Judging Aggression

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One of the most polarizing debates in international law is how the goal of peace should figure into the work of international criminal tribunals. The freshly minted crime ofaggression lands the judges of the International Criminal Court in the middle of the peace versus justice dilemma and will challenge the court to prove its value for advancing peace in appropriate circumstances while building the rule of law and maintaining its legitimacy. This Article, the final installment in the author’s trilogy on the crime of aggression, explores the gaps, ambiguities and contradictions woven into the definition of the crime and evaluates the range of ways in which well-intentioned international judges might attempt to do justice while promoting peace through decisional law focusing on three of international law’s most controversial questions: the scope of self-defense, the status of humanitarian intervention under the UN Charter and the character of an armed attack. Ultimately, this Article argues for a richer understanding of the concepts of peace and justice that will permit international judges to punish aggression while promoting peace.