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Part III Regimes and Doctrines, Ch.36 International Criminal Law: Theory All Over the Place

Sarah Nouwen

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law

Edited By: Anne Orford, Florian Hoffmann

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 13 June 2024

Responsibility of international organizations — General principles of international law — Sources of international law

This chapter discusses the different theories employed in the field of international criminal law, which is now increasingly supported by theory. Case theories were developed after events had taken place; operational theories were produced to match complex facts; foundational theories were created to justify existing practices; external theories tried to make sense of the phenomenon of international criminal law as it had been observed; and so did the popular theories based on everyday encounters. Ago, rather than cogito, ergo sum was the field’s implicit maxim. Against this background one still finds that factual, operational, foundational, external theories prove to be less coherent when they are considered in light of each other. Rich theories could thus emerge from more joint theorizing among those working on variably factual, operational, foundational, and external theories, between scholars and practitioners, and between scholar-theorists and quotidian theorists.

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