Skip to main content
×
Home

Can the International Criminal Court Deter Atrocity?

Abstract
Abstract

Whether and how violence can be controlled to spare innocent lives is a central issue in international relations. The most ambitious effort to date has been the International Criminal Court (ICC), designed to enhance security and safety by preventing egregious human rights abuses and deterring international crimes. We offer the first systematic assessment of the ICC's deterrent effects for both state and nonstate actors. Although no institution can deter all actors, the ICC can deter some governments and those rebel groups that seek legitimacy. We find support for this conditional impact of the ICC cross-nationally. Our work has implications for the study of international relations and institutions, and supports the violence-reducing role of pursuing justice in international affairs.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Achen Christopher, and Snidal Duncan. 1989. Rational Deterrence Theory and Comparative Case Studies. World Politics 41 (2):143–69.
Agnew Robert. 2011. Control and Disorganization Theory. In The Routledge Handbook of Deviant Behaviour, edited by Bryant Clifton D., 114–20. New York: Routledge.
Ainley Kirsten. 2011. The International Criminal Court on Trial. Cambridge Review of International Affairs 24 (3):309–33.
Akhavan Payam. 2005. The Lord's Resistance Army Case: Uganda's Submission of the First State Referral to the International Criminal Court. American Journal of International Law 99 (2):403–21.
Bass Gary. 2003. In the Hands of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Becker Gary S. 1968. Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach. Journal of Political Economy 76 (2):169217.
Bikundo Edwin. 2012. The International Criminal Court and Africa: Exemplary Justice. Law and Critique 23 (1):2141.
Bueno Olivia, and Angwandi Gilbert. 2012. Steps Towards Justice, Frustrated Hopes: Some Reflections on the Experience of the International Criminal Court in Ituri. Discussion Paper 2, New York: International Refugee Rights Initiative.
Burke-White William. 2010. Proactive Complementarity: The International Criminal Court and National Courts in the Rome System of International Justice. Harvard International Law Journal 49 (1):53108.
Chapman Terrence, and Chaudoin Stephen. 2013. Ratification Patterns and the International Criminal Court. International Studies Quarterly 57 (2):400–9.
Chaudoin Stephen. 2016. How Contestation Moderates the Effects of International Institutions: The International Criminal Court and Kenya. Journal of Politics 78 (2):557571.
Clark Phil. 2011. Chasing Cases: The ICC and the Politics of State Referral in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. In The International Criminal Court and Complementarity: From Theory to Practice, edited by Stahn Carsten and El Zeidy Mohamed M., 1180–203. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Clark Tom, and Linzer Drew. 2015. Should I Use Fixed or Random Effects? Political Science Research and Methods 3 (2):399408.
Cohen Dara, Peterman Amber, Palermo Tia, and Green Amelia Hoover. 2011. Rape Reporting During War: Why the Numbers Don't Mean What You Think They Do. Foreign Affairs. Available at <https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2011-08-01/rape-reporting-during-war>. Accessed 3 February 2014.
Cronin-Furman Kate. 2013. Managing Expectations: International Criminal Trials and the Prospects for Deterrence of Mass Atrocity. International Journal of Transitional Justice 7 (3):434–54.
Cunningham David, Salehyan Idean, and Gleditsch Kristian Skrede. 2013. Non-State Actors in Civil Wars: A New Dataset. Conflict Management and Peace Science 30 (5):516–31.
Dancy Geoff, and Sikkink Kathryn. 2012. Ratification and Human Rights Prosecutions: Toward a Transnational Theory of Treaty Compliance. New York University Journal of Internatinal Law and Politics 44 (3):751–90.
Dancy Geoff, and Montal Florencia. 2014. Unintended Positive Complementarity: Why International Criminal Court Investigations Increase Domestic Human Rights Prosecutions. Paper presented at American Society of International Law Conference, November, Chicago.
Drumbl Mark. 2012. Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Dunoff Jeffrey L., and Trachtman Joel P.. 1999. The Law and Economics of Humanitarian Law Violation in Internal Conflict. American Journal of International Law 93 (2):394409.
Eck Kristine, and Hultman Lisa 2007. One-Sided Violence Against Civilians in War: Insights from New Fatality Data. Journal of Peace Research 44 (2):233–46.
Fajnzylber Pablo, Lederman Daniel, and Loayza Norman. 1998. Determinants of Crime Rates in Latin America and the World: An Empirical Assessment. Washington, DC: World Bank.
