Pursuing justice, obstructing peace: the impact of ICC arrest warrants on resolving civil wars


The question of how International Criminal Court (ICC) involvement affects civil war peace processes has attracted considerable debate. Systematic assessments of the impact of ICC arrest warrants have begun to emerge, but the evidence is mixed. Based on data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) on intrastate conflicts between 2002 and 2018, this article presents evidence that suggests that ICC arrest warrants do not inhibit the onset of mediation. Neither do ICC arrest warrants seem to prevent peace agreements from being concluded. Crucially, however, ICC arrest warrants do seem to undermine the prospects for conflict resolution, defined as the termination of a conflict through a negotiated settlement. A closer look at mediation efforts in Uganda, Sudan, and the DRC reveals some of the causal mechanisms that underlie the finding that ICC involvement undermines the prospects for conflict resolution.

Conflict, Security & Development