This chapter defines the scope of international criminal law. It outlines the limits of three potential definitions of ‘international criminal law’ (inter-state criminal law, suppression conventions, and ‘international crimes of state’), and highlights the special character of the fourth (the core ‘Nuremberg’) doctrines. It shows that the link between the ‘core crimes’ and the fundamental interests of international order is one of the source of the very problems that has beset efforts to put this area of law into practice.
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