GoJIL Vol. 13, No. 1 (2023)
Dogmatik and International Criminal Law: Approximations in the Realm of ‘Language’ and ‘Grammar’
Starting from the assertion of George Fletcher that there could never be an effective International Criminal Law (ICL) without a corresponding ICL Dogmatik – understood as a supporting culture of ideas and general principles – the article attempts to retrace and critically assess the connection made between the domestic concept and the international realm; to give a first approximation of what ‘ICL Dogmatik’ is supposed to mean. While not being definable in a conclusive way, Dogmatik – as understood in the German legal system – represents a specific habitus and mindset when approaching law, providing for an autonomous legal discourse fueled by the aspiration of a coherent normative system based on argumentative rationality and close cooperation of legal scholarship and legal practice. The article argues that, while the term Dogmatik is a specific cultural expression, the substance of the concept more generally refers to and echoes universal challenges of law and legal scholarship. The urge for an ICL Dogmatik should therefore not be (mis-)understood to argue for an authoritative rule of scholars or the adoption of German legal theories on the international level. Instead, the statement enunciates the necessity to establish ICL as an autonomous normative framework of concepts and terms. Dogmatik merely stands for an abstract vision, which may help to organize legal thinking in ICL, to structure and systemize the field, and most importantly to raise awareness for the necessity to develop a shared and coherent (legal) language, which enables productive discourse between all legal families.
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