Skip to main content


Officials and supporters of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have argued that its punishments will be able to deter future human rights violations, but, in its first ten years, the ICC has had only a minimal deterrent effect. This limited deterrent effect aligns with what many academics predicted, but there have been disputes about whether the burden of proof should be on those questioning deterrence and whether deterrence could be increased in the future. It is useful to build off the existing explorations of the ICC and the international system. Insight also can be gained from the literature of criminology, psychology, economics and other fields that have examined deterrence in the domestic setting. Deterrence only works if potential criminals are rational, know the laws and accept them as legitimate, feel that the benefits of a given crime are lower than the costs of the crime Applying these domestic ideas to the international setting provides new support for claims of limited deterrence, answers the challenge of providing logical proof, and shows that deterrence will not increase significantly in the future.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
18 Jul 2022
115 kB



  • Alternative title
    • The Limited Prospects of Deterrence

  • Journal title
    • International Social Science Review

  • Volume
    • 88

  • Issue
    • 3

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022