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Title: Introduction: An interdisciplinary criminology of international criminal law
Authors: Bantekas, I
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Citation: Criminological Approaches to International Criminal Law, pp. 1 - 21, (2014)
Abstract: Whereas the fusion of international criminal law with other disciplines is much more obvious in the context of academic research, principally because of the inroads made by non-legal scholars, the application of these disciplines to international criminal proceedings is rare. One explanation for this is the practical function of international tribunals whose role is to dispense justice to ‘real’ people. As a result, and given the tight deadlines within which tribunals must process a huge amount of evidence and conduct trial proceedings, they may well claim that they do not have the luxury of experimenting with other disciplines. If this was indeed a valid explanation, tribunals could very well make use of the vast existing literature-as is the case with the reliability of traumatised eye witnesses1-in order to make persuasive arguments concerning the pitfalls of testimony provided by those directly affected by hostilities and violent crimes.2 Equally, the tribunals could apply indisputable findings from the natural and medical sciences demonstrating the stresses on human physiology arising from combat. Explanations for the absence of interdisciplinarity in international trials should clearly be sought elsewhere. The judicial chambers of international criminal tribunals ultimately validate and dictate in what manner the prosecution and defence will present their evidence, including the methods by which such evidence will be presented. By way of illustration, if the judges of a particular tribunal encouraged the application of neuroscience in order to ascertain the mental condition of those claiming exculpatory defences (e.g., duress) then no doubt all future litigants would hire the assistance of neuroscientists and relevant legal arguments would depend on scientific data. In this manner, and in that particular context, the law's construction would be made dependent on extra-legal considerations. As a result, the dynamics of the parties’ arguments would shift from legal to extra-legal. At present, such a shift is a fiction in international criminal proceedings (with, it has to be said, some exceptions), but not in other fields of legal inquiry. Neuroscience, for example, plays a central role in the application of an infant's attachment to its parents and the family courts of several nations attribute great significance to attachment theory in their determination of custody and visitation rights.
ISBN: 9781107060036
Appears in Collections:Dept of Politics, History and Law Research Papers

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