How do legal norms travel, spread, and change along the way? This article investigates the travels of one model of criminal responsibility for state violence as part of the global project of transitional justice. Claus Roxin’s model was first published in West Germany 1963 in order to address impunity for Nazi crimes, was not applied in its intended context, made its judicial debut in Argentina in 1985, had a comeback in Germany in 1994, traveled throughout Latin America, and was taken up at the International Criminal Court. This case study leads to three conclusions about the travel of legal concepts. First, the appeal of theoretical concepts has much to do with the context in which they are used. Second, traveling keeps concepts alive and changes them. Third, transitional justice and responsibility practices have become global and transnationalized in ways that highlight broader global inequalities and transnational hierarchies.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Argentina, Claus Roxin, Criminal Trials, Germany, International Criminal Court, Responsibility, Transitional Justice
Persistent URL
Journal Social and Legal Studies
Wilke, C. (2015). Law on a Slanted Globe: Traveling Models of Criminal Responsibility for State Violence. Social and Legal Studies, 24(4), 555–576. doi:10.1177/0964663914565847