The new global legal order as local phenomenon: The special court for Sierra Leone

Gerhard Anders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


International law derives its authority from its superior position vis-à-vis the nation state. In textbooks on international law it is common to represent the domestic legal order of the nation states at a lower level than the international legal order, which encompasses the various national legal orders. This notion of a hierarchical relationship between the global and the national is at the core of legal and political science approaches to international law, arguably best exemplified by Kelsen’s (1934) theory of law. It also informs representations of the quickly expanding field of international criminal law which invariably place the international war crimes tribunals in The Hague and Arusha above national courts. This verticality is crucial to the legitimacy of these tribunals. They are promoted as impartial adjudicators of large-scale human rights violations and war crimes committed in regions where courts are either not functioning or deeply compromised by particularistic interests.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpatializing Law
Subtitle of host publicationAn Anthropological Geography of Law in Society
EditorsFranz von Benda-Beckmann, Keebet von Benda-Beckmann
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781315610290
ISBN (Print)9780754672913, 9781138274525
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2009


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