The Power of Justice

How Procedural Justice Concerns Affect the Legitimacy of International Institutions

In: Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations
Matthias Dembinski Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

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Dirk Peters Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

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Complaints about “double standards” in global governance are widespread. When governments from the Global South criticize powerful Western states for applying double standards in implementing norms such as international criminal justice, this is usually taken to indicate that they disagree with the substance of these norms. In contrast, this article argues that the criticism can also be understood as expressing dissatisfaction with the procedures for applying those norms. Based on insights from empirical justice research in social psychology, the article highlights the significance of procedural fairness for the legitimacy of institutions and illustrates the importance of concerns about procedural unfairness in recent complaints about the International Criminal Court (ICC) by African governments.

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