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Article

Kjersti Lohne, Advocates of Humanity: Human rights NGOs in International Criminal Justice

Punishment & Society(США). 2020.

In recent decades, the expansion of large-scale international crimes, such as genocide and war crimes, has challenged the well-established criminological idea that the power to punish lies within the nation state. Faced with such heinous crimes, domestic legal systems appeared unable to adequately prosecute the perpetrators and provide reparations for victims, leading to calls for a globalised response to mass violence. The development of the international justice system thus changed the concept of penality as capable of moving beyond domestic jurisdictions. New transnational actors and institutions, including nongovernmental organizations (‘NGOs’), emerged as a substantial part of the new global legal order. Yet, this regime presents a marriage between two rather contradictory approaches to criminal justice: the national one (with vertical relations, headed by a national legislator) and the international one (based on consent between equal sovereign states). This new “hybrid” legal system continues to give rise to a multitude of questions: What is the balance of power between its domestic and international components? What is the nature and paradigm of punishment at the international level? Who is the punishing authority in the global justice and what are the sources of its moral authority? And, ultimately, is such justice truly global?