The ICC’s Intervention in Uganda: Which Rule of Law Does it Promote?
31 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2012 Last revised: 5 Sep 2012
Date Written: August 1, 2012
It is often assumed that the International Criminal Court promotes the rule of law: the ICC is a court and courts enhance the rule of law. It is usually left unspecified how the ICC promotes the rule of law, and which rule of law it promotes: the rule of law at the international level, the domestic level or something in between? And what is that rule of law that it promotes? Is it the rule of law as understood in international development programmes, in which courts, acts and the adoption of international legal jargon are ‘benchmarks’ of the rule of law? Or does the ICC also promote the rule of law in its legal-philosophical meaning as a latticework of ideals?
This chapter uses the ICC intervention in Uganda as a case study to focus on the relationship between the ICC and the promotion of the rule of law at the domestic level. It argues that, seen through the first lens of ‘rule of law promotion’, the evaluation of the ICC’s impact on the rule of law in Uganda can be positive: the ICC’s intervention has spurred the creation of laws and courts and has led to an increase in references to international standards. The legal-philosophical lens, however, reveals that these developments have not necessarily enhanced the aims of the rule of law. Moreover, the ICC’s intervention has unleashed other dynamics that are in synergy with some aims of the rule of law (supremacy of law and accountability) but in tension with others (equality before the law, separation of powers, fairness and legal certainty).
A slightly different version of this paper has been published as:
Sarah M.H. Nouwen, 'The ICC’s Intervention in Uganda: Which Rule of Law Does It Promote?', in Michael Zürn, André Nollkaemper and R. Peerenboom (eds), Rule of Law Dynamics (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2012) 278
Keywords: rule of law, Uganda, International Criminal Court, donors, accountability, equality, fairness, legal certainty, norm entrepreneurs
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation