IU McKinney Law School
Unpacking The International Criminal Courts' Deterrent Effect
My research examines questions about international cooperation and the role and effectiveness of international institutions in deterring and holding accountable those who commit crimes of international concern. For the work I highlight here, the overarching research question is whether and in what circumstances the International Criminal Court (ICC) produces a deterrent effect in the countries that have joined the court. To explore this question, and with funding from The Hague Institute for Global Justice, two collaborators from The Hague Institute and I conducted a case study of Kenya’s relationship with the ICC over time. That Kenya project involved two trips to Kenya wherein we (1) conducted elite interviews and (2) trained 10 local researchers who have since completed about 480 surveys of “ordinary” citizens in Kenya. I and researcher Tessa Alleblas from the Hague Institute share some preliminary findings from the case study research in an article entitled “Unpacking the ICC’s Deterrent Effect: Lessons from Kenya” (to be published in 2017 by St. John’s Law Review). Although recent empirical work suggests the ICC has a deterrent effect, the case study evidence reveals the complexities of gauging the ICC’s deterrent power and shows that not all actors are deterred in all situations or in the same ways—or even permanently. My collaborators and I continue to analyze the data we collected and then make policy recommendations to the ICC and other relevant actors aimed at ensuring the ICC can deliver justice to victims of mass atrocities.