In the Shadow of International Criminal Justice: The Impact of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Addressing Atrocity Crimes in Situation Countries: A Case Study of Uganda and Kenya


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Awarding Institution
Award date20 Nov 2020


There has been considerable scholarly attention on the International Criminal Court (ICC) since it came into operation nearly two decades ago. Most of this literature has focused on the role of the Court in the global justice system, particularly its relationship with states. It has been argued that through complementarity – the recognition of states’ primacy over the ICC in exercise of jurisdiction within their territories – the Court may exert pressure on states to prosecute international crimes by acting as a catalyst for domestic action. These theoretical assumptions have been followed up with empirical studies on the effects of complementarity on ICC situation countries. Complementarity-focused research has, therefore, sought to determine whether threatened or actual intervention of the ICC has spurred domestic prosecution of international crimes. While this has been the main focus of studies on the impact of the ICC and certainly provides useful data, there has been limited attention on assessing the impact of the ICC from a holistic perspective which would entail understanding the Court’s broader ‘shadow’ and how that shadow has shaped narratives of conflict and how to redress it. Even though the ICC’s broader purpose beyond its role as a criminal court is contested, this research engages with key documents, policies and decisions of the Court to problematise the Court’s identity, on one hand, and empirical data from selected case studies to assess how the Court has been ‘received’ in the local set up, on the other hand. Further to understanding this ‘dialogue’, this thesis proposes a new framework of looking at impact through the political relationship between the ICC and the Situation country. This framework is then applied in explaining why impact may differ from one Situation to another.

    Research areas

  • ICC, Shadow, Africa, Impact