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Title: Deploying accountability : the strategic use of the anti-impunity norm in internal conflicts in Côte d'Ivoire and Mali
Author: Rosenberg, Sophie
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis explores a puzzling phenomenon that has emerged from the recent turn towards pursuing criminal justice for grave abuses in the midst of internal conflict. Despite the rise of the anti-impunity norm as a sovereignty-constraining force, governments proactively engage with the norm, even during internal conflicts in which their very legitimacy is in jeopardy. How and why does the usage, or ‘deployment,’ of the anti-impunity norm by elite actors influence the political dynamics of internal armed conflicts? This thesis answers this question through case study analysis of the conflicts in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, in which governments implemented anti-impunity measures nationally and invited the International Criminal Court to investigate in their countries. It argues that national authorities in both countries used the anti-impunity norm as a resource to further the government’s short-term political objectives in its legitimation strategy in the context of internal conflict. This was achieved through norm exploitation, a concept coined in this thesis, or how actors can draw benefits from the norm’s specific enforcement features and functions in order to further a given objective. Capitalising on the state’s centrality within the norm’s enforcement, officials strategically deployed measures that both supported and undermined the imperative to prosecute grave abuses in order to favour certain narratives over others and to help shape power relations between parties. This thesis offers a novel lens through which to understand the relationship between the anti-impunity norm and government legitimation in the midst of internal conflict.
Supervisor: Weller, Marc ; Curtis, Devon Sponsor: Gates Cambridge Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: human rights ; armed conflict ; peace negotiations ; international criminal law ; West Africa ; international relations ; norms