Using International Criminal Law to Resist Transitional Justice

Legal Rupture in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

in Conflict and Society
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  • 1 University of Gothenburg mikael.baaz@law.gu.se
  • 2 Karlstad University mona.lilja@gu.se
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ABSTRACT

An increasing body of literature focuses on negotiations of transitional justice, but not much has been written so far regarding contestations over its practices and the refusal of states and individuals to participate. Given the remaining legalistic dominance, this is particularly true regarding the field of international criminal law. Very little, if any, work in international criminal law engages with the topic of “resistance.” Departing from this gap in research, focusing on Cambodia and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the objective of this article is to introduce, discuss, and analyze the “strategy of rupture”—as developed by the late French lawyer Jacques Vergès—and the ways in which this legal defense has been applied in practice at the ECCC in order to resist not only the Tribunal per se, but also the entire Cambodian transitional justice process and, by extension, the post–Cold War global liberal project.

Contributor Notes

MIKAEL BAAZ is an associate professor in peace and conflict studies and a senior lecturer in international law at the School of Business, Economics and Law, the University of Gothenburg. His core research interest is various aspects of international society, in particular international law and international criminal law. His articles appear in inter alia: Journal of International Relations and Development, International Studies Review, Asian Politics and Polity, Journal of Political Power, Global Public Health, Peace Review, Journal on the Use of Force and International Law, Asian Journal of International Law, Scandinavian Studies in Law, Leiden Journal of International Law, Journal of Resistance Studies, International Journal on Constitutional Law, and Journal of International Criminal Justice. He has also contributed to several edited books, including Ethical Reasoning in International Affairs: Arguments from the Middle Ground, edited by Cornelia Navari (2013), and Progressivism and US Foreign Policy: American Thinkers on Peace and War during the Interwar Period, edited by Molly Cochran and Cornelia Navari (2016, forthcoming), both published by Palgrave Macmillan.

MONA LILJA is a professor in sociology at Karlstad University. Her research interests include resistance studies and gender studies. She has published widely internationally and her articles appear in, for example, Journal of Political Power, Asian Politics and Policy, NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, Feminist Review, Asian Journal of Political Science, Global Public Health and Signs. Her published monographs include Resisting Gendered Norms: Civil Society, the Juridical and Political Space in Cambodia and Power (Ashgate, 2013) and Resistance and Women Politicians in Cambodia (Nias Press, 2008).

Conflict and Society

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