Despite widespread commitment to the international human rights regime, human rights abuses persist and go unpunished. One prominent explanation for this phenomenon is that states are insincerely committing to treaties they perceive as having weak enforcement mechanisms. Only recently, however, states created an international human rights treaty with a new and much stronger enforcement mechanism.
States committing to the newly created International Criminal Court (ICC) grant an independent prosecutor and court permission to try their own citizens should they commit genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes in the event the state does not commence a prosecution on its own. Should we expect that states will behave differently in the face of this new and stronger enforcement mechanism and actually conform their policies and practices to those required pursuant to treaty terms? This paper examines the ICC’s deterrence effect as regards states’ torture practices using both quantitative and qualitative analyses.
The ICC is superior to other human rights treaties because it has enforcement powers-it has the ability to arrest and try suspected violators of human rights in conjunction with states.