The scope of international criminal jurisdiction poses a fundamental challenge for criminal law theory. Prevailing justifications for the state’s authority to punish crime assume the existence of connections between the state and either the criminal or the crime that are not always present in the international criminal context. Recognizing this gap, this Article introduces a new theory of what distinguishes international crimes from domestic crimes and justifies the unusual scope of international criminal jurisdiction. As this Article explains, international crimes are unique in the way they undermine international society’s structure as a system of sovereign states.
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