Imagining the International
Crime, Justice, and the Promise of Community
Nesam McMillan



The Ideas of “International” Crime and Justice

IN HIS OPENING STATEMENT AS CHIEF PROSECUTOR at the Nuremberg trials, Robert Jackson proclaimed that “the privilege of opening the first trial in history for crimes against the peace of the world imposes a grave responsibility. The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated.”1 Through these poignant words, Jackson sought to underscore the broader significance of the suffering inflicted by Nazi Germany. It was so abhorrent, he explained, that it constituted an offense not only against its direct victims but also against civilization as a whole. Over sixty years later, at the first trial at the permanent International Criminal Court, Benjamin Ferencz expressed a similar sentiment. Referring to his own Nuremberg address, he claimed that “once again, ‘the case we present is a plea of humanity to law’. . . . ​Let the voice and the verdict of this esteemed global court now speak for the awakened conscience of the world.”2 Although Jackson and Ferencz drew on different generalized subjectivities (“civilization,” “humanity,” and “the world”), their claim was the same: that certain harms are of wider import, affecting and offending against a broader international constituency and requiring a global response.

The notion that certain events and categories of harm are of broader, global significance is now commonplace. From campaigns such as Stop Rape Now, which seeks to promote global condemnation of sexual violence in situations of war, to Save Darfur, which sought to spark international action in response to the atrocities committed in Darfur, there is now a sense that particular harms should be of concern to a general global community.3 Meanwhile, particular atrocities are known in shorthand as “Rwanda” or “the Holocaust” and widely understood as devastating international events that have significance beyond their cultural and geographic specificities.4 Specific crimes, although committed against certain people in certain places at certain times, are now seen to constitute “crimes so serious that they are the concern not only of their victims, survivors or the state in question, but of humanity as a whole.”5 And there are now specifically international courts and tribunals tasked with the prosecution and judgment of those responsible for such crimes. A permanent International Criminal Court sits in The Hague, framed by advocates such as Ferencz as being able to “speak for the awakened conscience of the world.”

This book critically engages with these ideas of distinctly international crime and distinctly international justice and interrogates their ethical and relational effects. It focuses on two main concerns. First, it examines how (that is, on what grounds) certain forms of crime and justice are figured as international and distinctive, of broader global import and status. I demonstrate how these forms of crime and justice (and their international character) are portrayed in socio-legal representation. Second, this book explores the ethical and relational effects of dominant approaches to international crime and justice by interrogating what subjectivities and communities they bring into being and how they make it possible to conceptualize, respond, and relate to suffering and injustice in the world. Through a focus on three case studies—post hoc responses to the now global event of the Rwandan genocide; the International Law Commission’s debates regarding the definition of crimes against the peace and security of mankind (problematically gendered terminology); and dominant representations of international criminal justice—I demonstrate the specific claims to global character and significance that are made in concrete circumstances and the very particular modes of understanding global interconnection that are enabled, and foreclosed, through dominant approaches to what constitutes a distinctively international crime or mode of justice.

My interest is thus in the ethical and relational significance of these ideas of distinctly international crime and international justice and the sense of global interconnection with which they are associated. I argue that the sentiment that certain experiences of harm concern the whole of humanity or threaten “civilization” has the potential to connect people and communities—cognitively, emotionally, and materially—with the suffering of others. It serves to situate these harms as globally and historically significant, affecting and implicating “us” all. In this way, the productive framing of particular forms of crime and justice as somehow worldly or international in character can foster a sense of ethical proximity to suffering that might otherwise be geographically distant—making it feel closer and more material to others elsewhere.6 Claims of the international character of certain harms, such as the Rwandan genocide or the Holocaust, situate them as somehow globally located and resonant: as events in broader international social and legal history whose significance extends beyond their immediate cultural, political, and geographical context.7 As international events, they are seen to affect and implicate a global “we,” rather than their significance being confined to their geographically, culturally, and socially immediate communities. Claims of internationality can also enable the portrayal of certain geographically, historically, and politically located institutions—like the permanent International Criminal Court—as intrinsically worldly or cosmopolitan in character, somehow transcending their particularities and being globally representative and accessible. At a time of broader concern in scholarship and practice with the potential indifference of Western populations to the “distant suffering” of geographically far others,8 ideas of international crime and justice seem to enable a sense of ethical proximity and humanitarian connection that transcends physical space.

As I will show in this book, these are indeed the sorts of qualities that are associated with notions of international crime and international justice. As the quotes from Jackson and Ferencz above demonstrate, the concepts of international crime and justice are powerful ideas associated with a rich and vivid imagery of heinous suffering and an injured humanity seized to act. International crimes are portrayed as crimes that are of “concern to the international community as a whole,” that “deeply shock the conscience of humanity,” and that “threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world.”9 Meanwhile, international criminal justice is portrayed as serving “the cause of all humanity,” a progressive and enlightened global movement dedicated to the redress of harm and human suffering.10 The work of identifying, prosecuting, and punishing individual perpetrators for international crime is depicted as a “global fight,” a “global justice” project that seeks to “bring justice to victims.”11 Rather than simply being seen as another field of positive law—law that is valid and binding because it has been legislated so—international criminal justice is understood to symbolize something more.12 International justice is described by advocates as a “dream” that has been realized and as an evolving global enterprise that is currently invested with much hope and “faith.”13 Importantly, given the focus of this book, international criminal justice is currently framed as inherently humanitarian in nature and operation—an ethical enterprise that is dedicated to the acknowledgment and redress of suffering everywhere and is undertaken in the name of the victims of mass harm.14

Yet the ethical possibilities inherent in notions of international crime and international justice depend on the nature and form of dominant approaches to them. Postcolonial and anticolonial theorists have focused attention on the problematic and unethical forms of international relations that have been inaugurated through purportedly inclusive and humanitarian notions of a “common humanity” or global community.15 Claims to a universal subjectivity have been powerfully used to deny the voice of some and downplay the diversity of lived experiences in and understandings of the world.16 Meanwhile, the idea of “humanity” was also a key and legitimating referent in the global project that preceded international criminal justice: the colonial civilizing mission. The notion of humanity was invoked to envision a hierarchy of peoples across the world and justify the exploitation and tutelage of non-Western people and communities.17 Meanwhile, throughout history attempts to represent and relate to the lives and cultures of others and enact a sense of global responsibility for injustice elsewhere have been grounded in hierarchical and culturally discriminatory images of the West as agentic, heroic, and superior—in contrast to the image of the non-West as passive, victimized, and barbaric.18

