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Title: THE ICL COHORT: An Ethnography of International Criminal Justice
Authors: Koulen, Sarah-Jane Jessica
Advisors: Greenhouse, Carol J
Contributors: Anthropology Department
Keywords: Bureaucracy
International Criminal Law
Subjects: Cultural anthropology
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: In recent decades, a small, tight-knit group of legal experts and diplomats—the ICL cohort—has worked to build a system of international criminal justice. This movement has given rise to the establishment of several ad hoc and hybrid criminal tribunals for international crimes and culminated in the 2002 establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC), a permanent criminal court charged with addressing “the worst crimes of concern to the international community as a whole,” per its founding document, the Rome Statute. My dissertation focuses on the sociality of international criminal justice, by taking seriously the social ties, orientations, and shared meanings that sustain the field of practice and work to maintain systematicity and coherence against fundamental gaps and contradictions. It shows in particular how the technocratic register of international criminal justice is sustained by an affective register. I bring an ethnographic sensibility to bear on the sites, proceedings, objects and expertise of international criminal justice: in addition to observing trials and speaking with dozens of practitioners, I participated in training sessions, went on capacity-building missions, joined legal teams on trial and attended diplomatic conferences. I demonstrate the ways in which the turn toward international criminal prosecutions has given way to efforts to collect and preserve evidence and document atrocities, and argue that the logic of criminal culpability instrumentalizes data in ways that impede broader approaches to justice. This study therefore challenges legalistic accounts of international law as a solely technocratic field and, at a broader scale, offers a model for the possibility of anthropological engagement with spaces of bureaucratic governance.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Anthropology

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