Many doors to international criminal justice

John Braithwaite*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Responsibilities to protect and prevent elite crimes are best energized by enforcement that walks through many doors. Effective deterrence is rarely delivered by the International Criminal Court. Yet deterrence is possible when it patiently cumulates through many doors. Likewise truth, justice, and reconciliation can achieve little through one door and much through many. Opening more doors to the complexly cross-cutting character of survivor guilt with mass atrocities can better open possibilities for future prevention and reconciliation than simply doors to courtrooms that find a criminal on one side of complex sequences of atrocity. The Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes Trials opened quickly after World War II. They did not prove to hold keys to truth and reconciliation for Germany until the Eichmann trial finished in Jerusalem in 1962. Why? Still today, non-confession by the U.S. to Hiroshima/Nagasaki as war crimes has meant truncated Japanese reconciliation. Different kinds of doors are needed with crimes like the Dresden and Tokyo fire bombing, the rape of Nanjing and the " comfort women" issue. These have included citizens tribunals, truth commissions, and indigenous justice in cases like Bougainville that rejected the truth commission model. When we reflect upon door diversity, transitional justice turns out not to be very focused on justice or international criminal law, and not to be at all transitional, but rather a maze of doors to justice of diverse kinds that open or close across the longue dureé (as developed in the work of Susanne Karstedt).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-26
    Number of pages26
    JournalNew Criminal Law Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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