This past Monday, I was awarded a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics. My examiners were Chris Brown, Professor in International Relations at the LSE and William Schabas, Professor of international criminal law at the University of Middlesex. The thesis was entitled: ‘Justice in Conflict: The ICC in Libya and Northern Uganda’. Despite starting an inordinate number of sentences with the words ‘And’ or ‘Because’, the thesis was passed without revisions. I am thrilled beyond words and can’t wait to be able to regularly select ‘Dr’ from various online drop-down menus and applications. Monday was, without a doubt, one of the happiest and fulfilling days of my life.
For anyone interested, this is the abstract of the thesis:
The thesis examines the effects of interventions by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on peace, justice and conflict processes in northern Uganda and Libya. The ‘peace versus justice’ debate, wherein it is argued that the ICC has either positive or negative effects on ‘peace’, has spawned in response to the Court’s interventions into active and ongoing conflicts. The thesis is a response to and engagement with this debate. Despite often seeming persuasive, claims within the ‘peace versus justice’ debate have failed to set out a coherent research agenda on how to study the effects of the ICC’s interventions on ‘peace’. Drawing on theoretical and analytical insights from the fields of conflict and peace studies, conflict resolution and negotiation theory, the thesis develops a novel and nuanced analytical framework to study the Court’s effects on peace, justice and conflict processes. This framework is applied to two specific cases: the ICC’s interventions in Libya and in northern Uganda. The core of the thesis examines the empirical effects of the ICC on each case. Approximately 80 interviews were conducted with key figures in Libya, Uganda and at the ICC. In its comparative analysis, the thesis examines why the ICC has the effects that it does, delineating the relationship between the interests of states that refer situations to the ICC and the ICC’s self-interests and arguing that the negotiation of these interests determines who / which side of a conflict the ICC targets and thus its effects on peace, justice and conflict processes. While the effects of the ICC’s interventions are ultimately mixed, the thesis aims to contribute to a more refined way to study the effects of the ICC and to further our understanding of why the ICC has the effects that it does.
When I first started this blog back in late February of 2011, it was intended to be a place for me to vent excess thoughts and satisfy my itch to write. I simply could not have imagined how much I would learn and gain – personally and professionally – by running JiC. I have said it before, I wrote it in the thesis’ acknowledgements, and I am certain I will say it many times again: thank you!
– Dr Mark Kersten