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Transnational Jihadism and the Role of Criminal Judges: An Ethnography of French Courts

Journal of Law and Society

Published online on

Abstract

["\nAbstract\nLower 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.\n", "Journal of Law and Society, EarlyView. "]