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Odd Friends: Rethinking the Relationship between the ICC and State Sovereignty

50 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2015 Last revised: 10 Jun 2017

Marco Bocchese

Northwestern University, Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science, Students

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

This paper discusses how delegating criminal jurisdiction to the ICC can enhance -- rather than undermine -- state sovereignty. I hereby posit national governments resort to international adjudication when they experience a dramatic gap between de jure and de facto sovereignty -- not unlike an individual who claims property over a good, but does not enjoy possession thereof. Investing the ICC with jurisdiction does not simply reaffirm legal sovereignty, but also undermines externally-sponsored power-sharing agreements which de facto legitimize insurgent grievances. Through within-case analyses of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Côte d'Ivoire situations, this paper adds to the scholarship on the legalization of international politics, showing that the governments of Kinshasa and Abidjan resisted external pressures by strategically employing international legal means. Generally, this paper aims to emphasize state agency in the relationship between African states and the ICC -- an aspect generally neglected in the scholarship on treaty ratification.

Keywords: State sovereignty, International justice, International Criminal Court, ICC, Congo, DRC, State agency, Côte d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, Joseph Kabila

JEL Classification: K19, K33, K42, N47

Suggested Citation

Bocchese, Marco, Odd Friends: Rethinking the Relationship between the ICC and State Sovereignty (2015). New York University Journal of International Law and Politics (JILP), Volume 49, Issue 2 (2017): 339-387.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2582453 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2582453

Marco Bocchese (Contact Author)

Northwestern University, Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science, Students ( email )

601 University Place (Scott Hall)
Evanston, IL 60201
United States

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