Shocking the Conscience of Humanity: Gravity and the Legitimacy of International Criminal Law

ISBN : 9780198786153

Margaret deGuzman
240 ページ
156 x 234 mm

The literature and jurisprudence of international criminal law rely heavily on the claim that international crimes are exceptionally grave. Such crimes are said to 'shock the conscience of humanity', to constitute 'atrocities', and this gravity is invoked to justify international authority over the crimes and the people who commit them. Yet commentators and judges rarely explain what makes international crimes especially grave or how the gravity of the crimes affects the legitimacy of international criminal law's norms and institutions.

In Shocking the Conscience of Humanity, DeGuzman answers these questions, elucidating the historical forces that produced an international criminal law regime that relies on claims about gravity, and explaining the consequences of that reliance for the regime's legitimacy. She proposes a new framework for evaluating the legitimacy of international criminal law, arguing that a regime that is firmly rooted in global community values rather than in ambiguous notions of gravity is likely to enjoy greater support around the world.



1. Legitimacy, Gravity, and Global Community

2. A Brief History of Gravity

3. Global Prescriptive Authority

4. Global Adjudicative Authority

5. Defendants' Rights and Defences

6. Sentencing


Professor Margaret M. deGuzman is the James E. Beasley Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Institute for International Law and Public Policy at Temple University's Beasley School of Law. Her scholarship focuses on the role of international criminal law in the global legal order, with a particular emphasis on the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC). She has written extensively about international criminal law theory and practice, including topics ranging from the definition of crimes against humanity to crime selection and sentencing at international courts and tribunals. Before joining Temple Law School, Professor deGuzman practiced criminal defense in San Francisco, served as a legal advisor to the Senegal delegation at the Rome Conference of the ICC, was a law clerk at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, and a Fulbright Scholar in Daru N'Diar, Senegal.