Transnational Jihadism and the Role of Criminal Judges: An Ethnography of French Courts
Journal of Law and Society
WEILL Sharon - Centre de recherches internationales (CERI) (Auteur)
GB : Blackwell Publishing
30 - 53 p.
transnational terrorism, French criminal courts, ethnography
Lower national courts are increasingly asked to perform a transnational role, being directly involved in major geopolitical issues such as conflicts, migration, and transnational terrorism. Based on an ethnography of French criminal courts, this article aims to examine this emerging role of national lower courts as transnationalized players. Through an examination of terrorism prosecutions in France and the positions of the different judicial actors, it is argued that lower criminal courts, acting within a transnational context, can offer more robust resistance to states’ policies than supreme courts. This is because of the routine and the banality of their function and the direct interaction with the accused persons coupled with the judges’ own professional ethos and notion of judicial independence. Unlike supreme courts, whose role is more visible, and thus under the constant scrutiny of the political branches of the state, lower courts can operate in a more distant, independent space.