Moral Accountability and International Criminal Law: Holding Agents of Atrocity Accountable to the World

By Brincat, Shannon | Law & Society Review, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Moral Accountability and International Criminal Law: Holding Agents of Atrocity Accountable to the World


Brincat, Shannon, Law & Society Review


Moral Accountability and International Criminal Law: Holding Agents of Atrocity Accountable to the World. By Kirsten J. Fisher. London: Routledge, 2011. 224 pp. $135.00 cloth.

This timely volume makes a significant contribution to exploring the normative dimensions of International Criminal Law (ICL), a subfield that has been underexplored and clearly outpaced by the quantity of works in (positive) ICL. Fisher makes a worthy entry into these debates, one free of legalistic jargon, and this book will serve as a foundational text in this subject-area for students in the years to come. The book makes a number of important contributions, including developing threshold criteria to define international crime and substantiating a framework of justice for international criminal prosecution and punishment based on retributive and expressive models.

Fisher aims to examine "how responsible agents, individuals and the collectives they comprise, ought to be held accountable to the world for the commission of atrocity." The volume evaluates international prosecution as the "right" response to a range of international crimes, such as crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide (p. 3). More specifically, the book attempts to define the proper domain of ICL and its ambit regarding international crime. To this end, Fisher constructs a useful typology of international crimes and offers a normative engagement with the question of the need for international prosecution. Her argument is that ICL is normatively justified as a response to international crimes defined as those that assault basic human rights and which constitute a travesty of political organization.

For Fisher, to be identified as an international crime-and be considered devastating enough to require explicit condemnation by the international community-actions must meet a dual threshold test, firstly regarding the type of human rights that are violated, and secondly, in terms of the manner in which those rights are violated (Chapter 1). Severity refers to the type of human rights violations, divided according to the categorization of the infringement and level of urgency. Fisher judges that it is the infringement of basic rights that meets the required level of severity-those rights that secure the (pre)conditions of all others such as physical security, bodily integrity and sustenance. These "physical security human rights" are distinguished from liberty human rights that Fisher argues only give rise to human rights violations rather than constituting international crime per se. The second threshold-the associative threshold-refers to how a physical security human right is violated in such a way that involves political organization. This associative threshold is met where criminal act/s attack our fundamental need to politically organize (pp. 23-25). This unique criterion captures not only direct attacks on forms of political organization but also those instances where political organizations operate contrary to their primary function as a protector or promoter of the interests of its members. Fisher explores a number of acts against the severity and associative thresholds, including crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes and crimes of aggression-all of which are shown to satisfy these two requirements and thereby justify condemnation and prosecution (Chapter 2). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Moral Accountability and International Criminal Law: Holding Agents of Atrocity Accountable to the World
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.