International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Deterrence: The Story in the Central African Republic

According to an article in Reuters, 650,000 people have been internally displaced so far by violence in the Central African Republic (CAR), and 300,000 people have fled to neighboring countries. The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that is deploying a mission to the Central African Republic on Monday to interview suspected victims of violence and draw up a preliminary list of suspects to be prosecuted. Bernard Acho Muna the chair of the inquiry set up by the U.N. Security Council in December says that he hopes to “head off the prospect of a campaign of genocide.” He went on to say: “We don’t wait until genocide is committed and then we call for prosecution. I think it is in our mandate to see how one can stop any advances toward genocide.” Muna’s experience with the Rwandan genocide in the 1990’s and the international community’s delayed response has definitely colored the ICC and Muna’s response to the current situation in the CAR. But I wonder if this case will in fact prove a deterrent to genocide. Akhavan in his work argues that trials raise the stakes for committing atrocities and thus deter future atrocities from being committed, but there is little good news in the media today to support the ICC. The Rwandan government has recently criticized the ineffective and incompetent international tribunal that was assembled to prosecute the Rwandan genocide, and in Kenya the government has not only been increasingly difficult to work with it has purposefully hindered the process. Will the threat of prosecutions end the violence in the CAR or will it continue despite the ICC’s intervention?



One response to “Deterrence: The Story in the Central African Republic

  1. masonnathaniel March 17, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Having studied Schelling’s theory of deterrence as applied to military strategy in other political science courses, it is interesting to experience the term appropriated in concepts of justice. Deterrence is a strategy used by a state to dissuade an adversary from committing an action that it has not yet happened, or to prevent another state from doing something it does not want it to do. The key part of this definition is that the adversary state has not yet committed the action which the original state is trying to prevent. In the case of the Central African Republic, the ICC and its deterrent abilities should not be evaluated in their ability to halt ongoing violence, but on their ability to stop the escalation of violence into genocide.

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