The Grammar of Criminal Law: American, Comparative, and International

By George P. Fletcher | Go to book overview

Self-Critical Conclusion

As preparation for future work, we should review and assess the three central theses of this book. The claims that underlie all eight chapters and the introduction are these:

1. The future of criminal law, both at the national and international levels, lies in a dialectic tension between the law adhering to the Rome Statutes as a model of criminal justice and a comparative synthesis that derives from a comparative study of the legal systems of the world. This is essentially the tension between a process from the top down and one from the bottom up. The Rome Statute will have a top-down influence on the evolution of national law, because local systems will seek to adapt themselves to the ICC, with its potential, under the complementarity principle, to hear cases of impunity and local injustice. Yet the Rome Statute remains so theoretically and conceptually underdeveloped that it will behoove international lawyers to pay close attention, in a process from the bottom up, to the general principles of law that have emerged in the leading legal cultures of the world.

The link between these two ways of thinking about international criminal law lies in Article 21(1)(c) of the Rome Statute, which astutely prescribes “general principles of law derived from national laws of legal systems of the world” as the residual source of law in the ICC. This means

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The Grammar of Criminal Law: American, Comparative, and International
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface - Intellectual Journeys vii
  • Contents xxiii
  • I - Philosophical Foundations 1
  • Introduction 3
  • One - Criminal Theory 21
  • Two - Criminal Law 69
  • Three - Language 117
  • Four - Political Theory 151
  • Five - Moral Theory 190
  • II - Toward a Comparative Synthesis 219
  • Six - Punishment 221
  • Seven - The Act Requirement 266
  • Eight - Guilt 298
  • Self-Critical Conclusion 340
  • Bibliography 343
  • Index 359
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