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How Should the International Criminal Court Be Assessed?

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been subject to a significant amount of scholarly debate since its inception in 2002. As part of the wider expansion of the field of transitional justice, it has become a ‘well established fixture on the global terrain of human rights’ (Nagy, 2008: 275). By intervening in active wars, the Court has ‘emerged as an increasingly relevant actor in ongoing conflicts’ and a central pillar of the ‘peace versus justice’ debate (Kersten, 2016: 4-5). The Court has attracted a growing amount of scholarly attention and ‘the critical note has come to dominate the discourse’ (Robinson, 2015: 324). This may in part be down to unrealistically high expectations (ibid; Chung, 2008: 235; Cassese, 2006: 434) but it also requires us to clarify the criteria by which we are assessing its relative success or failure, to think about ‘the norms, values and expectations against which it is reasonable to evaluate it’ (Clark, 2018: 24).

This essay will begin with a critical assessment of the two main schools of thought used in assessing the impact of the ICC, most commonly referred to as legalism and pragmatism (Vinjamuri and Snyder, 2004; Cacciatori, 2018: 390). Legalism begins from the belief that universal criminal accountability is a positive end in itself. It sees that international legal norms and institutions can work in beneficial tandem with domestic jurisdictions to end a culture of impunity for perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and other atrocities, providing justice for its victims and creating a powerful deterrence effect. In this framework, the ICC is assessed by its ability to remain outside of political interference and to pursue objective, impartial prosecutions. Pragmatism, on the other hand, sees international criminal justice as inherently political. In this understanding, the ICC is an institution that needs to navigate the complexities of international politics to produce the best outcomes in conflict and post-conflict situations. According to this approach, the ICC should therefore be assessed by its contribution to conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

The essay will then look at different methodological approaches that have been used for assessing the ICC. Epistemologically, there is a divide in the literature between those who evaluate the logical consistency of the court’s mandate, actions and expected outcomes, and those who seek to infer its impact from empirical observations. These contributions can be considered respectively along the lines of deductive and inductive reasoning (Kersten, 2016: 10). Empirical studies of the ICC can also be split into two broad camps: those that rely on in-depth case studies or comparative analysis and those that seek to find statistical significance and understand the impact of specific variables.

Throughout the essay I will argue that the pragmatic school offers the better framework for assessing the ICC. It is more valid to evaluate the Court’s impact on the dynamics of conflict and peace than simply an abstract and imposed notion of justice. I will make the case that, while it is appropriate to analyse the Court’s own conceptual logic, ultimately its impact should be assessed empirically. Given the limited number of ICC interventions, I will argue that case studies and comparative analyses tend to have greater validity than quantitative and statistical methods. I will conclude with some thoughts on the value of this critical exercise and its implications for future research.

Criteria for assessing the ICC

The literature that critically assesses the role of the ICC can broadly be categorised into two groups: legalism and pragmatism. As Vinjamuri and Snyder (2004: 346) have said, these two ‘general orientations’ are premised respectively on a ‘logic of appropriateness’ and a ‘logic of consequences’. Scholars have characterised these camps as the ‘naïve “judicial romantic” who blindly pursues justice and the cynical “political realist” who seeks peace by appeasing the powerful’ (Akhavan, 2009: 625). These have also been called ‘the utopia critique [which] describes a decision as unanchored, unsupported, unwise, unrealistic, or unhelpful’ and ‘the apology critique [which] describes a decision as unprincipled, unambitious, or uninspiring’ (Robinson, 2015: 327). We can see in these two groups a reflection of the wider ‘peace versus justice’ debate in which the value of judicial indictments is set against the need to negotiate pragmatic solutions to wars (Mendeloff, 2018: 410).


The ICC can be seen as the ‘institutional zenith’ of the legalist approach and its establishment as a result of legalism’s ascent during the 1990s (Cacciatori, 2018: 389-390). In line with legalist ideals, ‘ending impunity goes to the heart of the ICC’s mandate’ (Kersten, 2016: 21). Assessing the Court’s impact from this perspective, then, involves measuring it against ‘universal standards of justice’ (Vinjamuri and Snyder, 2004: 346) as a court that ‘seeks impartiality, rising above the political fray to investigate and prosecute suspects without fear or favour’ (Clark, 2018: 22). The Court indeed holds itself to these legalistic standards, arguing that ‘the broader matter of international peace and security is not the responsibility of the Prosecutor’ (ICC, 2007: 9). Along this line of scrutiny, the ICC’s political impartiality and independence is ‘a key test of its credibility and legitimacy’ (Tiemessen, 2014: 458). Criticism of the ICC has most often come from the charge that it is politically compromised; its legitimacy ‘hinges’ on its independence, yet it is ‘utterly dependent’ on powerful states for its international mandate and host states for the practicalities of investigations and arrests (Robinson, 2015: 338). Cases referred to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) by ‘political actors’ (the UN Security Council or member state self-referrals) are seen as less likely to result in impartial prosecutions, creating ‘dangerous impartiality gaps’. However, this is seen as being more viable operationally (Tiemessen, 2014: 445). Nonetheless, the Court loses credibility when relying on state officials (Clark, 2018: 37; Roach, 2011: 550) yet has struggled to ‘not simply allow itself to become a puppet of sovereigns’ designs’ (Megret, 2015: 35). The legalist framework has also exposed failings in terms of the universal applicability of criminal law. Scholars have pointed out the fundamental discrepancies between human rights, humanitarian law and criminal justice (Robinson, 2008) in light of the fact that obligations for enforcement and policing lie with individual states (Chung, 2008). Legalist frameworks can also be applied to the universality of ICC jurisdiction. The Court is seen to be enacting justice on behalf of ‘humanity’ (Megret, 2015: 28) yet is criticised for applying ‘alien and distant’ justice on behalf of liberal democracies and predominantly in African situations (Nagy, 2008: 275). Within the cases it does investigate, the Court’s mandate has been criticized for rendering it ‘unable to respond to violent conflict that spills across borders’ (ibid: 283) or to prosecute perpetrators below a certain rank (Akhavan, 2009: 631).

