Thursday, October 8, 2009
Norm internalization is an objective for trials for violations of international law, which seeks to use the trial to demonstrate to a target audience, usually the community of the defendant, the costs of violating international law, and the stigma of being a violator. The purpose of this exercise is to internalize in that audience a respect for international law and for the norm in question that drives the audience not to repeat the violation in the future. Some scholars have argued that this purpose should be the primary purpose behind international criminal trials. Others have argued that it should, at minimum, be the primary objective of trials for those detained at Guantanamo Bay, with the goal of internalizing an anti-terrorism norm in the Islamic world. Despite the prominence of norm internalization in the literature of international criminal law, however, trials for violations of international law have generally failed to internalize norms in the community of the defendant.