Washington and Lee law professor Mark Drumbl contributed to an online symposium focused on a recent issue of the Leiden Journal of International Law (LJIL). The symposium, hosted by the international law blog Opinio Juris, focused on two discussions of fundamental issues of international law: the functions of international tribunals and the philosophy of international criminal law.
Prof. Drumbl’s contribution to the symposium took the form of a review and analysis of an LJIL article by Prof. Darryl Robinson titled “A Cosmopolitan Liberal Account of International Criminal Law,” in which the author continues his exploration of the conceptual underpinnings of international criminal law. Drumbl writes:
“Darryl is concerned when ICL dilutes individual moral agency so as to procure convictions. ICL’s massaging of individual moral agency, however, does not run exclusively in this direction. ICL also has exonerating tendencies. ICL often overlooks. Certain individuals tend to be defined by their group, and these groups may be categorically posited as lacking appreciable moral agency, culpability, or capacity. Specifically, ICL underplays the agency of women, child soldiers, and the elderly when implicated in the perpetration of atrocity. Although discourse within the field is maturing (and pluralizing) in this regard, it remains that, instead of engaging with the complexities of the agency of the oppressed – who can in turn oppress others – ICL tends to inflate their innocence, thereby leaving their victims all the more starved for a remedy.”
Drumbl’s entire commentary, titled “International Criminal Law and Moral Agency,” is available online. Prof. Robinson responds to the commentary on his article in another piece titled “The Idea of Justice in International Criminal Law.”
Mark Drumbl is Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law and Director of the Transnational Law Institute. An expert in the fields of international criminal law and post-conflict justice, he has authored two critically acclaimed books: Atrocity, Punishment and International Law and Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy. His work has been referenced by courts in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.