While the legalism critique mostly focuses on justice outcomes, it does emphasise two ways in which judicial procedures can contribute to wider goals of conflict resolution and prevention: ‘through its pedagogical mechanism of spreading the rule of law and through deterrence’ (Branch, 2011: 181). Firstly, the ICC itself has argued that its impact does not simply rely on the prosecutions that it undertakes, because ‘the absence of trials by the ICC, as a consequence of the effective function of national systems, would be a major success’ (ICC, 2003: 4). Within this strand of legalism, the activities of the Court aim to contribute to a wider improvement in domestic standards (Chung, 2008: 230) and a virtuous cycle of systemic social and legal reforms (Lipscomb, 2006: 194-195). The Court promotes its principle of complementarity, in which it only pursues cases when national courts are ‘unwilling or unable to prosecute’ and works alongside domestic institutions to avoid infringing sovereignty and preserve political independence (ibid: 199). As such, the Court has legitimately been criticised from a legalist perspective when it falls short of this ideal, behaving as if it is ‘superior to the domestic realm and often actively undermining it’ (Clark, 2018: 17). Secondly, Schabas (2007: 57) has said that ‘deterrence is supposed to be one of the purposes of international criminal justice in general, and the International Criminal Court in particular’. This concept rests on the assumptions that individuals cannot escape criminal responsibility for the actions of groups under their command, that trials can break a cycle of violent retribution and that justice will be seen to be done (Vinjamuri and Snyder, 20004: 347). The ICC has consequently been criticised for pursuing such ‘elusive’ objectives (Akhavan, 2009: 628) that ‘suffer from a lack of rigorous empirical analysis’ (Kersten, 2016: 24). The logic of ICC deterrence has also been questioned, on the basis that a failure to secure arrests and prosecutions could lead to an ‘anti-deterrent effect’ (ibid: 25). The legalism critique therefore finds itself straddling two often contradictory lines of thought, in which the Court has a moral duty to end impunity for genocidaires (Akhavan, 2009: 654) but is also evaluated by its impact on ongoing and future conflicts through its reinforcement of deterrence and the rule of law.


The pragmatism approach starts from the position that ‘the consequences of trials for the consolidation of peace and democracy trump the goal of justice per se’ (Vinjamuri and Snyder, 2004: 353). The Court itself recognises that it was ‘created on the premise that justice is an essential component of a stable peace’ (ICC, 2007: 8) and the pragmatism line of critique therefore evaluates its impact on this wider basis. Unlike the ad hoc courts set up in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the ICC is a permanent institution with a mandate to initiate proceedings during conflict situations. It is argued that this ‘demonstrated willingness to intervene in ongoing wars necessitates a critical examination of how it affects the ability of combatants to achieve lasting peace’ (Prorok, 2017: 213). ICC interventions have the potential to create a contradiction with ongoing peace talks by portraying one side as ‘criminals’ (Perrot, 2010: 199) and reinforcing an unhelpful and reductive ‘good versus evil’ conflict narrative (Kersten, 2016: 144). By applying individual criminal responsibility to acts committed in war zones, ‘threats of prosecution can actually impede peacemaking, prolong conflict, and multiply the atrocities associated with them’ (Cobban, 2009). By prioritising indictments and prosecutions, ‘the ICC may directly deter humanitarian intervention and peacekeeping’ (Neumayer, 2009: 662). This critique argues that stability and peace should be prioritised because ‘the key to ending wartime civilian violence is ending wars themselves’ (Mendeloff, 2018: 411). This rationale can also be used to justify ICC involvement in cases where doing so increases the prospects for peace. There is an argument that ‘fear of arrest might cause leaders to negotiate their own peaceful exit from power’ (ibid: 401), while Simmons and Danner (2010) advance a ‘credible commitment theory’ which sees ICC signatories as tying their hands to peaceful processes, thus limiting their ability to resort to arms.

