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Manipulated Commitments: The International Criminal Court in Uganda

From: Human Rights Quarterly
Volume 35, Number 2, May 2013
pp. 271-303 | 10.1353/hrq.2013.0027



Beth Simmons and Allison Danner suggest that low rule of law states join the International Criminal Court (ICC) to commit themselves credibly to refrain from criminal means in fighting insurgents, signaling an interest in negotiations and contributing to progress in peace processes. Contrary to their thesis, Uganda requested ICC involvement as an asset in its military campaign against the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) without improving the human rights and accountability practices of its security forces. While the ICC arrest warrants did make a contribution to the peace process through further isolating the LRA, their irrevocable nature biased conflict resolution toward a military rather than a negotiated solution. To avoid political manipulation or complicating peace processes in the future, prosecutorial discretion should be seen as part of a political process involving not only the state that refers a case, but also local and international stakeholders.

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