Chapter

Explaining the International Criminal Court: A Practice Test for Rationalist and Constructivist Approaches

Caroline Fehl

in Governance, Order, and the International Criminal Court

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780199546732
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720406 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199546732.003.0004
Explaining the International Criminal Court: A Practice Test for Rationalist and Constructivist Approaches

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The Court's controversial institutional design raises a crucial puzzle: Why was the new institution designed in such a way that it failed to gain the support of the one country which is, by all accounts, most important for enforcing its future decisions? In addressing this question, this chapter looks at two groups of theories for potential explanations: rationalist theories of international institutions, and the constructivist literature on the subject. It confronts theoretical arguments from both perspectives with the evidence given by participants and observers of the meetings and actions that have shaped the ICC. The purpose of this approach, however, is not a competitive theory testing in order to demonstrate which theory is correct or inherently better. Rather, it is to assess how helpful different theories are as analytical tools for identifying the relevant explanatory factors in a specific case, and especially how they can be usefully combined.

Keywords: design; constructivism; rationalism; explanation; test; legitimacy

Chapter.  12746 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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