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Decolonizing International Criminal Justice

Date: 18-20 November 2022

Coordinator: Professor Fannie Lafontaine, Professor of Criminal Law, Laval University, Faculty of Law, Québec, Canada

Short description: Enduring critiques posit that international law is “white, Western and male”. The international criminal justice system has since its origins been questioned for its inability or unwillingness to consider the values and worldviews of non-Western cultures and societies into its legal and institutional frameworks. It has been mired in controversies and critiques on account of a perception that it operates on double standards, as victor’s justice or by perpetuating its colonial legacy. In recent times, some states, in particular from the African continent, have criticized the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the grounds of selectivity, a critique that continues as the investigations into Afghanistan or Palestine face opposition by powerful states. Similarly, the unprecedented support for the ICC investigation in Ukraine has raised questions about the inequalities and structural racism of international justice, as violations of international law of a similar scale that happen elsewhere do not attract the same response. This short course will discuss the inconsistencies and deficits of the discipline and practice of international criminal law, while also exploring its counter-hegemonic potential and identifying promising developments.


Professor Fannie Lafontaine, Professor of Criminal Law, Laval University, Faculty of Law, Québec, Canada

Dr. Sujith Xavier, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor, Canada (tbc)

Dr. Everisto Benyera, Associate Professor of African Politics, University of South Africa (tbc)

Dr. Asad Kiyani, Assistant Professor in Law at the University of Victoria, Canada (tbc)

Professor William Schabas, Professor of International Law, Middlesex University, School of Law, UK (tbc)

Dr. Carola Lingaas, Associate Professor of Law, VID Specialized University, Norway (tbc)


Introduction: General remarks on the colonial legacy of international criminal justice and its counter-hegemonic potential

What does “decolonizing law” mean for international criminal justice?

International Criminal Justice as a Colonial Project?

Understanding the criticism of selectivity

The “core crimes”: a story of the hegemonic vision of the Global North?

The Concept of Race in International Criminal Law

Indigenous Peoples and International Criminal Justice

Registration deadline:  November 4, 2022