In this book, I take seriously the humanitarian claims associated with international crime and international justice and consider what ways they make it possible to apprehend suffering and violence around the world and understand its broader significance for others. Yet I also regard contemporary claims to global community to be forever shaped by the divisive and discriminatory colonial enterprise that came before them, which was also an internationally oriented project that envisioned an interconnected world.19 As a foundational, globally focused endeavor, past colonial practices have shaped present geographies and legalities and modes of international relation.20 As Ann Laura Stoler, Charlotte Mertens, Antony Anghie, and others have shown, colonial discourses, arrangements, and practices continue to exert “force” in the present, meaning that colonialism is as much an active presence in contemporary life as an enduring legacy.21 Anghie’s work in particular demonstrates how colonialism was both “central to the development of international law” and continues to shape contemporary international institutions and practices.22 I am also attentive to the ethical implications of attempting to found a global community and claim humanitarian intention through processes of criminalization, prosecution, and punishment. As criminologists and sociologists have emphasized, law provides a particular and limited way of relating to suffering, and criminalization is an inherently punitive practice that should not be assumed to be ethical.23 The production of community through crime and justice resonates just as much with the harsh law and order policies currently popular in many Western countries as with sentiments of benevolent and altruistic humanitarian practice. Meanwhile, a focus on the criminalization and punishment of so-called international crimes remains open to the same critiques leveled at dominant approaches to criminalization in domestic contexts—namely, that such a focus may not adequately acknowledge the underlying causes of harm or may even tend to obfuscate them.24

Hence, Imagining the International interrogates exactly how international crime and justice are configured and conceptualized. Through a close reading of contemporary and archival texts, I provide a detailed picture of how notions of international crime and justice are given content in practice. I demonstrate how international crime and international justice are both figured as distinctive and privileged, despite persisting ambiguity and debates about exactly what makes them “international” or markedly different from other forms of crime and justice (Chapters 1, 3, and 4). Regarding international crime, I show how it is consistently defined as a higher scale phenomenon—constructed as the most serious of all offenses (in an implied hierarchy of harms); as large-scale, mass harm; and as crime affecting generalized states and subjectivities, such as humanity or the peace and security of the world (Chapter 3). Similarly, international criminal justice is portrayed as higher and better than national justice, as an idealized form of best-practice redress (Chapter 4). Indeed, I contend that distinctly international justice is defined almost exclusively through its contrast with national justice and localized harm. It is only through this contrast that international justice emerges as unique and inherently transcendent, defined against the culture, politics, history, and even geography associated with the national and local spheres.25

Furthermore, this book draws out the ethical and relational potentiality of dominant understandings of international crime and international justice. I contend that ideas of international crime (as crimes against all of humanity that transcend national borders) and of international justice (as representing humanity and its interests in the face of systematic mass harm) productively imagine an interconnected social world. I demonstrate how these ideas produce a sense of a new social and legal sphere—the international—in which crime can be committed; justice can be dispensed; and, importantly, community can be found. Thus, far from being secondary considerations to the actual practice of international criminal justice, dominant ideas of international crime and justice actively write space and subjectivity, figuring a global community and an international sphere in which people around the world are connected through their shared repudiation of internationalized crimes (see Chapter 1). From this perspective, events and experiences of international crime are seen to constitute an assault against humanity as a whole and offer an opportunity for an international community to be visualized through its antithesis (inhumanity)—as well as, in the words of Alison Young, its expulsion.26

However, throughout the book I also offer a critique of dominant approaches to international crime and justice. This critique has three main strands. First, I argue that dominant approaches to international crime and justice serve to create ethical and relational distance between those who suffer and those who do not, at any given moment in time.27 That is, when portrayed through a scalar frame as “the top of the hierarchy” of harms, the phenomenon of international crime is spectacularized as “especially horrible, cruel, savage and barbarous.”28 Although such representations appear to do justice to the devastating nature of international crimes, they also serve to exceptionalize these harms, disconnecting them from the lived and the everyday. International crime is conceptualized as the “head of the parade of the hideous monstrosities”, perpetrated by hostis humani generis (“enemies of mankind”) and victims are regarded to have experienced the worst of the worst.29 As a consequence, it arguably becomes more difficult for external parties to see the lives of victims, survivors, and perpetrators of internationalized crime as multifaceted and ultimately livable.30 Furthermore, such frameworks of understanding downplay the complex individual, social, and structural dynamics of events of genocide and mass harm (in which, for example, perpetrators and victims might be the same people).

Moreover, this scalar approach to international crime also entails a sort of “zooming out,” whereby such injustice is generalized as affecting groups or populations, the broader international community, and global peace and security. In such statements, the international significance of certain crimes is not found in the local and lived—that is, it is not understood as emanating from the significance of particular lives, people, and their experiences.31 As one special rapporteur explains, “if such a crime affects the individual, it does so indirectly.”32 In this way, rather than enabling concrete, specific, and engaged connections between peoples across the world, I show how the claim that particular events of harm have an international character in fact obstructs such connections. A similar dynamic also marks dominant approaches to international criminal justice, whose distinctive and international character is literally grounded in the claim that it is inherently and irreducibly separate from the particularity of life on the ground. Through its contrast with national justice and local suffering—in its portrayal as “an international rather than national or local court” that is “not on the doorstep of those most affected by the cases it hears”—international criminal justice is figured as constitutively other to life as it is lived throughout the world.33 In this way, it is also fundamentally disconnected from any particular context or community, particularly individuals and communities that have experienced international crime.34

In a second strand of critique, I contend that such dominant understandings of international crime and justice have a power dynamic. Notions of international crime, for example, rely on an appropriation, whereby a harm or event becomes international through its refiguring as somehow belonging elsewhere and to others.35 Part of becoming international (or being internationalized) involves the reconceptualization of very particular injuries that are experienced by particular communities and individuals as belonging to others (as crimes against humanity as a whole) and existing elsewhere (as contravening an international order). Meanwhile, defining international criminal justice as constitutively separate from the rest of the world serves to instantiate it as its own subject, with its own interests. Representations of international crime and justice as consistently higher, better, worse, or more important than national crime and justice serve to privilege international forms of harm and justice as particularly special, significant, and worthy of support. And this valorization of international crime and justice affords these ideas with significant social, legal, and political power (authorizing the establishment of tailored justice institutions, as well as areas of scholarship and professional expertise)36 and leads to their exclusivity and regulation—for example, in claims that the genocide label should not be used too expansively.

Finally, a third intervention of this book is, therefore, to query the social, political, and legal valorization of international crime and international justice. For while it may be important to retain a sense of the qualitative characteristics of crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes and to support the potential utility of justice processes suited to them, I am not convinced that there is a need to declare these harms and initiatives to be somehow better or more important than others.37 This is emphatically not to deny the broader significance of suffering in the world or the responsibility of others regarding it. Rather, my concern is with how the valorization of ideas of international crime and justice can serve to reinforce their disconnect with the everyday and the lived—thus arguably militating against the forms of ethical human connection with which they are associated. The valorization of certain harm can also, in practice, be used to downplay the wider import of other (noninternationalized) harm.

