International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Paradox of Institutional Conversion: The Evolution of Complementarity in the International Criminal Court
Prosper M. Bernard

The understanding and practice of ICC complementarity changed in the first six years following the signing of the Rome Statute in 1998. The author argues that the shift to positive complementarity was the result of the Prosecutor’s efforts to ensure that the up-in-coming tribunal developed a favorable anti-impunity reputation in the context of existing challenges and opportunities. However, the shift represents a double-edge sword. The paradox of institutional conversion is that the positive turn of complementarity has produced adverse unintended consequences which can potentially undermine the Rome Statute system’s long-term credibility and viability—the very concerns that motivated complementarity’s redirection in the first place.

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