Where legalism expects the ICC to be impartial and to operate outside the realm of politics, pragmatism argues that it should accept its inherently political nature and utilise its opportunities for the best outcomes in terms of peace. Branch (2011: 181-182) has argued that ‘ICC interventions inescapably take place in deeply political contexts within which it tends to be instrumentalized to unaccountable political power’. The fact that the Court relies on host states for operational support opens itself up to manipulation and one-sided interventions, with ‘a number of detrimental consequences for peace’ (ibid: 186). The inference here is that by relying on state cooperation ‘the ICC will serve the interests of the state which is one party to the conflict’ (Robinson, 2015: 327) or else face the possibility that ‘it might be crippled by the absence of such cooperation’ (Cassese, 2006: 435). In wider geopolitical terms, the ICC regularly faces criticism that it is ‘acting as a servant of the permanent five, or [is] a tool of powerful Western countries’ (Robinson, 2015: 328). With its almost exclusive focus to date on African conflicts, the Court is viewed as the ‘the latest in a long line of international actors’ to intervene in the continent (Clark, 2018: 12) and has been criticised for doing so with ‘insufficient deference to national and community-level responses to mass conflict… [producing] a range of negative effects for African societies’ (ibid: 17). It is these real-world implications for civilians in ongoing conflict situations that justifies the expansion of the pragmatism critique over legalism. As Kersten (2016: 39) has said, ‘there is a slow but welcome acknowledgement that international criminal justice should be studied through the lens of peacebuilding’.

Methods for assessing the ICC

Having established the two dominant criteria frameworks, I will now explore the methods that researchers have used for assessing the ICC. In general, the literature can be divided into those methods which question the logic of the ICC and those which empirically measure its impact. Of those who seek to observe the effects of the Court, most adopt a case study or comparative approach, while others have tried to draw out more generalised statistical inferences. I argue that, while it is valid to point out logical contradictions in the Court’s behaviours, on the question of its impact on peace and justice we must rely on empirical evidence. Given the relative paucity of ICC interventions, however, we must be cautious with attempts at universal explanations and rely instead on context and heavily nuanced analyses.

Logic and empiricism

Many of the commentaries on the ICC have relied heavily on a logical analysis of the Court’s impact based on assumed behaviours of various actors. This is based partly on the difficulty of ‘proving’ the effects of its actions. The concept of deterrence, for example, is usually inferred from the logical result that fear of arrest would have on a potential perpetrator. In other words, ‘while we can readily point to those who are not deterred, it is nearly impossible to identify those who are’ (Schabas, 2007: 57). As Cobban (2009) has said, ‘proving deterrence is, admittedly, a tough task’. Mendeloff (2018: 415) has dissected the logical incompatibility of expecting ICC indictments to simultaneously act as ‘weapons of pure punishment’ and as a ‘bargaining chip to change behaviour’. Similarly, the theory of premeditated sequencing – the belief that justice can be pursued once peace has been established – is logically undermined by the necessity of a leader agreeing to a revocable amnesty, but cannot be disproved empirically because it has never happened (Kersten, 2016: 31-32). Robinson (2015: 334/347) has suggested that some charges held against the ICC are logically incompatible and put the Court in a ‘lose-lose’ situation by presenting it with insurmountable paradoxes and non-falsifiable hypotheses.

Most critical assessments of the ICC, however, have relied on empirical observations. This is of course in line with the idea that ‘the main objective of any research is to confront theory with the empirical world’ (Dubois, 2002: 555). The Court’s ability to ‘reduce the commission of mass crimes and support peace…[will] ultimately be the best test’ of its contribution (Simmons and Danner, 2010: 254). Conducting such empirical observations are not without inherent difficulties, however. The ICC can be presented with ‘distant, long-term and sometimes conceptually ‘fuzzy’ goals whose ultimate achievability is unclear’ (Kersten, 2016: 38). Given the different methods and timings of ICC intervention, we should expect complex and variable outcomes (ibid: 63) that defy measurement in ‘a mechanistic “cause and effect” manner’ (Akhavan, 2009: 636). These challenges to empiricism are not unique to this topic among the social sciences, but it remains true that ‘clear and compelling evidence about the effects of ICC intervention remains elusive and contentious’ (Mendeloff, 2018: 397). Notwithstanding these difficulties, however, when it comes to assessing the Court’s effect on peace and justice, it is fair to say that ‘ultimately, this is an empirical question’ (ibid: 397).

Case studies and comparative analysis

Within the body of empirical analyses into the ICC, the bulk of evidence has been gathered by case study research. Case study methods allow researchers to ‘retain the holistic and meaningful characteristics of real-life events’ (Yin, 2009: 4). They allow for a systematic investigation of related events and the description and explanation of the underlying phenomena (Berg, 2009: 317). Specifically, in the field of international criminal justice, case studies can reveal ‘how the credible threat of punishment, or the mere stigmatization of indictment, influences the behavior of such ruthless leaders’ (Akhavan, 2009: 634). By providing context-rich empirical insights, case studies can prove valuable in developing and testing theory (Dubois, 2002: 555), but are limited in their ability to provide generalisations beyond the individual cases that are being studied (Thomas, 2010: 575-576; Yin, 2009: 15). These limitations are not unique to case study approaches but are found in many political science methods, and case studies are able to effectively use comparative techniques, which provide ‘the most obvious route to testing theoretical propositions’ (Hopkin, 2002: 250-251).