Overall, then, I argue that there are significant, perhaps insurmountable, problems with the very ideas of international crime and justice. It is not just that these ideals are not properly realized in practice due to political interests or legal deficiencies. These very ideas are captivating and affectively resonant, but also concerning and ethically problematic. This relatively fundamental critique of the ideas of international crime and justice is not one I expected to make when I started this research, and it is one that sits uncomfortably with the dominant sense that the categories of international crime and justice—content aside—give voice to something crucial and incontestable. Yet my aim in critiquing both the content of these categories and their social, legal, and political valorization in this way is to raise the possibility of alternative and truly radical modes of cross-cultural engagement.38 For me, such modes of engagement might be more grounded in contextual relations between particular peoples and communities. They might also be better placed to both recognize and respect the specificity and significance of those distinct individuals and communities who have experienced international crime and their centrality to any justice-based collaboration. In this respect, I hope that my discussion complements the call from other scholars to refocus attention on the specific and the lived and on (in Evans’s words) “lives lived with law on the ground.”39

My book is also aligned with interdisciplinary scholarship that has refused to take the discourses and practices of humanitarianism at face value, instead demonstrating their proclivity to objectify, dehumanize, and create social and relational distance between external parties and those who suffer, as well as to connect people across the world.40 This body of work also focuses on how experiences of harm and suffering are culturally represented and socially, historically, and politically responded to, and it emphasizes—as I do here—the significance of how suffering is depicted to the ethics, politics, and effects of different modes of engagement with it.

I bring this body of work together with established analyses and critiques of international law and international criminal justice specifically.41 My book complements the existing emphasis on the problematic production of international justice as divorced from the local;42 purportedly apolitical, yet intrinsically political in nature and effect;43 allegedly universal, yet culturally particular;44 legitimated through the image of the victim, yet not always responsive to the needs and wishes of those individuals affected by international crime;45 and, increasingly, a project that is self-interested and invested in its own power.46 Some of this work is concerned, as I am, with international criminal justice as a representational project and with analyzing its productive effects as well as how it is discussed and portrayed.47 In joining these critiques, this book seeks to clarify the salience of the ideas of international crime and justice to any evaluation of the ethics and desirability of this field of discourse and practice. It also positions international criminal justice as an inherently discursive project and offers a close reflection on both the ethical and relational limits and potentials of the ideas of international crime and justice, interrogating how (on what terms) they make it possible to understand, connect with, and respond to suffering in the world.

However, my work is distinctly interdisciplinary in the sense that—as indicated in the book’s conclusion—I have no intrinsic commitment to the overriding importance of ideas and practices of international crime and justice. The analysis I offer is instead criminological in orientation, given my interest in the way categories of crime and justice function and my ultimate lack of faith in the processes of criminalization and criminal justice as proper avenues to pursue and enact a sense of transnational community. In their belated engagement with international crime and justice, some criminologists have cautioned against the expansion of the concepts of legality and illegality in the international sphere, given the limited and inherently punitive nature of those concepts and practices.48 Despite the common demarcation between national and international crime and justice, criminologists and others have begun to connect discussions of local and international criminal justice in order to better evaluate the merits (or otherwise) of the current push toward criminalization in the latter.49 To add to this emerging criminological and critical legal body of work, this book provides an analysis that emphasizes the significance of representations and ideas of international crime and justice to any consideration of the ethics and politics of international criminal justice, connecting existing criminological thought with critical humanitarianism scholarship (discussed above).

Imagining the International: A Cultural Approach

What are international crimes, and what is international criminal justice? What makes a certain form of crime and justice distinctively international, and what does its internationality signify? These are some of the questions that are answered in this book. However, given the powerful and yet often elusive nature of notions of the global and the international, it seems important to begin by tying them down and specifying my particular approach to understanding and exploring them.

First, I consider ideas of international crime and justice—like crime and justice more generally—to be socially, politically, historically, and legally located and produced. Notions of international crime and justice are constructed, contested, and sociopolitically negotiated. In >Chapter 3, which focuses on definitions of international crime, I discuss attempts by the International Law Commission to construct an authoritative definition of international crime (or what the commission refers to, in highly gendered language, as “crimes against the peace and security of mankind”).50 I also discuss how the idea of international crime is contested: there is no one definition of international crime, and approaches have shifted across time and space. Although the current focus is on three to four core international crimes (namely, genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression), past approaches have been more expansive, regarding crimes against the environment or the crime of colonial domination as key international crimes. The category of international crime, as well as what behavior is placed in this category, is thus a product of sociopolitical processes of criminalization. As Nils Christie has argued, “acts are not, they become,” underscoring the importance of asking “what are the social conditions that encourage or prevent giving . . . ​acts the meaning of being crime?”51 Justice is also a term that has no consensual and fixed definition, and the very attempt to position a single understanding of what justice is (namely, individualistic, legalist, and retributive justice) as international criminal justice has been criticized for occluding the diversity of approaches to what justice might look like in different places and at different times.52

Second, and importantly, in interrogating the socio-legal construction of distinctively international crime and justice, my analysis does not proceed from a fixed or preexisting idea of what internationality means or what the international is; nor from a commitment to a particular philosophy of internationalism, humanism, cosmopolitanism, or globalism, or from a belief that certain forms of harm and justice are (or should be regarded as) inherently international.53 This is largely because I am interested in how these privileged, idealized, and ethically and affectively moving notions of international crime and international justice are actually made to mean, rather than in pursuing a normative line of argument about what they should mean. Nor am I focused, like others such as Anthea Roberts, on the empirical universality of international law and demonstrating its practical variability in different contexts.54 Rather, my analysis is concerned with the very construction of internationality and is methodologically inductive: I consider how the internationality (or even sometimes just the distinctiveness) of international crime and justice is figured through representation. I tend to also refer to the internationality or the distinctiveness of international crime and justice interchangeably for two main reasons: first, because internationality is the term used to characterize these forms of crime and justice as special and distinguish them as different from other (national and local) forms of crime and justice; and second, because in practice dominant depictions of international crime and justice seem to engage with how and why they are special or distinctive and how and why they are international as meaning the same thing (sometimes with a focus on the former). I am also flexible in my terminology, as my focus is less on how these forms of crime and justice are literally named, and more on charting and unpacking the meanings attributed to those categories of harm that are portrayed as somehow distinctive and special and whose uniqueness is somehow linked to claims of their worldliness or broader significance. When approached in this broader sense, international crimes are also referred to—elsewhere and in this book—as crimes against humanity or against the peace and security of humankind, and distinctively international justice is also referred to as global justice.

