Justice after Atrocity: A Cosmopolitan Pluralist Approach

Why do ordinary people perpetrate genocide and crimes against humanity? How can these perpetrators be held accountable? Are international prosecutions effective? Is imprisonment a fitting punishment?


This lecture by Mark Drumbl, Professor of Law and Director of the Transnational Law Institute, Washington and Lee University, explores the potential and limits of liberal criminal law as a method of accountability in the aftermath of atrocity. Drawing from a variety of case-studies, including Rwanda, Timor-Leste, and Bosnia, the lecture argues that the lexicon of justice should transcend the courtroom and the jailhouse. Although accountability for atrocity is a shared cosmopolitan value, pluralism suggests that the process of accountability could well take different forms in different places, to diversify the post-conflict justice narrative and, it is argued, render it more effective.