Has the International Criminal Court (ICC) lived up to expectations? Or its potential? I seek to answer these questions and build on theories of compliance, cooperation and deterrence though a pair of papers on the deterrent effects of ICC action and state cooperation with the Court. The first, published in International Interactions, examines the potentially perverse consequences of the ICC’s intervention in Libya, asking: how does the threat of prosecution affect conflict dynamics. The second paper, co-authored with Scott Straus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, examines state cooperation with the ICC. This paper was published in Human Rights Quarterly, and we recently wrote on the topic for The Monkey Cage. The abstracts and links to the articles are below.
The Deterrent Effects of the International Criminal Court Evidence from Libya: The International Criminal Court (ICC) was designed to try the worst war criminals for crimes against humanity, genocide and other instances of mass human suffering. By providing a permanent, international mechanism to hold perpetrators of mass human rights abuse accountable, the ICC is also meant to be a deterrent—to prevent potential genocidaires from committing systematic human rights abuses in the first place. But what if the effect is actually quite the opposite? While advocates of international justice have made conjectures about the effect of the ICC on stopping human rights abuses, the existing scholarship does not empirically test assumptions about the relationship between international criminal justice and violence. This article outlines the causal mechanisms by which the ICC could affect on-going violence and tests these assumptions using event count models of the relationship between the ICC and the level of violence against civilians in Libya during the 2011 crisis. These analyses suggest that the ICC’s involvement in conflict does have a dampening effect on the level of mass atrocities committed. The results also call for a broad and sustained research agenda on the effect of international accountability efforts on on-going violence.
Who Pursues the Perpetrators? State Cooperation with the ICC: (With Scott Straus) Despite the International Criminal Court’s increased prominence in international politics, there remains marked variation in states’ cooperation with the ICC. This paper asks, why do states cooperate with the ICC following an indictment, arrest warrant or request for information and how do these patterns of cooperation affect the Court’s ability to constrain state behavior? Using comparative case studies of Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Libya, we suggest that states’ cooperation with the ICC is a function of domestic political calculations, tempered by states’ international partners and ambitions and the ICC’s own learning process.