I thus conceptualize notions of international crime and justice as cultural products and understand their distinctive or international character to be an attribute that is actively negotiated through social, legal, and political processes of meaning making. On this view, the construction of a particular phenomenon as distinctively global or international in character is a social, legal, and political act—one that relies on dominant discourses about internationality and productively affirms certain definitions of what internationality does, and should, mean. My conception of internationality as a cultural construct is indebted to the insightful anthropological work of Liisa Malkki on societal and political understandings of internationalism.55 In her work on “imagining the international,” she charts and critically interrogates diverse social and cultural representations of the international and internationalism, drawing out some of the ways in which they are given content. Her focus is primarily on internationalism, which she conceptualizes as a “transnational cultural form for imagining and ordering difference among people, and as a moralizing discursive practice”56—a definition that testifies to the contemporary significance of notions of the international as a lens through which to approach transnational social relations, as well as alluding to some of its limits. Like me, Malkki critiques modes of imagining global community that serve to generalize and gloss over important human differences and specificities, and she calls for forms of solidarity that can be attentive to and grounded in difference. Her work, like that of other anthropologists such as Ilana Feldman, importantly establishes ideas of internationality as social, political, and cultural constructs, directing attention to the importance of investigating “how universals are made.”57

My focus in this book, however, is not on the construction of internationality or the international per se, but on socio-legal understandings of international crime and international justice and their distinctiveness. Thus, I do not provide a stand-alone analysis of what internationality could and should mean or develop a typology that clearly fixes and delineates the relative meaning of the international as opposed to the global, universal, or transnational. What I do provide is a detailed and substantiated account of how the quality or attribute of internationality is made to mean, in an internally consistent way, in the context of notions of international crime and justice (as associated, for example, with scalar height, social distance, and distinct places and professions). Ultimately, I offer an account of internationality as a quality that is multiply configured—subjectively, spatially, historically, socially, and legally.58 As it is imagined in and through representations of international crime and justice, internationality is an attribute associated with particular peoples and places. It is configured in ways similar to colonial approaches to internationality, as well as currently ascendant mainstream approaches. And it is declared through legal acts as well as social practices.

In particular, in relation to international crime and justice, I draw out a spatial dynamic to contemporary approaches to internationality. I am influenced in this respect by the work of cultural geographers, legal theorists, and others who have underscored the centrality of spatial ideas to the imagination of the world and of global relations.59 Notions of international crime and justice rely on spatial ideas (scale; height; a new international level), as well as productively imagining new social and relational space (a community of humanity and a higher international legal sphere). I also show how the construction of an event as international is an inherently spatializing move. Within current modes of understanding, to be apprehended as distinctively international, an event, crime, or form of justice must be resituated elsewhere, among other more generalized and abstracted social and geographic contexts. It must be reconceptualized as a crime against humanity unfolding in broader legal and social history, contravening an international legal order, and offending against an international community. Internationalization thus requires, as Annelise Riles argues, that those directly affected by specific harms and events have to understand them as “occurring also on an international plane.”60 It is in this way that configuring crime and justice as international is a dynamic sociopolitical process that entails various intersecting shifts in subjectivity, geography, and signification. As such, an attentiveness to the spatiality of notions of international crime and justice is crucial to appreciating how these ideas create social and relational distance between those most affected by international crime and the (separate) international community and legal order that act in their name.61

The Power and Productivity of International Imaginings

In no way does a focus on international crime, international justice, and internationality as cultural constructs suggest that these concepts are meaningless. To the contrary, as I have emphasized, notions of international crime and justice are often valorized and imbued with great cultural significance, and they are socially, politically, and legally consequential and powerful ideas. More broadly, the very notion of internationality is also idealized. Despite the material inequalities and new forms of coercive and discriminatory power produced through processes of globalization,62 there is still a sense of emancipatory politics and sociality associated with ideas of the international and the global. My point is not to argue that globalization has been a positive or negative development but to highlight the enduring romanticization of the international, despite scholars’ and practitioners’ efforts to emphasize its inequalities and injustices. As Riles notes, the international is conceptualized as an “utopian space,” and I have already noted the sense of humanitarianism and progress associated with the establishment of forms of international crime and justice.63 Furthermore, claims to represent the international, or that a crime is internationally significant, are powerful: they do things, they have effects. They can attract social, political, and legal attention and resources—as occurred, for example, in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. They can also work to authorize forms of coercive intervention, such as in cases of “humanitarian” military intervention or when the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court is mandated by the United Nations Security Council, despite a particular nation’s lack of consent. Those who speak in the name of the international or of “humanity” therefore wield significant power.64 Thus, recognizing the constructed and indeterminate nature of these terms is not equivalent to suggesting that they have no meaning or force. Rather, it highlights the salience of exactly how they are given meaning in light of their power and significance. This is a task made more pressing by the elusiveness of their use in everyday practice, where they are invoked in a variety of ways, and their definition is frequently taken for granted rather than openly discussed.65

Understandings of international crime and international justice are also important because they are productive. They are the embodiment of social, political, and legal negotiations about what kinds of suffering matter and what a commitment to globally engaged justice might involve. However, they also produce meaning themselves, shaping which events of harm come to external attention, which are seen to be important, and who and what they are seen to affect and implicate. Representations of international crime and justice determine the vectors for thinking about global significance and have consequences for how the world and the relations between people within it are conceptualized. Like broader theories of internationalism, cosmopolitanism, universalism, humanism, and globalism, notions of international crime and justice are implicated in the intellectual work of imagining an interconnected world and providing some grounds upon which global interrelation might be based. Ideas of international crime and justice, in particular, provide an image of a global sphere and constituency defined by their repudiation and redress of crime. As I argue in Chapter 1, they construct the international as a crimino-legal sphere, in which human interconnection is grounded in the spectacle of extreme suffering as well as a vision of a broader community that is touched or threatened by such criminality and committed to address it.

In addition to their being powerful and productive, ideas of international crime and justice are also important because they currently constitute a globally ascendant framework for thinking about injustice in the world and global responsibility for it.66 As Ann Sagan notes, there is now an emphasis on perceiving experiences of injury across the world as legally proscribed crimes (rather than simply injustices and harms), while the language of criminality and illegality is frequently invoked to delegitimize certain acts—from the Iraq War and the conflict in Syria to the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers.67 There are calls for the establishment of special tribunals to try those deemed responsible and, more frequently since the establishment of the International Criminal Court, there are campaigns to invoke the jurisdiction of the court in relation to contemporaneous instances of conflict and violence (such as campaigns regarding North Korea, Syria, and Myanmar).68 In this way, notions of international crime and justice are used as a powerful and authoritative discursive framework for recognizing and responding to injustice in the world.

Interrogating Internationality: The Chapters to Come

As noted above, I focus in this book on three key case studies. My first case study is the Rwandan genocide—an instance of harm that was constituted as inherently international in its aftermath, being belatedly constructed as an event in global social, legal, and political history. Second, I focus on the category of international crime, analyzing how it is imagined in the debates of the International Law Commission tasked with formulating a “Draft Code of Offences Against the Peace and Security of Mankind.” And third, I consider representations of international criminal justice by focusing on key portrayals of the first permanent International Criminal Court, including the court’s informational material, its statute, and statements at the Rome Conference that established it.

