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Chapter 3 explores the ways in which states subvert international legal institutions and norms in pursuit of their own security and political interests. This chapter argues that the use of self-referrals to the ICC stems from political calculations that allow political leaders to advance their own domestic and international agendas at the expense of furthering the goals of the international justice regime. Chapter 3 is a story of political calculations, political power, and security interests, and the agency of (African) states in creating and shaping the delivery of international justice. The Ugandan case is studied in depth to hightlight the ways in which self-referrals to the ICC stem from strategic calculations that allow states to use the Court to defeat rebel leaders, warlords, and/or political opponents.
Many in the field of international relations have long viewed international law and regimes of international justice as epiphenomenal. But what explains the dramatic rise of international courts not only in terms of their numbers but also in terms of their relevance and the widening of their jurisdiction and competency? In other words, why would states, whether democratic or not, favor establishing or joining international regimes whose main purpose is to constrain their domestic sovereignty? Chapter 2 argues that a utilitarian frame explains states’ behavior in shaping, reshaping, and sometimes subverting norms of international justice, which they use strategically in pursuit of their interests. States – including those presumed to be weaker in the international system – use the ICC to advance their security and political interests. This argument provides a critique of the so-called justice cascade literature.
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