The European Union and the International Criminal Court: Contested Abroad, Consensual at Home?

Part of the Norm Research in International Relations book series (NOREINRE)


A breakthrough in the evolution of international criminal law, the International Criminal Court (ICC) came into force in 2002 with the authority to bring to justice individuals guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and—since 2017—crimes of aggression. Much has been written about the contestation of norms and practices embodied in the ICC, best exemplified by the deteriorating relations between the Court and the African Union, the withdrawal of Russia and the fluctuating stance of the USA. Contrary to these actors, the EU is normally conceived of as a loyal supporter; the ICC fits in its promotion of the fundamental norm of justice in a multilateral rules-based order. Nevertheless, there are recurrent bouts of disagreement in the EU too. Differences tend to re-emerge at significant junctures in the development of the Court, usually accompanied by contestation from other actors in the international system. In this chapter, we focus on the relationship between the internal and external levels and ask how the EU has reacted to external contestation of the ICC. ¿Can the EU rally behind a common position or does external contestation promote internal differences?


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cranfield University at the Defence Academy of the United KingdomShrivenhamUK
  2. 2.Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)BarcelonaSpain

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