Can the International Criminal Court Succeed?: An Analysis of the Empirical Evidence of Violence Prevention
18 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2020
Date Written: February 10, 2020
At the heart of this Article is a question: Can the International Criminal Court (ICC) succeed? This is an important question and one that scholars have grappled with since the Court’s inception. Despite some early detractors, there was significant optimism about the ICC’s future during its early years. Recently, however, there has been growing discontent with it. This has led several African nations to threaten to withdraw from the ICC. It has also led the African Union to begin the process of setting up its own international criminal tribunal, partly as a way to insulate African states from ICC jurisdiction. At the same time, several high-profile investigations and prosecutions have collapsed. Scholars have also become increasingly critical of the Court and its work. As a result, there appears to be more doubt about the ICC’s ability to succeed now than at any other point in its history.
So, are the critics correct? Should we be skeptical of the ICC and its prospects for success? No. This Article argues that, not only can the ICC succeed, there is good evidence that it is already succeeding. It reviews and analyzes a number of recent empirical articles that have convincingly demonstrated that the ICC does reduce or prevent violations of international criminal law. Prevention of violations is the principal goal of the ICC. Therefore, by preventing violations the ICC is already accomplishing its most important goal. In other words, it is succeeding. This may not be the dominant narrative about the Court, but it probably should be.
Keywords: ICC, International Criminal Court, empirical, violence prevention, goals, success
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation