Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

William Ascher

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@ 2019 Chenyu Li


The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a permanent court created by the Rome Statute to prosecute persons for the most grievous crimes of human rights: war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Based on the very idea that the protection of a set of universal human rights is the responsibility of the international community as a whole, the ICC today, however, finds itself uncertain about its future. Most notably, a number of non-signatory states, including traditionally major players in international politics such as the United States, China, and India, have been adamant against joining the Court because of their perception of potential indictment. When the leaders of these states seek to predict the possibility of an indictment, they have reason to believe that the current criteria for indictment used by the ICC judges are likely to lead to a situation in which national judicial independence and personal security of high-profile officials and other state actors including soldiers are unreasonably challenged.

This thesis argues that, while some criteria used by the ICC judges can be inferred from previous judgements, these criteria do not constitute the sum total of the criteria for decision-making in the ICC and thus do not form an essential incentive for major outliers to join the Court. This thesis offers three solutions, focusing on the refinement of the Rome Statute, structural changes to the Court, and the elimination of the crime of aggression from the Statute.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.