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Global Goals versus Bilateral Barriers? The International Criminal Court in the Context of US Relations with Germany and Japan

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 January 2012

Institutes of East Asian Studies and Political Science, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany


This article deals with the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a point of contention in US relations with Germany and Japan. Both countries rank among America's closest allies, but – quite contrary to the US – they have also been supporting the establishment and operation of the ICC, although each to a different extent. The article analyzes the reasons for the three countries’ diverging attitudes and policies towards the establishment and operation of the Court, and contrasts Germany's and Japan's handling of the ICC issue vis-à-vis the US. It suggests that Berlin's idealistic position and full ICC support on the one hand, as well as Japan's cautious and pragmatic approach on the other, are both rooted not only in their individual evaluations of the ICC's institutional design, but also the varying degrees of their bi/multilateral orientation and the extent of their ‘dependence’ on US security commitments.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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