At a time when many understandings of the international are abstracted, generalized, and universalized, this book therefore focuses on specific and grounded sites where notions of international crime and justice have been given content. In discussing these case studies alongside each other, my focus is on what each of them illustrate—on their own terms—about how international crime and justice are understood. In one sense, then, I provide quite a specific reading of how the quality of internationality is configured in texts concerning the Rwandan genocide, the formulation of a draft criminal code, and the first permanent international criminal court, and my arguments emerge from and relate most directly to these empirical sites. However, these are influential representations of international crime and justice that are indicative of contemporary approaches to these ideas. My case studies are thus different from each other and not representative or generalizable: the window they provide on ideas of international crime and justice is shaped by their discrete nature; political dynamics; and broader social, cultural, and historical context. But they nevertheless demonstrate some consistent and concerning tendencies regarding how international crime and justice are conceptualized. Collectively, I use these case studies to urge a rethinking of how internationality and international interrelations are being configured and performed in dominant discourse, to facilitate ways of understanding global interconnection that may be more particularized, contextualized, and historicized.

In Chapter 1, I start by demonstrating the importance of the ideas of distinctively international crime and justice and drawing out their ethical potentialities. I show how international crime and justice are embedded in a rich and dramatic discursive regime, where they are marked out as different from their national and local counterparts as somehow new forms of crime and justice that belong to a different social and legal order. I argue that such representations of international crime and justice are both central to the project of international justice and importantly productive, imagining a new social and legal sphere in which crime is committed, defendants are prosecuted, and justice is delivered. In this sense, then, I argue that notions of international crime and justice have ethical possibilities—connecting people across the world through a shared repudiation of heinous atrocity. Yet I caution that the ethical promise of these notions depends upon the specific ways in which concepts of international crime and justice are given content.

Chapter 2 continues this line of inquiry by demonstrating the limits and potentials of internationalization in relation to the Rwandan genocide. I trace the post hoc construction of this event as a globally significant occurrence: a key moment in global legal, political, and social history. Although the post hoc internationalization of the Rwandan genocide is commonly regarded as an ethical move—an apt recognition of the significance of this crime—here I also discuss some of the problems embedded in the way it is produced as distinctively global. Ultimately, I argue that the Rwandan genocide emerges as an international event through its construction as an event affecting others: a moment of failed Western and international responsibility that is used to underscore what a global non-Rwandan “we” should do when confronted with an event of African suffering. The Rwandan case study thus demonstrates the significance of being attentive to how and why an event or form of crime and justice is constructed as international, or said to matter to all of “us.” It draws attention to the salience of the specific terms upon which lived experiences of suffering are internationalized (or, conversely, not internationalized), as these shape the ethical potentiality of such a move.

The remaining two substantive chapters then turn to analyzing in detail how notions of international crime and international justice are given content. Chapter 3 analyzes the debates of the International Law Commission in its attempt to define international crime and develop an international criminal code. Although this code was never enacted, the commission’s approach has influenced the eventual constitution of the permanent International Criminal Court and still represents an important attempt to articulate a global criminal code and a single and authoritative definition of international crime. I show how the commission problematically linked internationality to a sense of (higher) scale in its framing of international crime as more important than other crime; as large-scale, mass harm; and as harm that affects generalized subjectivities and states (humanity and global peace and security). I argue that such a scalar approach distances external parties from specific experiences of injury and perpetration, which are portrayed as exceptional and extreme. Such an approach also necessitates a zooming out, whereby the focus shifts from specific peoples, communities, and experiences to abstract and generalized notions of human society as a whole or international peace and security writ large. Thus, scalar understandings of international crime—in a way similar to post hoc portrayals of the Rwandan genocide—appropriate lived experiences of harm and injury and locate them elsewhere and as affecting others.

Chapter 4 considers how a sense of externality and otherness also characterizes mainstream approaches to international criminal justice. Through a focus on key representations of the first permanent International Criminal Court, I demonstrate how the court is figured as culturally, politically, and even geographically transcendent through its contrast with images of a more located, politicized, and contextualized national and local. Using the work of Peter Fitzpatrick,69 I argue that this ideal of international criminal justice should be acknowledged as mythic, formed only through negative contrast and reliant on a disregard for the way in which the court is grounded, political, connected to the national, and a distinctive legal institution. This is an intervention designed to make visible the power effects of current ideals of international criminal justice (which authorize the building of institutions, new disciplines, and new professions), as well as to provide the conceptual space in which to think about how else a cross-cultural or transnational mode of justice-based engagement might unfold.

Together, the case studies that I discuss in Chapters 2, 3, and 4 reveal consistent tendencies regarding the bases on which certain crimes and forms of justice are configured as distinctly international and the ethical and relational effects of these dominant approaches. Crucially, they also elucidate how some of the problematic tendencies of contemporary understandings of international crime and justice relate quite specifically to how their internationality or global significance is often understood. Assertions of internationality are thus argued to be ethically complex, demanding close attention and analysis. Yet they are also constructed and contingent: there is nothing natural or inevitable about these ways of defining internationality, and alternative internationalisms and modes of global interrelation are possible. For example, David Featherstone writes of “solidarities from below” that come into being through very concrete engagements between different peoples at different times, while Malkki raises the possibility of “ways of conceiving solidarities, and even world citizenship, that would be more respectful of contingencies and particularities, while still reaching out for broader connections.”70 In fact, as is evident in the existing coalitions between various groups of victim-survivors of mass harm across time and space—such as the solidarities expressed between Indigenous Australians and asylum seekers, and the transnational Women in Black movement, mentioned in Chapter 4—more particularized and contextualized modes of human interconnection unfold constantly throughout the world.

I should note, however, that in advancing a critique of the disconnect between ideas of international crime and justice and everyday life, my analysis starts with the categories of international crime and justice, largely as they are conceptualized in official and dominant representations. This means that my focus is on the general socio-legal conceptualization of international crime and justice, rather than the political, social, historical, and cultural life of these ideas or their practical application to concrete sociohistorical circumstances. In problematizing the distance charted between international crime and justice and the lived, I ground my discussion in a detailed exploration of different representations of international crime and justice, but I do not always discuss specific local contexts and experiences. I hope that my analysis of the ideas of international crime and justice can be read alongside the excellent existing work that focuses instead on actual social and historical situations and then reflects on the utility of ideas and practices of international crime and justice.71 This work offers complementary critiques (to give just a few examples, of the privileging of certain experiences of injustice and modes of redress, and of the distant nature of international justice institutions), but it also provides distinct insights that stem from the particular crimes, institutions, or historical events being discussed.

