There are two diverging schools of thought that discuss how the ICC, and the pursuit of international justice in general, might influence violence. On the one hand, optimists argue that the threat of prosecution deters atrocities. Consistent with the claim of Human Rights Watch’s Kenneth Roth that “behind much of the savagery of modern history lies impunity, "1 the assumption is that the promise of legal accountability can prevent the next Holocaust or Rwandan Genocide. On the other hand, pessimists worry that if the warring parties are vulnerable to international criminal prosecution, they may decide to keep fighting when they would otherwise make peace. During the 2011 Libyan conflict, for instance, the Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl speculated that “Libyans are stuck in a civil war in large part because of Gaddafi’s international prosecution.”2 The current debate contains some valuable points. However, it is too simplistic to argue that the ICC is exclusively helpful or exclusively harmful. In fact, the debate between optimists and pessimists is missing the big picture: the positive and perverse effects of the ICC are intimately linked. In this post, I will make the case that a credible threat of international justice should both prolong ongoing conflicts and deter future atrocities. My argument hinges on a previously neglected factor: how international justice shapes the viability of exile as a retirement option for abusive leaders.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||The International Criminal Court|
|Subtitle of host publication||Contemporary Challenges and Reform Proposals|
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2020|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)