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Criminology – Globalisation, Human Rights & International Criminal Courts

I’ve been scooping up more and more perspectives from the field of criminology and found earlier today a chapter in a book that actually crosses the divide with IR (the other discipline I’m planning to use). It’s incredibly interesting and actually resonates for a lot of points that can be made about cyber crime/attacks/terrorism/revolutions, etc. I thought I’d use this blog post as a mini-summary of it just in case it helps any  of the other students out there studying something similar…

Key points (not an exhaustive list but might give you a flavour of his arguments and you can go read the full book/chapter)

  • Usually criminology and IR have been studied separately (with criminology addressing issues inside a nation-state while IR looking at issues on the international level) but with increased global communication networks and as more activities become interconnected it’s no longer suitable to divide the two fields.
  • Ideally a global criminology should be established, this however is difficult as for a considerable period of time a crime has been defined as whatever the state says it is.
  • Post the Treaty of Westphalia international law has stuck to its ‘deal’ of absolute state sovereignty and to the non-intervention in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state. (Pertinent for cyber crime as incredibly difficult to attribute crimes and seek justice against people out of ones borders).
  • Some deem this type of sovereignty a “tyrant’s charter” as state has ultimate say on how to control deviancy. Even if atrocities are committed by the state or awful crimes are being perpetrated states are unwilling to step in if deemed to be of domestic concern. (See Hong Kong, Syria, Congo, etc). > This could be construed as there are no human rights… simply political rights. You are at the whim of states rather than protected by an effectively patrolled international law (as if you didn’t notice this already!)
  • The UN in terms of human rights abuses/genocides/crimes has been accused as simply sitting by and watching unfolding conflicts “like a grandstand spectator” [Leo Kupar] (I think you might of noticed this already too). The UN is constantly evading responsibility in taking a lead against these acts.
  • Globalisation could also have spread the know-how of ill-deeds. European colonisation imparted terrible practices on the world and likewise a globally collected world could equally learn bad practices from other societies rather than just good ones (cyber crime is relatively easy to fall into in comparison to other crimes).
  • ICC was signed into being in 1998 giving us an international court. Sadly it is hampered by its inability to enforce justice. A nation has to consent to the ICC trying the suspected criminal. Therefore it is at the behest of the state yet again about who sees justice and who is allowed to walk away free.
  • Some argue the ICC is not impartial as it should be, essentially trial by victors (as can be seen in the Nuremberg trials).
  • In affect we the first criminal court for a world government… it’s just that we lack the world government. Therefore it is fundamentally flawed.

SOURCE: John Muncie & David Wilson, ‘Student Handbook of Criminal Justice and Criminology‘, Chapter 11 by Wayne Morrison.

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