There are different approaches to the comparative case study method found across social science and in analyses of the ICC. The ‘method of difference’ aims to compare similar cases differing only in the variable being studied, while the ‘method of agreement’ selects cases that only have the selected variable in common (ibid: 252-3). This approach often suffers from a ‘too many variables, too few countries’ problem in which the limited number of available cases restricts the potential options for comparison (ibid: 255). This problem is particularly evident when comparing ICC cases, with the Court having only opened thirteen full investigations to date (ICC, 2020). Nevertheless, researchers have chosen comparative cases in this area for a variety of reasons. Kersten (2016) chose to compare the cases in Uganda and Libya in order to illuminate their differences. He stated that ‘the divergence in referral type, the targets of ICC indictments, and the existence of official negotiations provide valuable differences and possible comparative insights into the effects of the ICC across these two cases’ (12). Cacciatori (2018: 387) chose to compare the cases of Sudan and Kenya for their similarities, because in both situations ‘the ICC faced the dilemmas arising from prosecuting the most powerful actors in the country’. Clark (2018: 6) analysed the cases of Uganda and DRC in order to highlight the ‘structural features of the ICC’s work as well as important difference that stem from the varied local contexts in which the Court operates’. In depth case studies like these also have the benefit of allowing a longer timeframe of study, facilitating ‘a wide range of methodological approaches and different angles of analysis, extending from field-based research to participant observation in ICC cases’ (ibid: 9). Tiemmesen (2014: 445), however, selected six of the eight conflicts then under ICC jurisdiction, arguing that ‘collectively the case studies present variation in the nature of referrals and degree of cooperation, which makes for an instructive comparison and reveals an identifiable pattern of politicisation’. Comparing multiple case studies allows for extensive analytical inference but should not necessarily be relied on for statistical significance (Dubois, 2002: 557-558).

Large-N studies and statistical analysis

There have been fewer attempts to assess the ICC using large-N data sets and statistical techniques. The aim of these types of study is to test the relationship between variables across a large number of cases. This process allows researchers to make stronger arguments about causal links between variables and to ‘establish robust and parsimonious generalisations’ about political phenomena (Hopkin, 2002: 255). One of the main drawbacks of such an approach is ‘the paucity of available cases and the even greater paucity of available data on cases’ (ibid: 258), which is certainly the case when studying the ICC, and the potential to overlook the accuracy of concepts and measurements while focusing on sophisticated statistical techniques (ibid: 260). One way to measure the impact of the ICC, which the Court itself regularly invokes to justify its own actions, is perception surveys of affected populations. These surveys often show ‘that large segments of affected communities support the idea of prosecutions for high-level atrocity suspects’, although the studies tend to suffer from limited conceptual clarity given different understandings of justice, peace and reconciliation (Clark, 2018: 101). When trying to demonstrate its impact on ongoing conflict, ‘the work of the Court must be associated with a decrease in, or cessation of, direct, physical violence’ (Kersten, 2016: 37) yet there has been a lack of systematic testing of these hypotheses in cases of ICC intervention (Mendeloff, 2018: 415).

A number of scholars have attempted to draw statistical conclusions about ICC interventions. Hillebrecht (2012), for example, used ‘time-series intervention analyses’ to test the relationship between levels of violence in Libya and the ICC intervention. This approach, however, runs the risk of ‘decontextualizing political violence, [and] attributing responsibility for increases and decreases in violence to the ICC without adequately considering other factors which also contribute to alterations in levels of violence’ (Kersten, 2016: 38). Statistical studies have sought to widen the data set by looking at potential implications for ratifications of the ICC’s founding Rome Statute, rather than interventions by the Court itself. Prorok (2017) has tested country ratifications and ICC interventions against data on civil conflicts, controlling for a number of variables such as the risk of domestic punishment and the relative levels of civilian deaths caused by governments and rebels. She concludes by saying that ‘the findings indicate that when risks of domestic punishment are low the ICC’s pursuit of justice undermines peace by threatening leaders’ political survival and personal freedom’ (ibid: 215). Simmons and Danner (2010) test their ‘credible commitment theory’ by modelling ICC ratification against the durability of peace arrangements in civil wars. These studies have a certain amount of validity in demonstrating whether there is a correlation between ICC involvement and conflict outcomes, but they struggle to tell us why that might be the case and to identify ‘extraneous variance’, meaning the impact of factors outside the proposition being tested (Hopkin, 2002: 253). To have an understanding of the full complexities of peace and justice in these contexts, more in-depth case studies are required.


This essay has argued that the most appropriate way to evaluate the success or failure of the International Criminal Court is to apply comparative case study methods to a critique based in pragmatism. Moving on from the dominance of the legalist perspective during the 1990s, this is becoming the leading approach to answering questions in the ‘peace versus justice’ debate. Legalist approaches apply value to ‘justice’ as a goal in itself. Holding perpetrators to a standard of individual criminal accountability is seen as a right to be exercised on behalf of victims and an obligation on behalf of humanity. Yet legalism also argues that ending impunity, creating deterrence, and developing the rule of law provide positive outcomes in terms of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. These criteria present the ICC with a ‘contradictory assignment’ (Robinson, 2015: 330). On this basis, pragmatism is the more appropriate lens for evaluation. If peace is a metric of success then it should be included in its entirety, and the Court should be recognised as an inherently political actor. A pragmatic approach allows us to consider peace and justice holistically in terms of their real-world impact on the lives of civilians. Doing so requires us to consider the logical consistency of the Court’s underpinnings but, more importantly, to empirically assess the impact that interventions have on ending conflicts and building peace. Statistical studies attempting to describe relationships between variables in cases of ICC involvement tend to be unsatisfactory. Tracking violence according to ICC actions removes political context and ascribes unjustified significance to the Court’s actions. We should, for example, ‘expect that little attention is paid by ICC targets to the dropping of arrest warrants compared to the dropping of bombs’ (Kersten: 2016: 47). Case studies and small-N comparative techniques are better placed to understand the full complexities and implications of ICC interventions, which is reflected by their prevalence in the literature.

