Comment on the Deterrence Lecture Question: “To what extent is the deterrence of mass atrocities an attainable goal of the ICC?”
I think it unreasonable to put too much stock into the decision calculus that someone is faced with before deciding to commit heinous crimes. Most of the time other factors are going to outweigh the fear of a response from the ICC, especially given that there has only been 1 conviction in 10 years. These factors include the typical reasons for carrying out genocide and mass rape -- political considerations, tribal and ethnic tension, etc. So deterrence before any act has been committed seems unlikely. The second possibility for deterrence occurs after a leader has already carried out atrocious crimes and is faced with the decision of continuing or standing down. Here I also agree with Fearon. The calculus of incentives seems to motivate killing until a breaking point after which a leader can negotiate for a more desirable outcome -- that is going to the ICC -- which will take many years and could result in an acquittal. This option for deterrence also seems unlikely. One final point is the assumption that such leaders and offenders act rationally. This was a huge topic when trying to understand Saddam Hussein's reactions to the international community re: his nuclear arsenal so it is important to note that many of these offenders are in extreme situations and may not be rational to begin with.
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