Argument: Deterrence theory untenable; ICC will not deter

Issue Report: International Criminal Court


John R. Bolton, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security. “The United States and the International Criminal Court”. Remarks to the Federalist Society. 14 Nov. 2002 – “ICC will not help deter the danger of the ICC may lie in its potential weakness rather than its potential strength. The most basic error is the belief that the ICC will have a substantial deterrent effect against the perpetration of crimes against humanity. Behind their optimistic rhetoric, ICC proponents have not a shred of evidence supporting their deterrence theories. In fact, they fundamentally confuse the appropriate roles of political and economic power, diplomatic efforts, military force, and legal procedures. Recent history is filled with cases where even strong military force or the threat of force failed to deter aggression or gross abuses of human rights. ICC proponents concede as much when they cite cases where the “world community” has failed to pay adequate attention, or failed to intervene in time to prevent genocide or other crimes against humanity. The new Court and Prosecutor, it is said, will now guarantee against similar failures.”