Fazal Tanisha M. 2013. Secessionism and Civilian Targeting. Unpublished manuscript, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN.
Fazal Tanisha M. 2014. Dead Wrong? Battle Deaths, Military Medicine, and Exaggerated Reports of War's Demise. International Security 39 (1):95125.
Findlay M. 2014. Sign Up or Sign Off—Asia's Reluctant Engagement with the International Criminal Court. Cambodia Law and Policy Journal 1:7595.
Fish Eric. 2010. Peace Through Complementarity: Solving the Ex Post Problem in International Criminal Court Prosecutions. Yale Law Journal 119 (7):1703–14.
Franck Thomas. 1990. The Power of Legitimacy among Nations. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Geerken Michael R., and Gove Walter R.. 1975. Deterrence: Some Theoretical Considerations. Law and Society Review 9 (3):497513.
Gilligan Michael J. 2006. Is Enforcement Necessary for Effectiveness? A Model of the International Criminal Regime. International Organization 60 (4):935–67.
Glasius Marlies. 2009a. We Ourselves, We Are Part of the Functioning: The ICC, Victims, and Civil Society in the Central African Republic. African Affairs 108 (430):4967.
Glasius Marlies. 2009b. What Is Global Justice and Who Decides? Civil Society and Victim Responses to the International Criminal Court's First Investigations. Human Rights Quarterly 31 (2):496520.
Goldsmith Jack, and Krasner Stephen D.. 2003. The Limits of Idealism. Daedalus 132 (1):4763.
Goldstein Joshua S. 2011. Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide. New York: Dutton.
Goodliffe Jay, and Hawkins Darren. 2009. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Rome: Explaining International Criminal Court Negotiations. Journal of Politics 71 (3):977–97.
Goodliffe Jay, Hawkins Darren, Horne Christine, and Nielson Daniel. 2012. Dependence Networks and the International Criminal Court. International Studies Quarterly 56 (1):131–47.
Goodman Ryan, and Jinks Derek. 2003. Measuring the Effects of Human Rights Treaties. European Journal of International Law 14 (1):171–83.
Gorur Aditi. 2012. Striking While the Iron's Hot: The Case for Humanitarian Engagement with M23 After Goma. Washington, DC: Stimson Center. Available at <http://www.stimson.org/content/striking-while-irons-hot-case-humanitarian-engagement-m23-after-goma-0>. Accessed 15 October 2013.
Grammer Christoph. 2004. The Rome Statute Regime as a Mainspring of International Criminal Law: The Success of the Rome Statute in Latin America and the Opposition of the USA. Heidelberg Journal of International Law 64 (4):1059–76.
Grasmick Harold G., and Bryjak George J.. 1980. The Deterrent Effect of Perceived Severity of Punishment. Social Forces 59 (2):471–91.
Grono Nick. 2012. The Deterrent Effect of the ICC on the Commission of International Crimes by Government Leaders. Speech delivered at the International Crisis Group, New York, 5 October 2012. Available at <http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/speeches/2012/grono-the-deterrent-effect-of-the-icc.aspx>. Accessed 20 October 2014.
Hafner-Burton Emilie M. 2013. Making Human Rights a Reality. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Hamilton Rebecca J. 2014. The ICC's Exit Problem. New York University Journal of International Law and Politics 47 (1):158.
Hilbe Joseph M. 2007. Negative Binomial Regression. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Hillebrecht Courtney. 2014. Domestic Politics and International Human Rights Tribunals: The Problem of Compliance. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Huang Reyko. 2013. Rebel Diplomacy in Civil War. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, August, Chicago.
Hultman Lisa, Kathman Jacob, and Shannon Megan. 2013. United Nations Peacekeeping and Civilian Protection in Civil War. American Journal of Political Science 57 (4):875–91.
Iacus Stefano M., King Gary, and Porro Giuseppe. 2012. Causal Inference Without Balance Checking: Coarsened Exact Matching. Political Analysis 20 (1):124.
International Criminal Court (ICC). 2006. Office of the Prosecutor. Third Report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to the UN Security Council Pursuant to UNSCR 1593 (2005). The Hague, The Netherlands: ICC.
International Criminal Court (ICC). 2011. Report of the Court on Complementarity. Report to the Assembly of States Parties. 10th sess. New York, 12–21 December 2011. ICC-ASP/10/23.
International Criminal Court (ICC). 2012. Office of the Prosecutor. Prosecutorial Strategy: 2009–2012. The Hague, The Netherlands: ICC.
