Why do ordinary people perpetrate genocide and crimes against humanity? How can these perpetrators be held accountable? Are international prosecutions effective? Is imprisonment a fitting punishment?
This lecture explores the potential and limits of liberal criminal law as a method of accountability in the aftermath of atrocity. Drawing from a variety of case-studies, including Rwanda, Timor-Leste, and Bosnia, the lecture argues that the lexicon of justice should transcend the courtroom and the jailhouse. Although accountability for atrocity is a shared cosmopolitan value, pluralism suggests that the process of accountability could well take different forms in different places, to diversify the post-conflict justice narrative and, it is argued, render it more effective.