This thesis challenges the conventional discourse on international punishment that emphasizes the development of a single, unified system of international criminal justice. Instead, it advocates for a pluralistic approach that recognizes the fragmented nature of international punishment, which involves various actors, including permanent courts, special tribunals, internationalized tribunals, and domestic courts exercising universal jurisdiction. The sui generis nature of international crimes demands a comprehensive approach to punishment that considers multiple perspectives and norms of diverse actors involved. Rejecting the notion of universalism in determining punishment rationales and promoting accounts of sentencing consistency, the author asserts that a global framework can accommodate diverse values, norms, and legal systems that can coexist and interact with each other. The study emphasizes the importance of considering local contexts and cultural norms when applying international criminal law to ensure a more nuanced approach that better reflects the complexities of international punishment. The thesis acknowledges the obstacles in integrating local norms into the fragmented structure of international criminal law, but recognizes the importance of establishing a method to incorporate domestic norms in choosing penal responses to mass atrocities. The co-existence of different mechanisms for international punishment would provide a more diverse range of sentencing practices that reflect the different values and norms of the international community. The thesis concludes that understanding international punishment in universalist terms is a hoax as the concept fails to fully capture the intricacies and actualities of international punishment.


School of Global Affairs and Public Policy


Law Department

Degree Name

LLM in International and Comparative Law

Graduation Date

Spring 6-15-2023

Submission Date


First Advisor

Thomas Skouteris

Committee Member 1

Thomas Skouteris

Committee Member 2

Hani El Sayed

Committee Member 3

Jason Beckett


52 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item