Defending the Society of States: Why America Opposes the International Criminal Court and Its Vision of World Society

By Jason Ralph | Go to book overview

1
Introduction

How should the International Criminal Court (ICC or Court) change the way we view international society and how should we assess American opposition to the Court? International Relations (IR) is ideally placed to inform the interdisciplinary approach that is required to answer this question. The IR community has, however, been relatively slow in responding. What has been produced has mainly been the work of international lawyers.1 There are exceptions, of course, but on the whole the ICC is under-researched by IR academics.2 This situation has not gone unnoticed. Leila Nadya Sadat, for instance, calls the 1998 Rome Conference, which founded the Court, 'a constitutional moment'. It represented 'a sea change in international lawmaking with which political theory… has not caught up'.3 It is the first aim of this book to address this situation by interpreting the Court through an approach to IR known as 'the English School'. It is increasingly apparent that a rich source of interdisciplinary research lies at the intersection of International Law and IR.4 It is suggested here that the normative focus of the English School and the centrality of international law to its conception of international society represent significant interdisciplinary meeting points. More specifically the English School's conceptualization of international society and world society and the role played by law in defining these provides a useful framework for

1 For example, see Roy Lee (ed.), The International Criminal Court. The Making of the Rome
Statute. Issues, Negotiations, Results (The Hague, the Netherlands: Kluwer Law International,
1999); Antonio Cassese, Paolo Gaeta, and John R. W. D. Jones (eds.), The Rome Statute of the
International Criminal Court. A Commentary Vol. I and II (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
2002); Leila Nadya Sadat, The International Criminal Court and the Transformation of Interna-
tional Law. Justice for the New Millennium (Ardsley, NY: Transnational, 2002).

2 For an exception, see David Wippman, 'The International Criminal Court', in Christian
Reus-Smit (ed.), The Politics of International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
2004), 151–88; Eric K. Leonard, The Onset of Global Governance. International Relations Theory
and the International Criminal Court (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2004); Steven C. Roach, Politiciz-
ing the International Criminal Court. The Convergence of Politics, Ethics and Law (Lanham, MD:
Rowman and Littlefield, 2006).

3 Sadat, The International Criminal Court, 109.

4 See, for instance, Christian Reus-Smit (ed.), The Politics of International Law (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2004).

-1-

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