My concluding chapter calls for a more reflective and long-term approach to pursuing and imagining modes of international interconnection after the formal end of colonialism. It raises the possibility of approaches to internationality, international significance, and international connection that might be more cognizant and respectful of positionality and particularity—approaches that are better able to register the specificity of those communities and people who experience international crime and that foster modes of engagement that acknowledge rather than deny social, cultural, and political location. These would be forms of connection embedded in and aware of the ordinary and everyday, instead of being characterized by their departure from it. My conclusion calls for a greater awareness of the way in which the contemporary valorization of international crime (as exceptionally bad) and international justice (as idealized and transcendent) may exacerbate the tendency of these ideas to become disconnected from everyday life. Problematizing dominant modes of understanding international crime and justice is thus positioned as one step toward reconceptualizing how ethical pledges of human interconnection and solidarity can be framed.

The critical inquiry in this book is one that proceeds from a commitment to the importance of continuing and reflexive consideration of the possibilities (and limits) of ethical modes of engaging with the suffering of others. It is therefore based on a doubled orientation: maintaining hope in the possibilities of global interconnection and remaining aware of the dangers in both past and present approaches to imagining and enacting it. Throughout the discussion to come, I seek to hold together the sense and promise of international interrelation contained in the sentiment that certain crimes may implicate everyone with a postcolonial awareness of the potentially unethical, unfair, and unequal modes of relation that can and have been enabled (and indeed justified) through a discourse of a shared and global humanity. My critical orientation is thus one, to borrow Charles Scott’s words, of “self-overcoming and recoil,”72 based on an initial interest in the possibilities of ethical interconnection enabled by ideas of international crime and justice, as well as a growing awareness of the unjust and discriminatory relational forms they might promote and justify and the need to question them.

In so doing, I recognize that such an inquiry, including the time and resources it takes to engage in it fully, requires a space and freedom that those working hard in the field of international criminal justice and international humanitarianism do not always have. Thus, I intend this critical work to be read as motivated by a hope for the possibilities of ethical global interconnection that may also inform the idealism (and indeed realism) of some international criminal justice advocates and practitioners, at the same time as it opens up a conceptual space in which to think seriously and carefully about whether—as some justice advocates argue—strengthening the existing model is the most desirable option. Indeed, I conclude by underscoring the importance of a long-term and collaborative approach to envisaging and enacting ethical modes of intercultural, interpersonal, and intercommunal engagement grounded in an acknowledgement of the broader significance of the injustice experienced by others in the world. I also ultimately question, as noted earlier, whether notions of crime and justice can ever be the proper terms through which to pursue humanitarian sentiments of community and solidarity.


1. Mr. Justice Jackson quoted in International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg), Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, 2:98–99 (emphasis added).

2. Benjamin Ferencz, “Ferencz Closes Lubanga Case for ICC Prosecution.”

3. “Stop Rape Now”; Save Darfur Coalition, “Save”

4. See Chapter 2; Alexander, “On the Social Construction of Moral Universals”; Mamdani, Saviors and Survivors, part 1. See also Meister, After Evil.

5. Amnesty International, “‘We Are at Breaking Point,’” 9.

6. Gearóid Tuathail’s work has been crucial to my understanding of how a sense of social and relational distance is constructed and can affect how external parties understand what events of suffering are “proximate” (see Critical Geopolitics, chapters 1 and 6). On the cognitive and affective force of the discursive frames through which violence is depicted, see also Butler, Frames of War, introduction and chapter 1; Doty, Imperial Encounters, introduction.

7. See Chapter 2; Alexander, “On the Social Construction of Moral Universals.”

8. See, for example, Boltanski, Distant Suffering; Chouliaraki, Spectatorship of Suffering; Moeller, Compassion Fatigue.

9. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, preamble. See also Cassese, “Rationale for International Criminal Justice”; United Nations, “Presidents of the International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court Present Reports to General Assembly”; Haveman and Smeulers, “Criminology in a State of Denial”.

10. Kofi Annan, quoted in International Criminal Court, “About”; Annan, “Secretary General’s Statement to the Inaugural Meeting of Judges of the International Criminal Court.” For discussion of this terminology, see (among others) Mégret, “In Whose Name?”; Tallgren, “Voice of the International.”

11. The first quote is from International Criminal Court, “About.” The second and third quotes are from Coalition for the International Criminal Court, “Fight for Global Justice” and “Explore the International Criminal Court System,” respectively.

12. See related discussions in Da Silva, “Many Hundred Thousand Bodies Later,” 167; Tallgren, “Sensibility and Sense of International Criminal Law,” 593.

13. Cassese, “Rationale for International Criminal Justice,” 128; Owada, “International Court of Justice,” 137; Koller, “Faith of the International Criminal Lawyer,” 1021–22. See also Drumbl, “International Criminal Law”; Simpson, Law, War and Crime, preface.

14. See Kendall, “Beyond the Restorative Turn”; Kendall and Nouwen, “Representational Practices at the International Criminal Court.”

15. Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism; Said, Orientalism; Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law; Orford, Reading Humanitarian Intervention; Pahuja, Decolonising International Law; Douzinas, Human Rights and Empire; Mutua, “Savages, Victims, and Saviors.” See also Feldman and Ticktin, In the Name of Humanity, introduction.

16. See particularly the work of postcolonial feminists on this point, including Mohanty, “Under Western Eyes”; Moreton-Robinson, Talkin’ Up to the White Woman; hooks, Talking Back; Lorde, Sister Outsider; Mertens and Pardy, “‘Sexurity’ and Its Effects in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.”

17. Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism; Ahluwalia, “Fanon’s Nausea,” 345–46; Orford, Reading Humanitarian Intervention, 33–34.

18. See Said, Orientalism; Orford, Reading Humanitarian Intervention; Douzinas, Human Rights and Empire; Mutua, “Savages, Victims, and Saviors”; Mamdani, Saviors and Survivors; Abu-Lughod, “Seductions of the ‘Honor Crime’”; Pupavac, “Misanthropy Without Borders.”

19. See, for example, Mbembe, On the Postcolony; Bhabha, Location of Culture; Said, Orientalism; Wolfe, “History and Imperialism”; Hall, “West and the Rest.”

20. Shohat and Stam, Unthinking Eurocentrism; Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law; Darby, introduction.

21. Stoler, “Imperial Debris,” 195. See also Mertens, “Frames of Empire”; Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law.

22. Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law, 2.

23. Hagan and Levi, “Justiciability as Field Effect,” especially 373; Aas, Globalization and Crime; Lohne, “Penal Humanitarianism Beyond the Nation State”; Kendall, “Beyond the Restorative Turn,” 353. See also Drumbl, Atrocity, Punishment and International Law; Simpson, “Atrocity, Law, Humanity.”

24. In relation to international crime, see in particular Clarke, “Rethinking Africa Through Its Exclusions” and Fictions of Justice, introduction; Hagan and Levi, “Justiciability as Field Effect.”

