Is the Quality of the ICC’s Legal Reasoning an Obstacle to Its Ability to Deter International Crimes?

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Given that the Rome Statute is only binding upon its member states, there is a certain element of judicial megalomania in the recurrent claim by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it acts ‘on behalf of the international community as a whole’ in its endeavour to end impunity for international crimes. Focusing on recent ICC rulings concerning the nature and function of the Court, this article queries whether the quality of the Court’s legal reasoning may have an impact on its long-term deterrence potential. The article suggests that while making self-aggrandizing statements and stretching the boundaries of its legal mandate might, in principle, increase the short-term deterrent effect of the ICC, the Court risks sacrificing a greater good, i.e. its long-term status as a legitimate authority within the field international criminal law. Inconsistent rulings without a solid basis in sound legal analysis may indeed prove to be devastating for the ICC, which is still in the process of establishing itself as a credible institution that commands respect.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Criminal Justice
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)939-957
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

ID: 246869686