Ipsos-Synovate. 2011. Confirmation Hearings Boost Support for the ICC Process. Available at <http://www.ipsos.co.ke/spr/downloads/downloads.php?dir=polls&file=Level%20of%20Support%20for%20the%20ICC%20process%20(October%202011).pdf>. Accessed 5 March 2014.
Jo Hyeran. 2015. Compliant Rebels: Rebel Groups and International Law in World Politics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Jo Hyeran, and Thomson Catarina. 2014. Legitimacy and Compliance with International Law: Access to Detainees in Civil Conflicts 1991–2006. British Journal of Political Science 44 (2):323–55.
Kahan Dan M. 1997. Social Influence, Social Meaning, and Deterrence. Virginia Law Review 83 (2):349–95.
Kim Hunjoon, and Sikkink Kathryn. 2010. Explaining the Deterrence Effect of Human Rights Prosecutions for Transitional Countries. International Studies Quarterly 54 (4):939–63.
King Gary, Honaker James, Joseph Anne, and Scheve Kenneth. 2001. Analyzing Incomplete Political Science Data: An Alternative Algorithm for Multiple Imputation. American Political Science Review 95 (1):4969.
Kleffner Jann K. 2008. Complementarity in the Rome Statute and National Criminal Jurisdictions. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Kleiman Mark. 2009. When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Klick Jonathan, and Tabarrok Alexander. 2010. Police, Prisons and Punishment: The Empirical Evidence on Crime Deterrence. In Handbook on the Economics of Crime, edited by Benson Bruce L. and Zimmerman Paul R., 127–44. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
Klick Jonathan, MacDonald John, and Stratmann Thomas. 2012. Mobile Phones and Crime Deterrence: An Underappreciated Link. In Research Handbook on the Economics of Criminal Law, edited by Harel Alon and Hylton Keith N., 243–56. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
Koskenniemi Martti. 2002. Between Impunity and Show Trials. Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law 6 (1):132.
Ku Julian, and Nzelibe Jide. 2006. Do International Criminal Tribunals Deter or Exacerbate Humanitarian Atrocities? Washington University Law Review 84 (4):777833.
Lessa Francesca, and Payne Leigh, eds. 2012. Amnesty in the Age of Human Rights Accountability: Comparative and International Perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Lupu Yonatan. 2013. Best Evidence: The Role of Information in Domestic Judicial Enforcement of International Human Rights Agreements. International Organization 67 (3):469503.
McCarthy Bill. 2002. New Economics of Sociological Criminology. Annual Review of Sociology 28:417–42.
McKay Fiona. 2004. The Role of Human Rights NGOs in Relation to ICC Investigations . Discussion Paper. New York: Human Rights First.
Meernik James, and Shairick Jamie. 2011. Promoting International Humanitarian Law: Strong States and the Ratification of the ICC Treaty. International Area Studies Review 14 (2):2348.
Meernik James, Aloisi Rosa, Sowell Marsha, and Nichols Angela. 2012. The Impact of Human Rights Organizations on Naming and Shaming Campaigns. Journal of Conflict Resolution 56 (2):233–56.
Mendeloff David. 2014. Punish or Persuade? The ICC and the Limits to Coercion in Cases of Ongoing Violence. Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, March, Toronto, Canada.
Mitchell Sara, and Powell Emilia Justyna. 2011. Domestic Law Goes Global: Legal Traditions and International Court. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Morrow James. 2014. Order Within Anarchy: The Laws of War as an International Institution. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Moustafa Tamir. 2014. Law and Courts in Authoritarian Regimes. Annual Review of Law and Social Science 10:281–99.
Mueller Susanne D. 2014. Kenya and the International Criminal Court: Politics, the Election and the Law. Journal of Eastern African Studies 8 (1):2542.
Mullins Christopher W., and Rothe Dawn L.. 2010. The Ability of the International Criminal Court to Deter Violations of International Criminal Law: A Theoretical Assessment. International Criminal Law Review 10 (5):771–86.
Mushanga Tibamanya Mwene. 2011. Criminology in Africa. 2nd ed. Nairobi: Law Africa.
Nagin Daniel S. 1998. Criminal Deterrence Research at the Outset of the Twenty-First Century. Crime and Justice 23 (1):142.
Nagin Daniel S., and Paternoster Raymond. 1993. Enduring Individual Differences and Rational Choice Theories of Crime. Law and Society Review 27 (3):467–96.