This exercise has identified some of the key strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to evaluating the ICC. In doing so, it has reinforced the need to carefully consider epistemological assumptions and research design. Identifying existing schools of thought helps researchers choose the most appropriate parameters for studying political and social behaviours. Therefore, looking carefully at methodology should improve the validity of one’s research.


Akhavan, P., 2009. Are International Criminal Tribunals a Disincentive to Peace?: Reconciling Judicial Romanticism with Political Realism. Human Rights Quarterly, 31 (3), pp. 624-54.

Berg, B. L., 2009. Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. Seventh edition.Boston: Pearson.

Branch, A., 2011. Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cacciatori, M., 2018. When Kings Are Criminals: Lessons from ICC Prosecutions of African Presidents. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 12(3), pp. 386–406.

Cassese, A., 2006. Is the ICC Still Having Teething Problems? Journal of International Criminal Justice, 4 (3), pp. 434–44.

Chung, C. H., 2008. The Punishment And Prevention Of Genocide: The International Criminal Court As A Benchmark Of Progress And Need. Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, 40 (1), pp. 227-242.

Clark, P., 2018. Distant Justice: The Impact of the International Criminal Court on African Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cobban, H., 2009. Think Again: International Courts. Foreign Policy [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 8 May 2020].

Dubois, A. and Gadde, L., 2002. Systematic combining: an abductive approach to case research. Journal of Business Research, 55, pp. 553-560.

Hillebrecht, C., 2012. Trying the Perpetrators and Fueling the War: The (Perverse) Effects of the International Criminal Court? APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 8 May 2020].

Hopkin, J., 2002. Comparative Methods. In: D. Marsh and G. Stoker, eds. Theory and Methods in Political Science. Second edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 249-267.

ICC, 2003. Paper on some policy issues before the Office of the Prosecutor. International Criminal Court [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 8 May 2020].

ICC, 2007. Policy Paper on the Interests of Justice [Online]. International Criminal Court. Available at: [Accessed: 7 May 2020].

ICC, 2020. Situations under investigation [Online]. The International Criminal Court. Available at: [Accessed: 9 May 2020].

Kersten, M., 2016. Justice in Conflict. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lipscomb, R., 2006. Restructuring the ICC Framework to Advance Transitional Justice: A Search for a Permanent Solution in Sudan. Columbia Law Review, 106 (1), pp. 182-212.

Megret, F., 2015. In Whose Name? The ICC and the Search for Constituency. In: C. De Vos, S. Kendall and C. Stahn, eds. Contested Justice: The Politics and Practice of International Criminal Court Interventions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 23–45.

Mendeloff, D., 2018. Punish or Persuade? The Compellence Logic of International Criminal Court Intervention in Cases of Ongoing Civilian Violence. International Studies Review, 20 (3), pp. 395–421.

Nagy, R., 2008. Transitional Justice as Global Project: critical reflections. Third World Quarterly, 29 (2), pp. 275-289.

Neumayer, E., 2009. A New Moral Hazard? Military Intervention, Peacekeeping and Ratification of the International Criminal Court. Journal of Peace Research, 46 (5), pp. 659–70.

Perrot, S., 2010. Northern Uganda: a ‘forgotten conflict’, again? The impact of the internationalization of the resolution process. In: T. Allen and K. Vlassenroot, eds. The Lord’s Resistance Army: Myth and Reality. New York: Zed Books.

Prorok, A. K., 2017. The (In)compatibility of Peace and Justice? The International Criminal Court and Civil Conflict Termination. International Organization, 71, pp. 213–243.

Roach, S. C., 2011. The Turbulent Politics of the International Criminal Court, Peace Review, 23 (4), pp. 546-551.

Robinson, D., 2008. The identity crisis of international criminal law. Leiden Journal of International Law, 21 (4), pp. 925-963.

Robinson, D., 2015. Inescapable Dyads: Why the International Criminal Court Cannot Win. Leiden Journal of International Law, 28, pp. 323–347.

Schabas, W. A., 2007. An introduction to the International Criminal Court. Third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Simmons, B. A. and Danner, A., 2010. Credible commitments and the International Criminal Court. International Organization, 64 (2), pp. 225-256.

Thomas, G., 2010. Doing Case Study: Abduction Not Induction, Phronesis Not Theory. Qualitative Inquiry, 16(7), 575–582.

Tiemessen, A., 2014. The International Criminal Court and the politics of prosecutions, The International Journal of Human Rights, 18 (4-5), pp. 444-461.

Vinjamuri, L., and Snyder, J., 2004. Advocacy and Scholarship in the Study of International War Crime Tribunals and Transitional Justice. Annual Review of Political Science, 7(1), pp. 345–362.

Yin, R. K., 2009. Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Fourth edition. Los Angeles: Sage.

Written at: University of Bath
Written for: Dr. Oliver Walton
Date written: May 2020

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International Olympic Committee yields $100 million for Olympic movement worldwide

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has allocated a total of $100 million to national Olympic committees and international sports federations in a bid to overcome the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IOC press service said in a statement, Trend reports citing TASS.

“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has already supported the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs) with more than $100 million since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis,” the statement reads. “To date and as needed, $63 million have been allocated to IFs and $37 million to NOCs.”