25. Here I draw on Fitzpatrick, Mythology of Modern Law, and Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law.

26. Alison Young, Imagining Crime, 9. I draw on Young’s cultural criminological work to advance this argument in Chapter 1. See also Addis, “Imagining the International Community”; Simpson, “Atrocity, Law, Humanity.”

27. An acknowledgment of the temporal specificity of suffering is an important way of resisting discourses that fix suffering to certain places and people and conflate people with their experiences of suffering. See also Butler, “Rethinking Vulnerability and Resistance,” 25.

28. International Law Commission, “Report of the International Law Commission on the Work of Its Thirty-Fifth Session” (hereafter, such reports will appear as ILC, “Report of the ILC, 35th Session), 14, and “Report of the ILC, 36th Session,” 17.

29. Thiam, “Second Report on the Draft Code of Crimes Against the Peace and Security of Mankind,” 96 (hereafter, such reports will be referred to simply as “Second Report” and so on); see also “First Report”, 147.

30. My reference to livable lives draws from Butler, Frames of War, 42–43. See also Butler, Precarious Life, preface.

31. My concern with connecting with the specificities of life as it is lived complements the existing excellent work in this field. See particularly Malkki, “Things to Come”; Ndebele, “Rediscovery of the Ordinary”; J. Evans, “Ethos of the Historian”; Dorsett and McVeigh, Jurisdiction; Stauffer, Ethical Loneliness.

32. Thiam, “Second Report,” 93.

33. International Criminal Court, “Interacting with Communities Affected by Crimes.”

34. For the excellent scholarship that has demonstrated how this plays out in practice in specific sociohistorical case studies, see (for example) Clark, Distant Justice; Kelsall, Culture Under Cross-Examination; Stover and Weinstein, My Neighbor, My Enemy; Kent, Dynamics of Transitional Justice. My claim, however, is not an empirical claim about the distance that actually exists, but a discursive argument about how this sense of distance is embedded in the very idea of international criminal justice (see also Clark, Distant Justice, chapter 2).

35. On “cultural appropriations of suffering”, see Kleinman and Kleinman, “Appeal of Experience; The Dismay of Images: Cultural Appropriations of Suffering in Our Times.” To be clear, this is an argument about representation and the way in which cultural representations of international crime discursively appropriate, rather than a claim about how those who come into contact with international criminal justice understand this project and how it engages with the specificity of their experiences.

36. For related discussions, see Dixon and Tenove, “International Criminal Justice as a Transnational Field”; Drumbl, “International Criminal Law.”

37. See Fournet, Crime of Destruction and the Law of Genocide, 1; Henry, War and Rape, 5–6.

38. For a critique of narratives of humanitarian intervention “to ensure that ‘humanitarian intervention’ has a more radical meaning,” see Orford, Reading Humanitarian Intervention, 37.

39. J. Evans, “Ethos of the Historian,” 137. See also Dorsett and McVeigh, Jurisdiction, chapter 7; Malkki, “Things to Come”; Ndebele, “Rediscovery of the Ordinary.”

40. Chouliaraki, Spectatorship of Suffering; Razack, “Stealing the Pain of Others”; Malkki, “Things to Come” and “Speechless Emissaries”; Dean, “Empathy, Pornography, and Suffering”; Boltanski, Distant Suffering; Kleinman and Kleinman, “Appeal of Experience”; Feldman and Ticktin, In the Name of Humanity; Wilson and Brown, introduction; Crawley and Simić, “Unintended Consequences”; Kennedy, “Reparative Transnationalism”; Bennett and Kennedy, World Memory; Fassin, “Humanitarianism as a Politics of Life”; Hesford, Spectacular Rhetorics; Abu-Lughod, “Seductions of the ‘Honor Crime.’

41. Among an ever-growing body of work, see, for example, Schwöbel, Critical Approaches to International Criminal Law; Mamdani, Saviors and Survivors; De Vos, Kendall, and Stahn, Contested Justice; Simpson, Law, War and Crime; Clarke, Knottnerus, and de Volder, “Africa and the ICC”; Elander, Figuring Victims in International Criminal Justice; R. Hughes, “Ordinary Theatre and Extraordinary Law at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal”; Nouwen and Werner, “Monopolizing Global Justice”; Orford, Reading Humanitarian Intervention; Stover and Weinstein, My Neighbor, My Enemy; Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law; Clark, Distant Justice; Tallgren, “Sensibility and Sense of International Criminal Law”; Mégret, “What Sort of Global Justice Is ‘International Criminal Justice’?”; Kendall and Nouwen, “Representational Practices at the International Criminal Court”; Drumbl, Atrocity, Punishment and International Law; Henry, War and Rape; Balint, Genocide, State Crime, and the Law; Burgis-Kasthala, “Defining Justice During Transition?”

42. See, among others, Kelsall, Culture Under Cross-Examination; Clarke, Fictions of Justice; Branch, “International Justice, Local Injustice”; Kamatali, “Challenge of Linking International Criminal Justice and National Reconciliation”; Fletcher and Weinstein, “World unto Itself?”; Clark, Distant Justice.

43. Dixon and Tenove, “International Criminal Justice as a Transnational Field”; de Lint, “Introduction”; Nouwen and Werner, “Doing Justice to the Political”; De Vos, Kendall, and Stahn, Contested Justice.

44. Clarke, Fictions of Justice; Mamdani, Saviors and Survivors; Kelsall, Culture Under Cross-Examination; R. Shaw, “Memory Frictions.”

45. Kendall and Nouwen, “Representational Practices at the International Criminal Court”; Elander, Figuring Victims in International Criminal Justice; Human Rights Center, Victim’s Court?; Fletcher, “Refracted Justice”; Clarke, Knottnerus, and de Volder, “Africa and the ICC.”

46. Mégret, “In Whose Name?”; Tallgren, “Voice of the International”; Schwöbel-Patel, “Spectacle in International Criminal Law.”

47. See, for example, Elander, Figuring Victims in International Criminal Justice; Tallgren, “Voice of the International”; Stolk, “Solemn Tale of Horror”; Werner, “Reckoning”; Kendall and Nouwen, “Representational Practices at the International Criminal Court.”

48. Hagan and Levi, “Justiciability as Field Effect”; Lohne, “Penal Humanitarianism Beyond the Nation State.”

49. See Drumbl, “Toward a Criminology of International Crime,” and Lohne, “Penal Humanitarianism Beyond the Nation State.” See also other critical international criminal justice scholars who have questioned both the contemporary idealization of international criminal justice as a way of addressing mass atrocity and its modes of legitimation: see Damaška, “What Is the Point of International Criminal Justice?”; Drumbl, Atrocity, Punishment and International Law and “Tragic Perpetrators and Imperfect Victims.”

