Irrelevance, Instigation and Prevention: The Mixed Effects of International Criminal Court Prosecutions on Atrocities in the CNDP/M23 Case

Broache, Michael
November 2016
International Journal of Transitional Justice;Nov2016, Vol. 10 Issue 3, p388
Academic Journal
How does International Criminal Court (ICC) action during ongoing conflict affect atrocities? This article addresses this question by analyzing the ICC's impact in the Democratic Republic of Congo vis-à-vis the Congre`s national pour la défense du peuple/ Mouvement du 23-mars (CNDP/M23) rebel group, using data from original interviews with 36 ex-CNDP/M23 combatants. The analysis suggests that ICC action produced mixed effects in this case. The publication of an arrest warrant in April 2008 for Bosco Ntaganda, then CNDP's chief of staff, had negligible effects. However, the announcement of the conviction of Thomas Lubanga and associated calls for Ntaganda's arrest in March 2012 led to an escalation of atrocities, while Ntaganda's surrender in March 2013 contributed to prevention by undermining M23's capacity. These findings suggest a broader reframing of ongoing debates and research to focus on the conditions under which ICC action alternately prevents, exacerbates or has no impact on atrocities, rather than whether the Court has any such effects.


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