Lunch seminar with Kjersti Lohne

Advocates of Humanity: Human Rights NGOs in International Criminal Justice


The development of international criminal justice is considered as being part of the advance towards a more 'people-empowering' international rule of law - the emergence of a global criminal order created by and for 'the people' rather than states. Indeed, the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is widely referred to as a 'global civil society achievement' (e.g. Glasius 2006), and according to Benedetti, Bonneau, and Washburn (2014: 68), the emergence of the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) as 'the most advanced and sophisticated organization thus far created collectively by civil society to influence and shape multilateral treaty-making is an irresistibly compelling feature of the story of the Rome Statute'. But how can we understand the relationship between 'global civil society' and global criminal justice-making? What does it mean to say that the ICC is a 'global civil society achievement'? Who 'is' global civil society and how do they imagine global justice through the ICC?

To this end, the book offers an analysis of transnational advocacy networks in their mobilization for global justice through the ICC. A central objective is to explore how connections are made, and how forces and imaginations of global criminal justice travel. How do NGOs 'connect' for justice, and what are the aspects of global social organization that enable these linkages and ruptures? To explore these social (dis)connections, I have approached the transnational networks of NGOs advocating for the ICC as an ethnographic object, and have carried out multi-sited ethnography, primarily in The Hague and Uganda. Approaching international criminal justice in social and cultural terms enables a view that places punishment at the heart of an inquiry into global social organization and pursuit of global order. Yet the book offers something more than descriptions of international criminal justice as a cultural phenomenon; it also reveals how cultural meanings translate into action. The book thus provides explanatory as well as descriptive understandings of criminal punishment 'gone global', analyzing its cultural meanings while examining its social causation.

All interested are welcome to attend. Registration is not necessary.