Conditional Deterrence: The International Criminal Court and Human Rights Open Access

Schoner, Rachel Jennifer (2015)

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The recent movement toward international institutions for law, justice, and peace has culminated in the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the Rome Statute in 2002. The Court has become a dividing issue as supporters claim that it will deter massive human rights violations while critics cite the treaty's legal vagueness, invasion of state sovereignty, and African-centered prosecutions as major problems. Little is actually known about the Court's effect on human rights abuses. What influence has the ICC had? Has it worked and improved human rights? As a middle ground between idealists and skeptics, I present a theory of conditional deterrence and propose conditions under which the Court can be effective. I distinguish between state and rebel actors and examine three dependent variables capturing both violence against civilians and physical integrity rights. Using both descriptive statistics and linear regressions to test my hypotheses, I find mixed results for conditional deterrence. The year of ratification marks a decrease in repression, but the entire data analysis suggest a complicated story. Joining the ICC, by signing and ratifying the Rome Statute, is associated with more violence against civilians but fewer physical integrity rights. In general, domestic institutions successfully constrain state actors. Foreign aid and external support allow both rebel and state actors to expand their repressive programs, but aid specifically from States Parties successfully decreases violence. The analysis of military strength produces mixed results and is difficult to generalize. An important policy implication for this study is the prospect that targeted foreign may be able to successfully deter human rights violations. While several puzzles remain unanswered, such as the divergent findings for the different dependent variables, this study is an important step in analyzing the effect of the International Criminal Court on human rights.

Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

Literature Review. 3

Background of the International Criminal Court. 3

Why do states join the International Criminal Court?. 4

Impact of the ICC on human rights. 7

Theory and Hypotheses. 10

Research Design. 15

Dependent Variables. 16

Independent Variables. 18

Methodology. 21

Results and Analysis. 21

State Analysis. 23

Rebel Analysis. 28

Potential Methodological Concerns. 29


Conclusion. 33


Figures and Tables. 39

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