Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science


Dr. Adam Harmes


The aim of this dissertation is to discern and explain why states established the International Criminal Court (ICC) with an independent Prosecutor with the aid of theories of international relations. The theories utilized were neorealism, neoliberal institutionalism, historical institutionalism, constructivism and liberal-pluralism. In order to complete the above-stated task, two supplemental questions were asked: first, how may one able to explain policy formulation in regards to the ICC; and second, what accounts for the victory of the supporters. The comparative case study method of the ‘method of agreement’ was employed. Canada and the United Kingdom – from among the supporters of the institutionalization of the independent Prosecutor – and the United States and Japan – from among the opponents of the initiative – were selected for the study at hand. Elite interviews and declassified diplomatic documents were consulted and supplemented by analyses of secondary sources documents such as negotiating transcripts and transcripts of parliamentary debates. In the final analysis constructivism and its liberal variant – liberal constructivism – in tandem with liberal-pluralism seem the best able to explain the establishment of the Court with an independent Prosecutor because these two theories are best able to account for the role of ideas and interests of key actors during the process of establishing the Court. In addition, and given that the establishment of the Court is a substantial departure from its institutional predecessors, liberal constructivism and liberal-pluralism are also able to account for this revolutionary change in the establishment of international institutions. The study at hand highlights the role of domestic political actors in the acceptance of international treaties as well. Therefore, this study underpins the need for further scholarship in regards to under what conditions do states allow themselves to be bound by international legal mechanisms.