‘Contestation from Within’: US Escalating Aversion to the International Criminal Court and the Non-impunity Norm in the Trump Era


Despite the US longstanding opposition, the Trump administration’s contestation of the International Criminal Court (‘ICC’ or ‘Court’) has been unprecedentedly severe. Not only did it turn against the wholesale legitimacy of the Court, but it ultimately led to sanctions against the ICC Prosecutor and senior prosecution official, while hindering the enforcement of the principle of non-impunity at the international level. Investigating the US stance towards the ICC during the Trump presidency exemplifies one of the most representative moments of what we term a ‘contestation from within’, hence, a contestation of the Liberal International Order originating from one of its founders, in this case, the US. Drawing on the constructivist literature on norm contestation and a narrative inquiry, this article seeks to explore how the US contestation over the Court and the norm of non-impunity intensified, shifting from applicatory to justificatory, and from discursive to behavioural contestation, specifically, in the Trump era.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20398573v8n2p281

Keywords: International Criminal Court (ICC); Trump; Norm contestation; Non-impunity; Sanctions


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