“The IOC, as the leader of the Olympic Movement, is playing a critical role in supporting its stakeholders during the COVID-19 outbreak,” according to the IOC statement. “The organization has swiftly delivered on its commitment to allocate an aid package program for the Olympic Movement.”

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo were scheduled to be held between July 24 and August 9, and the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games were planned to be organized between August 25 and September 6.

The IOC and the IPC (the International Paralympic Committee) announced on March 24 a decision to postpone for one year the tournaments in Japan due to the continuous COVID-19 spread. Yoshiro Mori, the head of the Tokyo-2020 Olympics Local Organizing Committee, announced on March 30 that the Summer Olympic Games in Japan next year will start on July 23 and the Summer Paralympic Games will begin on August 24.

Commenting on the decision to deliver the financial aid, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The Olympic Movement is facing an unprecedented challenge.”

“The IOC has to organize postponed Olympic Games for the first time ever, and has to help its stakeholders come through this global crisis,” the IOC chief continued. “This new situation will need all our solidarity, creativity, determination and flexibility.”

“We shall all need to make sacrifices and compromises,” Bach said. “Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures.

“This situation requires every one of us to do our part, and this applies to all of us, including the IOC,” he said.

“The IFs are facing financial hardship due to the cancellation of sports events and the impact on the sporting calendar of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 being held in 2021,” the IOC head stated. “Due to the urgency of the situation, payments to IFs started in June 2020, and the program is still continuing. “

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Schools And Tech Companies Sue On Behalf Of International Students : NPR

Pedestrians in Harvard Yard in 2019. Schools and businesses have gone to court to stop the Trump administration from barring online-only international students from entering or staying in the U.S.

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Pedestrians in Harvard Yard in 2019. Schools and businesses have gone to court to stop the Trump administration from barring online-only international students from entering or staying in the U.S.

Charles Krupa/AP

One week ago, the Trump administration announced it would ban international students from attending U.S. colleges in the fall if they only take online classes. Now, hundreds of colleges and universities, dozens of cities, and some of the country’s biggest tech companies are pushing back.

In several court filings Friday and Monday, the groups stand with the international students. They argue providing remote education is crucial given how contagious COVID-19 is — and they say crafted policies for the fall by depending on earlier assurances from the federal government that international students would be able to attend class remotely “for the duration of the emergency,” while still retaining their F-1 or M-1 visa status.

They’re supporting an initial legal challenge by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the first to sue the administration over its new policy. Existing law had prohibited international students from taking all their courses online, but the administration temporarily lifted that rule in March.

In a response Monday, the government said that just because it offered leniency in March, it doesn’t have to extend that policy through the fall. The request to do so “subverts the deference afforded administrative agencies in complex and interrelated fields like immigration enforcement,” the U.S. Department of Homeland Security wrote.

According to the Institute of International Education, more than 1 million international students take courses in the U.S. — about 5% of the total student body.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “blindsided the whole of higher education,” more than 180 colleges and universities wrote in their amicus brief filed with the federal district court in Massachusetts, where Harvard’s challenge is being heard. The schools range from small private colleges to large public universities, spread across the nation. “Though diverse in faith, academic mission, geography, and size, these institutions are deeply concerned with and impacted by ICE’s July 6 directive,” they wrote.

“ICE’s abrupt policy change guts the enormous reliance interests of higher education institutions and their students—all of whom planned for the fall 2020 semester based on ICE’s earlier confirmation that its March 2020 position would remain so long as the ’emergency’ continued,” the schools wrote.

They’re arguing that, legally, ICE can’t just change its mind after so many schools spent months crafting policies based on the government’s guidance. To change course so completely without adequate justification is “arbitrary and capricious,” the schools wrote, citing the legal standard used by courts.

They are asking the federal court to put a hold on the government’s proposal until the courts can rule on its legality.

When the coronavirus began to spread, schools across the country moved their coursework online. And they immediately had to make hard decisions about the fall term. The California State University system — one of the largest higher education systems in the country, with 480,000 students — felt it would be “irresponsible” to postpone a decision on in-person classes until the summer. “Because of its size, the CSU system had to sacrifice flexibility for certainty,” the filing says. So CSU decided in the spring that its 23 campuses would mostly offer classes remotely for the fall term.

The administration’s plan could be catastrophic to some schools. At the Stevens Institute of Technology — a private research university in Hoboken, N.J. — international students make up one-third of its overall student body, and 61% of graduate students. “With such a large volume of international students, inability to continue educating these students would be devastating,” the schools wrote.

And international students make “immense contributions” to campuses nationwide, they said, fostering diversity and enhancing schools’ intellectual and athletic competitiveness. Blocking these students from attending American schools would only send them elsewhere, giving an advantage to foreign nations, the schools said.

An amicus brief filed by America’s top technology companies makes a similar point. International students are both customers and future employees of these companies, wrote Google, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Adobe and others in a filing Monday. If international students lose their visas and are forced to return home, American businesses and the economy at large will suffer, they said.

In addition to the tens of billions of dollars that international students contribute directly to the U.S. economy each year, they also help ensure that American companies “continue leading the world in innovation,” they wrote.

And without international students, American schools will suffer, they said: “The loss of international students as a result of the July 6 Directive threatens the very existence of educational programs — for both American and international students — that are critical to training the employees U.S. businesses need and supporting the research that enables America to lead the world in innovation.”

