Document Type

Conference Paper

Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Midwest Political Science Association Conference

Conference Location

Chicago, IL

DOI of Published Version


Total Pages

50 pages


International courts have proliferated in the international system in the past century, with one hundred judicial or quasi-judicial bodies currently in existence. While the supply of international courts has increased substantially, state level support for international courts varies across states, across courts, and over time. This paper focuses on the cross-sectional and temporal variation in state level support for a particular court, the International Criminal Court (ICC). The authors argue that domestic legal systems create different predispositions with respect to states’ willingness to join adjudicatory bodies and the design of their commitments to international courts. Negotiators involved in the creation of the ICC pushed for rules and procedures that mimicked those of their domestic legal systems to help reduce uncertainty regarding the court’s future behavior and decision-making processes. This interesting process of legal bargaining led to the creation of a sui generis court, one which represents a mixture of common law and civil law systems. The hybrid nature of the court’s design enhanced the attractiveness of the court to civil and common law states, making them significantly more likely to sign and ratify the Rome Statute. Empirical models demonstrate that common and civil law states were fervent supporters of the ICC in preliminary negotiations and that they have shown higher levels of support for the Court since the ICC’s inception in comparison to Islamic law or mixed law states.


We thank Beth Simmons for sharing her data on the ICC. We also thank Brandon Prins for his thoughtful comments


Copyright © 2008 Emilia Justyna Powell and Sara Mitchell