Exit, Voice and Loyalty: State Rhetoric About the International Criminal Court

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Department 1

Political Science


The article examines how states talk about the International Criminal Court (ICC, or the Court) through the lens of Albert Hirschman’s exit, voice and loyalty framework. Based on a content analysis of country statements about the ICC from 2002 to 2016, I show that support for the Court remains high cross-regionally and longitudinally. Exit rhetoric remains low and only recently entered the Court discourse. Exit is moderated by states’ high loyalty to the Court and the underlying individual accountability norm. Voice is used widely as states criticise the Court, but more so the United Nations Security Council and other states for their lack of cooperation. I argue that applying Hirschman’s framework to the Court necessitates a rethinking of exit and voice calculations. The article contributes to our understanding of the ICC by providing a first comprehensive portrait of what states like and dislike about the Court. The findings also challenge common accounts of the Court as the source of ineffectiveness by highlighting the influence of other actors on the Court’s performance. The article adds a discursive dimension to compliance studies, which so far have overwhelmingly focused on state behaviour, including ratification patterns.


Original version is available from the publisher at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13642987.2017.1383242



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