence proved his worth. The concept of “normative openness” is unique and thus has greater differentiation potential as a descriptive term than the overused terms “pluralism” and “diversity.” In addition, it shows that not only international but also national criminal justice is (at least latently) marked by its normative openness. When it comes to evaluating normative openness, it is crucial that under the empirical conditions of a normatively fragmented everyday reality there is little prospect of an agreement being reached on a particular orientation of a given criminal justice order. In the future, therefore, it must be shown how free and equal citizens can cope with the axiological irreconcilability of their normative positions in order to organize the normative plurality and diversity of (international or national) criminal justice systems along legitimate lines.

The central theses of the project are published as:

Burchard, Christoph: "Die normative Offenheit der Strafrechtspflege: Eine beschreibende Annäherung“, in: Saliger et al. (eds.): Festschrift für Ulfrid Neumann, 2017.

The most important events of the project were:

Workshop: Normative Openness – A novel concept to analyze and legitimize International Criminal Justice, winter 2017.

Presentation: "Openness and Dialogue as a Normative Foundation for the Justification of International Public Authority” (by project member Dusan Backonja), 3rd Seminar of the International Network of Doctoral Studies in Law: The Role of Dialogue in the Law Creation and Law Application Process, University Łódź, Łódź, Poland, March 9, 2017.

Presentation: "The Legitimacy of International Criminal Justice – Normative Openness as a Resource of Legitimacy for International Public Authority” (by project member Dusan Backonja), 4th Annual International Criminal Law Workshop The Politics of International Criminal Law, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, September 15, 2016.

 

 

People in this project:

    • Schichmann, Julia (former member) | Profile
  • Project director / contact
    • Burchard, Christoph, Prof. Dr. | Profile
  • Project members

Publications of this project:


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