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A New Influence of Legal Scholars? The Use of Academic Writings at International Criminal Courts and Tribunals

Journal article
Authors Nora Stappert
Published in Leiden Journal of International Law
Volume 31
Issue 4
Pages 963-980
ISSN 0922-1565
Publication year 2018
Published at School of Global Studies, Peace and Development Research
Pages 963-980
Language en
Keywords International Criminal Court international criminal law international criminal tribunals interpretive communities legal scholars
Subject categories Sociology of Law, Globalization Studies, International law


What role have international legal scholars played in the development of international criminal law? Building on recent studies of the citation practices of international courts, the article provides an empirical assessment of the use and functions of citations to scholarly writings in the judgments of international criminal courts and tribunals. Using a mixed-methods approach, the article combines: a) a quantitative analysis of judgments interpreting the law of war crimes across four international and hybrid courts; with b) qualitative interviews with judges and legal officers at the International Criminal Court (ICC), the ad hoc Tribunals, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). The article argues that scholarly writings have been strikingly visible in the judgments of international criminal courts and tribunals, and especially at the ICC, which entails significant implications for the functions of academic writings and the role of international legal scholars.

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