Law, time and inhumanity: reflections on the imprescriptible 1
This chapter concentrates on the various timelines involved in the question of imprescriptibility of international crimes. Because of its focus on the temporal dimension, this contribution is a prolegomenon to the debate on the desirability of imprescriptibility. The chapter provides a brief outline of the key legal issues concerning imprescriptibility in international criminal law. It elaborates on the relationship between imprescriptibility and the unforgiveable by revisiting the positions of Vladimir Jankelevitch, Hannah Arendt and Jacques Derrida. Within Continental philosophy, these authors are arguably the most important ones in the discussion on imprescriptibility. The chapter distinguishes different timelines involved in imprescriptibility and assesses these timelines from the viewpoint of legal philosophy. It also provides the perspective of the judge and spell out what is at stake in the judgment on an imprescriptible international crime. The chapter sketches the legal and institutional framework of the imprescriptibility of international core crimes.