If international students are barred from studying in the U.S. until the coronavirus pandemic is over, the companies said, many will simply never return. Companies in turn won’t be able to recruit those students. And the entire economy will suffer.

Dozens of municipalities filed their own brief in support of Harvard and MIT’s challenge. International students “make significant economic contributions” to their communities, wrote the municipalities, which include Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, New York and about two dozen other cities large and small.

“In New York City, international students contribute more than $3 billion in economic value annually,” they wrote. “In Pittsburgh, one job is created for every two international students enrolled in the city’s colleges and universities. And in Iowa City, the 2,500 resident international students at the University of Iowa contribute millions of dollars to the city’s economy annually.”

The federal government’s “rash” decision could also have health consequences, they wrote: It’s “likely to send students threatened with removal into the shadows, where public health efforts will not reach them, in the midst of a pandemic.”

The Massachusetts court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on Tuesday.

Several other organizations have filed their own lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s new policy. Massachusetts filed a federal suit joined by attorneys general in 16 states and the District of Columbia; Johns Hopkins University filed suit Friday; and the University of California system has pledged its own lawsuit.

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International Dawn Chorus Day celebrated amid lockdown – Channel 4 News

It has become a soundtrack to lockdown: not the wailing sirens or the helicopters overhead – but the melody of birdsong at sunrise, now sounding clearer than it has been for decades, in a world that has ground to a halt.

Today, the first Sunday in May, the height of spring – marks International Dawn Chorus Day – the sound of birdsong giving people around the world some distraction from the stress and anxiety of lockdown – and a reminder to many that life does and will go on.

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International Summit on Balanced and Inclusive Education in Djibouti concludes with establishment of new Organisation of Educational Cooperation

Sheikh Manssour Bin Mussallam, President, The Education Relief Foundation
  • by PRESS RELEASE (djibouti city)
  • Monday, February 03, 2020
  • Inter Press Service

The OEC, whose General Assembly will function on the democratic basis of one country, one vote, ensuring accountability to its Member States which will benefit from its support, will also count civil society and academic organisations as Associate Members with limited rights.

The OEC will be established with a wholly-owned financial subsidiary, accountable to the General Assembly, capable of generating funds ethically and sustainably in support of educational reforms. This subsidiary, structurally directed towards investments in socially and ecologically responsible projects in its member states, will eventually fully finance the organisation’s operations and provide funds for the OEC to support Member States’ education systems with solidarity-based financing.

The OEC is designed with a rational, streamlined structure, follows a strategy of efficient systematic intervention, and puts education at the service of communities, of society and of national development as required by the commitments made in the UDBIE.

Sheikh Manssour Bin Mussallam, President, The Education Relief Foundation

The OEC’s first Secretary General has been elected with the task of setting up and presiding a Preparatory Committee, which will lay the groundwork for the OEC until the Constitutive Charter of the Organisation enters into force, upon its ratification by a minimum of 10 of the founding State signatories. The Constitutive Charter’s entry into force will trigger the convening of the first General Assembly.

All signatories to the UDBIE embrace the four key pillars of balanced and inclusive education: Intraculturalism, Transdisciplinarity, Dialecticism and Contextuality. They commit to applying these principles within their education systems, with the cross-sectoral support of the OEC, based on the contextualised needs of their populations, their national priorities, and the global imperative of sustainable development.

© Inter Press Service (2020) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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A new International Strategy for #Wales

International Relations Minister Eluned Morgan has launched Wales’ first International Strategy, promoting the country as an outward-looking nation ready to work and trade with the rest of the world.

The strategy will build on Wales’ growing international reputation for sustainability and global responsibility and establish links with the Welsh diaspora on all continents.

It is being launched as the UK prepares to leave the EU and negotiate a new relationship with the European Union and trade deals with international partners around the world.

Eluned Morgan said: “A strong international presence has never been more relevant for Wales.

“Following the EU referendum in 2016 and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future relationship with Europe, Wales will pursue its place on the international stage with renewed vigour.”

The International Strategy has three core ambitions over the next five years:

  • Raise Wales’ profile on the international stage
  • Grow the economy by increasing exports and attracting inward investment

Establish Wales as a globally responsible nation

It is the start of a new approach to how the Welsh Government promotes Wales internationally, identifies Wales’ key global markets in a post-Brexit landscape and highlights three sectors where Wales is recognised as a world leader – cyber security, compound-semiconductors and the creative industries. This will project a new dynamic and vibrant image of Wales as a modern, confident, high-tech, creative and sustainable nation.

Speaking ahead of the launch at Econotherm, a Bridgend based export company which has achieved year-on-year growth and was recently recognised in the Wales Fast Growth 50, the Minister said:

“As Wales’ first Minister for International Relations, it was important to bring the achievements of the last 20 years together and use these as a foundation to set out Wales’ future approach to its international work.

“For a small, smart nation, Wales enjoys a reputation, which stretches far beyond its borders. The strategy will build on this reputation and showcase Wales as a nation that will be known for its creativity, its expertise in technology and its commitment to sustainability.”

The Minister was visiting Brussels and Paris l to promote the strategy.


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India v Australia: first one-day international – live! | Sport

Warner reaches his 18th ODI century!

Finch to 50 (for real this time)

Warner to 50!

