Odd Friends: Rethinking the Relationship between the ICC and State Sovereignty
50 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2015 Last revised: 10 Jun 2017
Date Written: 2015
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: Suggested Citation