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Chief Amongst The Angels? International Prosecutors And The Modernist Project

This thesis argues that three successive generations of prosecutors—each of whom at some moment in time belong to a major institution designed specifically to enforce international criminal law—are best understood as agents of the law, politics and war. By examining the relevant institutional arrangements, including formal prosecutorial mandates, the thesis recognises that these prosecutors play vital roles in the enforcement of international criminal law. By critically examining prosecutorial performance during the pre-trial and trial phases this thesis contends, firstly, that these prosecutors are also political actors serving, unwittingly or otherwise, in the interests of economic liberalisation, expressed as neo-capitalism during the middle of the twentieth century or as neoliberalism in the late twentieth century. By foregrounding the material and ideational conditions giving rise to those major enforcement institutions this thesis contends, secondly, that international prosecutors also help wage a mostly silent and largely unacknowledged war fought by proponents of various utopian movements. In order to support these two main contentions the thesis situates the development of international criminal law and its major institutions as a significant temporality of a discourse against politico-cruelty, a term used here to refer to cruel acts committed as a means of achieving some substantive end. It also contextualises the collective prosecutorial efforts within the project of modernity and, more specifically, what is described here as a politico-cultural civil war fought for control over that project. Using international criminal law as a means of confronting humanity’s worst excesses and curbing modernity’s most violent pathologies, international prosecutors of war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide and crimes of aggression might represent the vanguard in the quest for international criminal justice and be regarded by many as featuring among humanity’s better angels. Indeed, they might well be characterised in world affairs as chief amongst the angels. But, at the same time, these politico-legal actors, whose mandates are derived from, and re-inscribe, particular configurations of power emerging in the aftermath of global conflict, need to be recognised as the auxiliary combatants of those seeking to maintain their control over the modernist project.
Type of thesis
Rogers, D. R. (2016). Chief Amongst The Angels? International Prosecutors And The Modernist Project (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10847
University of Waikato
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