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

On 9 January 2019, Marieke Wierda defended her thesis 'The Local Impact of a Global Court: Assessing the Impact of the International Criminal Court in Situation Countries'. The doctoral research was supervised by Prof. dr. C. Stahn en Prof. dr. L.J. van den Herik.

Marieke Wierda
09 January 2019
Leiden Repository

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.

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