Towards a Legal-Geographic Theory of Hybrid Justice

Authors: Christian Pettersen*, University of Georgia
Topics: Political Geography, Legal Geography
Keywords: Hybrid Justice, governance, poltical geography, legal geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: 8223, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Since the 1990s, the “international community” has endorsed the principle of “non-impunity,” which asserts that individuals should be held accountable for the commission of international crimes (Williams, 2012). Part of the process of non-impunity has involved the creation of hybrid and internationalized legal mechanisms, in which the “international” “assists” the “national” in its judicial capacities to prosecute crimes within the countries where they were committed. In much of the legal studies literature, hybrid justice, and the corresponding relationship between the “international” and “national”, is presented as a relationship of “intervention by invitation” (Maihold, 2016); the international is called to assist because “even where a suitable [domestic] law exists, the judiciary, prosecution and defense may have little or no experience of trials for serious or systematic crimes conducted during…conflict, and [have] limited exposure to principles of substantive and procedural international criminal law” (Williams 2012: 19). In this paper, I look to the theoretical concept of hybrid justice as it is presented in the legal studies literature. I then ask how the work of legal geographers and critical human geographers can point us in new directions for understanding the process of “intervention by invitation.” I suggest that geography is well-suited to ask questions about the power relations that differentially situate the “international community” and the “national.”

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