chapter  4
19 Pages

Critique, complicity and I

WithMichelle Farrell

This chapter explores some of the author's unease with the premise of developing a 'critique' of international criminal law. It focuses on the interrelationship between the critic and the critique, its objectives and consequences. The chapter analyzes a related discussion, that of the critique of rights and of international human rights law. It discusses some of the responses, notably those of Patricia J. Williams and Hilary Charlesworth, which have problematized aspects of the critique of rights. A critical perspective, like Mark Tushnet's, which has the improvement of things as its abstract motive, can, as William's response demonstrates so keenly, be read as disenfranchising. The critique of rights provides a useful foil for thinking through the complexities of being critical in international criminal law. When Theodor Adorno reflected on the meaning of cultural criticism, he highlighted an impasse in its logic: The cultural critic is not happy with civilization, to which alone he owes his discontent.