The Disciplinary Identity of International Criminal Law: Balancing Between Positivism and Multidisciplinarity
Keywords:International criminal law, legal positivism, multidisciplinarity, study of law, disciplinary identity
This essay discusses how the character and nature of international criminal law influence the way it is studied. By providing a historical review of its intellectual origins, it shows why international criminal law’s disciplinary identity remains under the influence of positivistic principles. In going beyond international criminal law, this essay also critically discusses why some hold a multidisciplinary analysis of international law in contempt and exposes the challenges of placing legal scholarship in distinct categories by labelling legal academics as positivists, doctrinalists, practice-oriented, policy-driven, or as multidisciplinarians. This piece will describe how international criminal law is being studied, how scholarship developed, and whether the value of the research lies in its relevance for the practice before international criminal courts. In discussing the pitfalls of pure doctrinal or
multidisciplinary research, it weaves together theoretical considerations beyond the traditional positivistic paradigm with a plea to study international criminal law under different sensibilities and disciplinary protocols.