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From the Outside In: Shaping the International Criminal Court

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The nascent International Criminal Court (ICC) was created with a noble goal: punish those who commit the world’s worst crimes and deter their future commission. The ICC’s reach, however, extends beyond merely punishing war criminals. It is empowered to find uses of force illegal, to exact punishment on not just illegal but also disfavored uses of force, to declare specific types of weapons or methods of war illegal, and, perhaps, to restrain U.S. military action. It short, it maintains the ability to insert itself into the field most elemental of national power: decisions about whether and how to wage war. This study will recommend policy alternatives to military and domestic planning organizations to shape the ICC so that it (1) may prosecute figures who have committed egregious international crimes while (2) being restrained from wrongly overstepping its purpose and authority by improperly intervening in national sovereignty or policy. Specifically, the study will assess current U.S. policy regarding the ICC, discuss the circumstances under which that policy will be ineffectual, discuss policy alternatives, and test the relative effectiveness of other, perhaps more robust, policies against the current U.S. policy. The empirical testing will focus on the extent to which risk to U.S. nationals can be reduced by attempting to influence the process by which judges are elected to the court. More broadly, the study will be an example of applying quantitative analysis to new and evolving areas of national security concern.