50. For the commission’s work on developing a Draft Code of Crimes Against the Peace and Security of Mankind, see Chapter 3 of this book as well as International Law Commission, “Analytical Guide to the Work of the International Law Commission: Draft Code of Crimes Against the Peace and Security of Mankind (Part I)” and “Analytical Guide to the Work of the International Law Commission: Draft Code of Crimes Against the Peace and Security of Mankind (Part II).” There is also a significant body of philosophically oriented work focused on interrogating what constitutes a crime against humanity, which has not produced one generally accepted definition. See, for example, Simpson, Law, War and Crime, chapter 2; May, Crimes Against Humanity; Vernon, “What Is Crime Against Humanity?”; Luban, “Theory of Crimes Against Humanity”; and more generally Chapter 3 of this book.

51. Christie, A Suitable Amount of Crime, 6 and 3. See also S. Cohen, Against Criminology.

52. Clarke, Fictions of Justice; Mamdani, Beyond Nuremberg; Nouwen and Werner, “Monopolizing Global Justice”; Drumbl, Atrocity, Punishment and International Law. See also Findlay and Henham, Beyond Punishment.

53. Internationalism, universalism, globalism, cosmopolitanism, humanism, and transnationalism are diverse and sophisticated fields in their own right that cannot be contained by any one definition or text. However, comparatively speaking, it might be possible to broadly characterize internationalism (defined by Malkki in the coming pages) as a philosophy of global interrelation and of working together toward common, international goals; universalism as relating to the idea that certain principles and truths, such as human rights, are applicable across the world as a whole without exception; globalism as concerned with the world as a whole entity; cosmopolitanism as focused on the possibility of conceiving of peoples as also part of a global community—“citizens” of the world (as well as or before being national citizens); humanism as relating to the existence of a shared human essence; and transnationalism as relating to cross-border and interstate cooperation, flows, and issues. These brief descriptions simply illustrate, however, how such a typology is unduly reductive and unhelpful in thinking through the complexity of social problems. They do give a sense of the range of different theoretical perspectives—often with disciplinary variants—that address questions of human and communal interaction and engagement across the world. For some texts that focus on these terms as relevant to the topics of international justice and responsibility, see, for example, in order: Malkki, “Citizens of Humanity”; Sluga and Clavin, Internationalisms; Teitel, “Universal and the Particular in International Criminal Justice”; Dirlik, “Is There History After Eurocentrism?”; Nussbaum, For Love of Country?; Cheah and Robbins, Cosmopolitics; Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism; Ahluwalia, “Fanon’s Nausea”; Friedrichs, “Transnational Crime and Global Criminology”; Vertovec, “Conceiving and Researching Transnationalism.”

54. A. Roberts, Is International Law International?, 5–6.

55. Malkki, “Citizens of Humanity,” “Things to Come,” and “Speechless Emissaries.” The quote in the following sentence in text comes from “Citizens of Humanity,” 45.

56. Malkki, “Citizens of Humanity,” 41.

57. Englund quoted in Malkki, “Commentary,” 336. Feldman analyzes the international community as a constructed notion, one enlivened by and produced through the work of United Nations peacekeeping forces in their work in the Gaza Strip in “Ad Hoc Humanity.”

58. See also Darian-Smith, “Laws & Societies in Global Contexts”; Darian-Smith and McCarty, “Beyond Interdisciplinarity: Developing a Global Transdisciplinary Framework.”

59. See, for example, Massey, For Space; Tuathail, Critical Geopolitics; De Sousa Santos, “Law”; Riles, “View from the International Plane”; R. Hughes, “Abject Artefacts of Memory”; Ferguson and Gupta, “Spatializing States”; Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, “Law’s Spatial Turn”; Darian-Smith, Laws and Societies in Global Contexts.

60. Riles, “View from the International Plane,” 49.

61. On the geopolitical construction of distance and proximity, see Tuathail, Critical Geopolitics, chapter 6.

62. See Aas, Globalization and Crime; McCulloch, “From Garrison State to Garrison Planet”; Escobar, “Beyond the Third World.”

63. Riles, “View from the International Plane,” 48.

64. Feldman and Ticktin, In the Name of Humanity, introduction.

65. As explained in Chapter 4, I started this project by conducting interviews with people working in and alongside international criminal justice institutions. My interviewees often indicated that it was interesting to reflect on how and why crime and justice are international, but they did not have definite or consistent answers to such questions.

66. Dixon and Tenove, “International Criminal Justice as a Transnational Field”; Nouwen and Werner, “Monopolizing Global Justice.”

67. Sagan, “African Criminals /African Victims,” 20. See also Simpson, Law, War and Crime, preface; Hagan and Levi, “Justiciability as Field Effect,” 377; Gearin and Brown, “Rudd Says Australia Condemns Syrian Regime’s Chemical Weapons Attack in Damascus”; Rigney, “Asylum-Seeker Policy Could Amount to Crime.”

68. AFP/Reuters, “Michael Kirby Recommends UN Refer North Korea to International Criminal Court over Rights Abuses”; Amnesty International, “Dozens of Countries Call on UN to Refer Syria to International Criminal Court”; Black, “Russia and China Veto UN Move to Refer Syria to International Criminal Court”; Buncombe, “UN Chief Wants Syria Crisis Referred to International Criminal Court”; Human Rights Watch, “UN Security Council Should Seek Justice for Myanmar Atrocities.” See also Teitel, “Universal and the Particular in International Criminal Justice,” 285.

69. Fitzpatrick, Mythology of Modern Law.

70. Featherstone, Solidarity, 4; Malkki, “Things to Come,” 439. See also Malkki, “Commentary.” And on the possibility of reparative transnationalism, see Kennedy, “Reparative Transnationalism.”

71. See, for example, Kent, Dynamics of Transitional Justice; Elander and Hughes, “Internationalising Criminal Justice”; R. Hughes, “Ordinary Theatre and Extraordinary Law at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal”; Elander, Figuring Victims in International Criminal Justice; Peskin, International Justice in Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia; Kendall, “‘Hybrid’ Justice at the Special Court for Sierra Leone”; Mertens and Pardy, “‘Sexurity’ and Its Effects in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo”; Malkki, “Speechless Emissaries”; Feldman, “Ad Hoc Humanity”; Burgis-Kasthala, “Defining Justice During Transition?”; Nouwen, Complementarity in the Line of Fire. See also the following previously cited works: Kelsall, Culture Under Cross-Examination; Clarke, Fictions of Justice; Branch, “International Justice, Local Injustice”; Kamatali, “Challenge of Linking International Criminal Justice and National Reconciliation”; Fletcher and Weinstein, “World unto Itself?”; Clark, Distant Justice; Mamdani, Beyond Nuremberg; Nouwen and Werner, “Monopolizing Global Justice”; Drumbl, Atrocity, Punishment and International Law. In relation to the practical application of a concept of distant justice, Clark’s recent Distant Justice is particularly significant.

72. Scott, Question of Ethics, 1.