Nagin Daniel S., and Pogarsky Greg. 2001. Integrating Celerity, Impulsivity, and Extralegal Sanction Threats into a Model of General Deterrence: Theory and Evidence. Criminology 39 (4):865–92.
Neumayer Eric. 2005. Do International Human Rights Treaties Improve Respect for Human Rights? Journal of Conflict Resolution 49 (6):925–53.
Nielsen Richard. 2013. Rewarding Human Rights? Selective Aid Sanctions Against Repressive States. International Studies Quarterly 57 (4):791803.
Nouwen Sarah. 2014. Complementarity in the Line of Fire: The Catalysing Effect of the International Criminal Court in Uganda and Sudan. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Nouwen Sarah, and Werner Wouter. 2011. Doing Justice to the Political: The International Criminal Court in Uganda and Sudan. European Journal of International Law 21 (4):941–65.
O'Brien Éadaoin, Engstrom Par, and Cantor David. 2011. In the Shadow of the ICC: Colombia and International Criminal Justice. London: Human Rights Consortium, University of London.
Open Society Foundation. 2010. Promoting Complementarity in Practice: Lessons from Three ICC Situation Countries. Open Society Justice Initiative Report to the Assembly of States Parties, 7 December 2010. New York: Open Society Foundation.
Pinker Steven. 2011. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. New York: Viking.
Rincke Johannes, and Traxler Christian. 2011. Enforcement Spillovers. Review of Economics and Statistics 93 (4):1224–34.
Risse Thomas, Ropp Steve C., and Sikkink Kathryn, eds. 1999. The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Rodman Kenneth. 2008. Darfur and the Limits of Legal Deterrence. Human Rights Quarterly 30 (3):529–60.
Schabas William. 2011. An Introduction to the International Criminal Court. 4th ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Sikkink Kathryn. 2011. The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics. New York: Norton.
Simmons Beth A. 2009. Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Simmons Beth A., and Danner Allison M.. 2010. Credible Commitments and the International Criminal Court. International Organization 64 (2):225–56.
Sivakumaran Sandesh. 2012. The Law of Non-International Armed Conflict. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Slaughter Anne-Marie, and Burke-White William. 2006. The Future of International Law Is Domestic. Harvard International Law Journal 47 (2):327–52.
Snyder Jack, and Vinjamuri Leslie. 2003. Trials and Errors: Principle and Pragmatism in Strategies of International Justice. International Security 28 (3):544.
Stahn Carsten, and El Zeidy Mohamed. 2011. The International Criminal Court and Complementarity: From Theory to Practice. Vols. 1 and 2. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Terracino Julio. 2007. National Implementation of ICC Crimes: Impact of National Jurisdictions and the ICC. Journal of International Criminal Justice 5 (2):421–40.
Themnér Lotta, and Wallensteen Peter. 2013. Armed Conflicts, 1946–2012. Journal of Peace Research 50 (4):509–21.
Tittle Charles R. 1980. Sanctions and Social Deviance: The Question of Deterrence. New York: Praeger.
Tittle Charles R., Botchkovar Ekaterina V., and Antonaccio Olena. 2011. Criminal Contemplation, National Context, and Deterrence. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 27 (2):225–49.
Tyler Tom. 2006. Why People Obey the Law. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Ulfelder Jay, and Valentino Benjamin. 2008. Assessing Risks of State-Sponsored Mass Killing. Research Report, Political Instability Task Force, Arlington, VA.
Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP). 2013. UCDP Battle-Related Deaths Dataset v.5-2013. Uppsala, Sweden: Uppsala University. Available at <www.ucdp.uu.se>. Accessed 20 January 2014.
Walter Barbara F. 2009. Reputation and Civil War: Why Separatist Conflicts Are So Violent. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Williams Kirk R., and Hawkins Richard. 1986. Perceptual Research on General Deterrence: A Critical Review. Law and Society Review 20 (4):545–72.
Weinstein Jeremy. 2007. Inside Rebellion: Politics of Insurgent Violence. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Wright Valerie. 2010. Deterrence in Criminal Justice: Evaluating Certainty vs. Severity of Punishment. Washington, DC: The Sentencing Project.
Zimring Franklin E., and Hawkins Gordon. 1973. Deterrence: The Legal Threat in Crime Control. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
UNKNOWN
Supplementary Materials

Jo and Simmons supplementary material
Figures and Tables

 Unknown (115 KB)
115 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 169
Total number of PDF views: 1481 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 3367 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

A correction has been issued for this article: