Comment on the Deterrence Lecture Question: “To what extent is the deterrence of mass atrocities an attainable goal of the ICC?”
I do not believe that deterrence of mass atrocities is an attainable goal for the ICC, but I do not think that this in any way diminishes its importance in modern-day society. Mass atrocities like the ones prosecuted by the ICC happen for myriad different reasons, and are typically based on deeply ingrained preexisting tensions and conflicts which the fear of legal retributions cannot possibly "cancel out". Incentive-wise, the idea of the ICC as a force to diffuse conflict, as analyzed by Dr. Fearon, only really makes sense in a framework wherein agents are rational, which is often very far from the truth in these types of conflicts. However, it is the case that victims of such atrocities deserve the dignity and recognition from the international community that the ICC provides. The recovery period after an atrocity can often be extremely long and grueling for victims and their communities. I believe that the ICC can be most effective in a role where they increase international awareness of criminal acts and expedite these recovery periods.
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