Within the rich literature on the International Criminal Court (ICC), across international criminal law scholarship, transitional justice and international relations, the study of ‘law and culture’ has a lengthy pedigree. After the ICC came into operation on 1 July 2002, several years followed before the first monographs on the Court's law and culture were published, notably Sarah Nouwen's Complementarity in the Line of Fire (2013) and Phil Clark's Distant Justice (2018). This delay reflected the years of field-based research necessary for empirically minded scholars to usefully comment on the Court. The writing of these scholars was informed by long periods spent in the field in ICC situation countries, enabling them to bring a meaningful understanding of the lives of affected communities to their analysis of the Court's impact. Clark's book, for instance, was the culmination of eleven years of research and fieldwork in ICC situation countries (Clark, 2018). These extensive periods of contact with victims and survivors have brought fresh perspectives on the ICC to those of us whose work is, necessarily, focused on proceedings in The Hague and who are, inevitably, unable to claim genuine long-term familiarity with the local meaning of the Court's proceedings for those whose lives we believe or hope we are (positively) impacting. Well-executed field-based research has so much to offer because it can be at once intellectually distanced from court proceedings in The Hague, while intellectually proximate to the locus delicti of international criminal justice in affected communities.