The power of international criminal courts: Strategic behavior and accountability networks

Jennifer L. Miller, Patrice C. McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


International criminal courts are often given mandates without the authority or resources to enforce those directives. Given this, how do they achieve their objectives? We argue that in the case of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the court strategically developed an accountability network comprised of governmental and nongovernmental actors, using its expertise and position to provide information and a framework of accountability. Simultaneously, it reached out to a range of actors to ensure that governments and international organizations would push Balkan states to cooperate with the ICTY, thereby amplifying the court's power. Utilizing correspondence data, we create a unique dataset that traces the development of this accountability network, demonstrating how this institution engaged networks to pursue its goals. In general, we demonstrate that, although institutions may lack compulsory power, they can engage in strategic behavior using networks to project their productive power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-43
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Human Rights
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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