[Research seminar] The (Positive?) Complementarity Turn in International Criminal Justice

11 February 2021
  • Starts at: 15:30h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: Online
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut

On 11 February, the Asser Institute is proud to welcome Dr Patryk I. Labuda, a Visiting Fellow at the Amsterdam Center for International Law. During this research seminar, he will be presenting his paper: ‘The (Positive?) Complementarity Turn in International Criminal Justice’.

The International Criminal Court has struggled to incentivize states to initiate domestic prosecutions of international crimes. Contrary to expectations, the Court’s jurisdictional framework, known colloquially as complementarity, has failed to alter governments’ accountability preferences. Nevertheless, cooperation incentives embedded in the Rome Statute’s institutional design have had profound implications for how states, civil society, and academics understand the global fight against impunity. Not only are states now rhetorically understood to be the primary enforcers of international criminal law; the international community is increasingly expected to build state capacity to fight impunity, regardless of whether incumbent governments are prosecuting international crimes committed by their own officials. After examining the origins of the current emphasis on state-driven accountability and its rhetorical association with (positive) complementarity, this chapter from his forthcoming book (In the Court’s Shadow. International Criminal Tribunals and Domestic Accountability, OUP) examines the ideational consequences of prioritizing domestic accountability and suggests that international criminal law is increasingly becoming a transnational state-building enterprise rather than a supranational check on government power.

Asser research seminars

During the Asser Research Seminars, external researchers are invited to present their current and upcoming research with the Asser research community. The seminars are semi-open, as we invite a few external people who may be interested in the specific topic of the seminar. However, we aim to keep the group’s size limited, to stimulate interaction and high quality, in-depth discussions. Researchers who are interested in presenting their research to the Asser research community are welcome to send an e-mail to Dr Christophe Paulussen (c.paulussen@asser.nl).