Finch to 50! (But probably not)

Thanks, JP. Our man put in a huge tennis shift today before taking care of the first innings. Well played. Australia did that nicely, denying India the chance to explode the old fashioned way with consistent wickets in the middle overs.

You find me watching Star’s coverage in London, where Michael Slater is currently learning Hindi. Just another day in 2020. Good afternoon/evening to you all.

India 255

Australia will be the happier of the two sides at the changeover. They never allowed India to get away from them, took wickets at regular intervals after that long second-wicket partnership, and they will be confident of chasing down 255 with the fast outfield at the Wankhede Stadium, especially if the dew settles and makes bowling awkward.

The three pacemen all bowled superbly, each deserving their multiple-wicket hauls, while the two spinners kept India in check when their innings was meandering.

Not a great day at the office for India’s much vaunted batsmen. Rohit and Kohli both fell cheaply while Dhawan was one of a number of Indians to give their wicket away needlessly.

Find out if Australia can chase down 256 with the incomparable Adam Collins.

Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins, Australia’s golden boy. Photograph: Rafiq Maqbool/AP

WICKET! Shami c Carey b Richardson 10 (India 255)

WICKET! Kuldeep run out (Smith) 17 (India 255-9)

WICKET! Shardul b Starc 13 (India 229-8)

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A New Concept for Policy Studies in International Relations

We face a series of existential problems in 21st century international politics (environmental degradation, global migration, and the weaponization of nuclear material, to name just three), whose successful tackling demands radical imagination and suggests thinking beyond the box. Indeed, we are demanded to think beyond, and in radical alternatives to, those understandings of politics and policy strategies, which seem to have caused these problems in the first place. The famous Einstein-quote suits here well, saying that: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Interdisciplinarity is hereby a keyword of our times, also requested as irreducible condition by many important funding agencies, promising to lead to new concepts, insights, and empirical solutions through the synergetic effects of research approaches and methods.

In this vein, I suggest to merge the two disciplines of political philosophy and policy studies with the aim to develop an understanding of politics and respective novel policy guidelines, which help to enhance radical imagination and alternatives. Such merging results in the concept of reversibility, which is well-established in the natural sciences and in economics, but is a novel concept for the study of politics. Reversibility recommends the malleability or pliability of political action and policies with the awareness, however, of never being able to overcome contingencies, ambivalences, and inadvertent consequences of our political action. Reversibility also functions as an a priori reflection and ethical constraint for political action and policy-making, which demands humility facing ever-existing uncertainties and inadvertent consequences of politics. But only in the reversibility of policies as an institutional mechanism, preventing the implementation of irreversible politics, and as an ethical virtue of humility towards the unpredictabilities and indeterminacies of policy-making, as two main features of the political process proposed by policy studies, lies responsible political action. It is responsible precisely as, and only if, it accounts for the contingencies and uncertainties of our world, hence only abides by the criteria of responsibility if reversible.

With the notions of indeterminacy, uncertainty, and contingency of the political and human world, political philosophy comes into play. With, for example Hannah Arendt – who has carefully observed that modern politics has been traditionally, and one must say still is, obsessed with stability, thus excluding contingency and acting upon the human world which is assumed as static, given, and open to our wonts – we must realise that our political systems and our natural environment is indeed fragile and finite. Thus, we thus must act politically with care and the awareness of permanent uncertainties and contingencies. In fact, policy-making and policy-implementation has to account for the latter as the conceptual triangulation of Critical Theory, Classical Realism, and neo-Aristotelian prudence, suggest.

The concept of reversibility leads to the development of a clear further research agenda in close cooperation with policy-makers, be they state, intergovernmental, or NGO actors. Such a research agenda includes questions such as: How does a concept of reversibility translate into policy design and policy implementation? What are institutional mechanisms, which prevent consequences that harm contingency and take effect when, and as soon as, such consequences occur? Are such institutional mechanism accompanied, supported and facilitated by an ethical habitus of reversibility?

I suggest for illustration one example of reversibility in practice. This example is the law case “State of Hawai’i and Ismail Elshikh vs. Donald J. Trump” that declared Trump’s executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” from January 27, 2017 as unconstitutional (see Case 1:17, CV 00050-DKW-KSC from March 15, 2017) and based its dismissal on the argument of the avoidance of ‘irreparable’ and ‘irrevocable’ consequences for large parts of the American and of migrant populations. This judgement and its justification seems guided by a self-aware and ethical reflection on humanity linked with the unforeseeable nature of policy consequences on people and humanity itself (see the self-reflections on the judgement 28/43; 32/43; 38/43). Thereby, the decision addresses both identifiable, already manifested consequences and rectifies those with possibly irrevocable consequences in the future. Both, already manifested and possible future consequences are specified, for instance, with regard to irrevocable impacts for the University of Hawaii and for Higher Education in general (see on “intangible impacts” [17/43]), with regard to “irrevocable damage on personal and professional lives” [18/43; 28/43; 40/43] as well as with regard to future uncertainties for international travel [20/43]), tourism, and family union.

The concept of reversibility thus seeks to encourage and further the synergy of scholarly expertise, concretely between political philosophy in IR and policy studies, in cooperation with policy-makers for the management of international and global problems, rethinking the ways we conceive of politics and the human world and how to tackle, if not solve current challenges.

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