I have a new article out in The International Journal of Human Rights that JiC readers might be interested in.* If anyone does not have access to the journal through their library’s subscriptions, they are free to contact me for a copy. Here’s the link and the abstract:
I assess the credibility of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as an impartial and independent institution by demonstrating how state behaviour towards the Court has politicised prosecutions. There are two mechanisms by which prosecutions have become politicised: the referrals of conflict situations to the ICC by political actors, i.e. States Parties to the Rome Statute and United Nations Security Council, and the prospect and degree of state cooperation with the Court. Consequently prosecutions have targeted only one side of the conflict and reflect the strategic political interests of the referring actors but promise a greater degree of state cooperation. The case studies selected here present variation in the nature of referrals and degree of cooperation, making for an instructive comparison and revealing an identifiable pattern of politicisation.
The article addresses most of the conflict situations currently in the ICC’s docket. But as the UN Security Council contemplates a referral of the Syria situation to the Court, it is worth considering the likelihood that all parties to the conflict will be held accountable. Given the one-sided nature of the Court’s prosecutions to date, and the limiting language of the draft resolution that is similar to to the Libya referral, it seems Syria will go the way of the rest (if it makes it to the ICC at all).
(See also a past post on the related issue of the ICC’s use of the “gravity” criterion for selecting situations and cases and how this has affected the perceived impartiality of the Court.)