The Absence of Norm Modification and the Intensification of Norm Contestation: Africa and the Responsibility to Prosecute

In: Global Responsibility to Protect
Antonio Arcudi Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Germany,

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In recent norm research, the question of the relationship between norm contestation and norm dynamics has been the subject of substantial debate. However, until now too little attention has been paid to the question of how and when contestation intensifies. Based on the differentiation between applicatory and validity contestation, this article proposes a specific mechanism for intensifying contestation—understood as an increase in the contestation itself as well as an extension to its validity level—by treating norm modification as an intervening variable. The main argument is that norm modification may be necessary to reconcile different interpretations of norms. Consequently, if norm modification does not occur, norm contestation may intensify. This article elaborates this mechanism by examining the controversies involving the International Criminal Court (icc). It shows that contestation began at a low and applicatory level but intensified after several attempts at norm modification had failed.

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