Argument: ICC is too ineffective to deter war crimes

Issue Report: International Criminal Court


John R. Bolton. “The United States and the International Criminal Court”. Remarks to the Federalist Society. 14 Nov. 2002 – “deterrence ultimately depends on perceived effectiveness, and the ICC fails badly on that point. The ICC’s authority is far too attenuated to make the slightest bit of difference either to the war criminals or to the outside world. In cases where the West in particular has been unwilling to intervene militarily to prevent crimes against humanity as they were happening, why will a potential perpetrator feel deterred by the mere possibility of future legal action? A weak and distant Court will have no deterrent effect on the hard men like Pol Pot most likely to commit crimes against humanity. Why should anyone imagine that bewigged judges in The Hague will succeed where cold steel has failed? Holding out the prospect of ICC deterrence to the weak and vulnerable amounts to a cruel joke.”