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Enemy of Mankind or Just No Powerful Friends Left? Insights from International Relations about the Efficacy of the ICC

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Applying both constructivism and the English school of international relations, the ICC is shown to be founded upon, and simultaneously constitutive of, a vision of universally shared humanity. However, the ICC performs this role of norm-entrepreneurship within a structure premised upon Westphalian notions of sovereignty that are not conducive to this vision. This tension is embedded within the Rome Statute due to compromises struck in its drafting between those actors who envisioned a solidarist ‘world community’, and those attached to the status quo of an ‘international society’. These compromises have given rise to power relations that undermine the vision of ending impunity for international crimes. Consequently, it is not simply by one’s conduct that they come before the Court as a hostis humani generis, but rather because they have no powerful friends left. The efficacy of the ICC is contingent on this transition between two competing conceptions of international society.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia


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