Criminalizing & Criminalized States

A 21st-Century Reassessment of the Domestic and International Interfaces between the State and Criminal Law


Friday, 9 November – Saturday, 10 November, 2012


Location:
Room 1014, Ignat Kaneff Building
Osgoode Hall Law School
York University
4700 Keele Street,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3

map and directions

Conference Themes

What significance does our understanding of the state have for criminal law?

  • Contemporary theorists of domestic criminal law often assume that criminalization, criminal process, adjudication, as well as sentencing are the prerogative of the state. What conceptual and normative commitments underlie such assumptions and to what extent are they sound? Are “privatization” and other kinds of “outsourcing” of criminal law related matters — for example, to international institutions — ever morally acceptable, or even desirable? Similarly, to what extent do our conceptual and normative commitments about the nature of the state and its relationship to the wider polity shape our understanding of, and the ways in which we seek to legitimize, our current criminal law practices? Should some of these commitments be revised in this unprecedented era of globalization and transnationalization, perhaps alongside related criminal law practices?
  • Many domestic criminal prohibitions are specifically directed at individuals occupying certain so-called “official” roles. Some domestic jurisdictions also recognize that “public bodies” can be held criminally liable, while others condemn and impose punitive damages for “state action” that violates constitutional rights. Does this mean that “the state” can ever intelligibly and legitimately be held criminally responsible for wrongdoing, be it as an accomplice or a principal, in the domestic context? In the same vein, whereas international crimes of states were once leading candidates for inclusion in international criminal law, and while state-like systematic and organized perpetration is required for some existing individual international crimes, contemporary international law is reluctant to recognize state crimes as a category. What should we make of this reluctance? Conversely, how should our understanding of the state shape the international criminalization of individuals?
  • And what should we think of recurring claims that when individuals in uniform, purporting to be acting in the name of the state, perpetrate crimes, the defenses available to them should differ — in terms of their conceptual and moral contours, as well as in kind — from those available to ordinary individuals? Or, more generally, insofar as the state can legitimately be criminalized, what kinds of procedural and substantive protection should be available to it?

In a world where private prisons and other forms of outsourced criminal law practices are growing at a breath-taking pace, where police brutality, state-sanctioned aggressions, killings, torture, and other forms of official wrongdoing are a commonplace, and where the name of the state is regularly brandished to immunize, legitimize, or otherwise provide a shield against criminal accountability, the time seems ripe for a sustained collective effort to demystify relevant interfaces between the state and criminal law. This conference aims at taking a first stab at this daunting yet pressing task, by bringing together many of the world’s leading legal theorists, political philosophers, and academic lawyers currently working on the issue.

Conference Program

Friday, November 9, 2012

9:00 am  
WELCOME

Associate Dean James Stribopoulos (Osgoode Hall Law School)
Conference Organizer: Prof. François Tanguay-Renaud (Director, Nathanson Centre)

     
9:30 am – 10:30 am  
“JUSTIFYING THE PUNISHMENT OF STATES”
Avia Pasternak (Essex)

Chair: François Tanguay-Renaud (Osgoode)
Respondent:
Richard Vernon (Western)

 
10:30 am – 11:00 am  
TEA & COFFEE
 
11:00 am – 12:00 pm  
“POLITICAL ANTHROPOMORPHISM”
Alice Ristroph (Seton Hall)

Chair: Doug Hay (Osgoode)
Respondent: Vincent Chiao (Toronto)

     
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm  
“THE FUNCTIONS OF UNIFORMS IN DOMESTIC CRIMINAL LAW”
Christopher Kutz (Berkeley)

Chair: Michael Giudice (York)
Respondent: Adil Haque (Rutgers-Newark)

 
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm  
LUNCH
 
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm  
“FORM AND FUNCTION IN (CRIMINAL) LAW”
Malcolm Thorburn (Queen’s)

Chair: James Stribopoulos (Osgoode)
Respondent: Youngjae Lee (Fordham)

     
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm  
TEA & COFFEE
 
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm  
“THE DUTY TO CRIMINALIZE”
Alon Harel (Hebrew U)

Chair: Violetta Igneski (McMaster)
Respondent: Arthur Ripstein (Toronto)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

9:30 am – 10:30 am  
“STATE CRIMES”
François Tanguay-Renaud (Osgoode)

Chair: Benjamin Berger (Osgoode)
Respondent: Neha Jain (UMinn)

     
10:30 am – 11:00 am  
TEA & COFFEE
 
11:00 am – 12:00 pm  
“AUT DEDERE AUT JUDICARE: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EXTRADITION”
Antony Duff (UMinn)

Chair: Alon Harel (Hebrew U)
Respondent: Ekow Yankah (Cardozo)

 
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm  
“STATE AUTHORITY TO PUNISH CRIME: A PROBLEM EASILY SOLVED”
Doug Husak (Rutgers-New Brunswick)

Chair: Wil Waluchow (McMaster)
Respondent: Susan Dimock (York)

 
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm  
LUNCH
 
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm  
“ORWELL’S BATTLE WITH BRITTAIN: VICARIOUS LIABILITY FOR UNJUST AGGRESSION”
Victor Tadros (Warwick)

Chair: Alice MacLachlan (York)
Respondent: Louis-Philippe Hodgson (York)

 
3:00 am – 3:15 am  
TEA & COFFEE
 
3:15 pm – 4:15 pm  
“THE IMPACT OF SOCIETAL BREAKDOWN ON CRIMINAL LAW DEFENSES: DURESS UNDER INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW AS A TEST-CASE”
Miri Gur-Arye (Hebrew U)

Chair: Antony Duff (UMinn)
Respondent: Margaret Martin (Western)

To register or for any other queries, please contact Ms. Lielle Gonsalves, Assistant to the Nathanson Centre (lgonsalves@osgoode.yorku.ca).