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PhD Defence

The Local Impact of a Global Court: Assessing the Impact of the International Criminal Court in Situation Countries

Wednesday 9 January 2019
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof. C. Stahn
  • Prof. L.J. van den Herik


PhD defences are free; you do not have to register.


In 1998, the Statute of Rome on the International Criminal Court was adopted by 120 nations. The founders believed this to be a major breakthrough in the fight against impunity of perpetrators. But now, twenty years on, questions are increasingly being asked about the impact of the Criminal Court. Up to now the ICC has concluded few cases in total, and only four people have been convicted. One of them, the Congolese politician and businessman Jean-Pierre Bemba, was recently acquitted. The research looks at the impact of the Criminal Court at state level. The countries included in the research were Afghanistan, Colombia, Libya and Uganda.

The Criminal Court and the Statute of Rome have had a certain normative effect. The countries investigated have adjusted their legislation or have set up new, specialised bodies to try international crimes. In certain countries, proceedings have already been held such as in Colombia, Libya and Uganda. There has also been an impact on peace negotiations. The rights of victims have been recognised and perpetrators are to be tried in Colombia and Uganda. However, these positive effects are diminished by the lack of social impact i.e. an impact on the lives of victims (rectification effects). The perceptions of local populations about the ICC are often negative: the Criminal Court is by no means considered independent or impartial, or the population wants a different solution at local level. The impact of the ICC was also greatest in the country where the rule of law was best established: Colombia. The impact was much less in Afghanistan and Libya.

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

Press contact

Maarten Muns, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
+31 71 527 3282

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