This article examines the role that international criminal justice plays, firstly in creating history, and secondly in protecting history. With regards to the former function, history, in terms of historical truths and narratives are frequent casualties of war and so the first major thread of this discussion outlines the historiography of international criminal law through the prism of the illustrative case of Al Mahdi before the International Criminal Court. In other words this paper aims to set out an overview of the methods, processes and policies by which international criminal justice develops historico-legal narratives that attempt to get at the truth and protect the past from false or distorted narratives. With regards to the latter function, history, in terms of cultural heritage may often be destroyed in order to destroy the identity and even the existence of a people. Accordingly, the second major thread of this discussion is that when it comes to memorialising the significance of cultural property and the impact of its destruction for the benefit of our collective memory as a basis for punishing criminal acts of destroying cultural property, deterring future criminal acts, and providing victims with reparations, Al Mahdi represents a careful balance between legal pragmatism and legal principle, and furthermore that international criminal justice is an important stakeholder in the reparations and restorations process.
Esterling, SheaJohn-Hopkins, Michael
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\School of Law
Year of publication: 2018Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-06-08
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