Publication Date

April 2017


Ioana Emy Matesan




English (United States)


This thesis applies existing treaty ratification theories to Jordan and Morocco in a comparative case study to better understand why some states join the International Criminal Court and others do not. I chose to use the International Criminal Court because it has stronger enforcement mechanisms than traditional human rights treaties, as it has the power to try and imprison individuals accused of committing war crimes. I compare Jordan and Morocco as they share multiple institutional similarities, but have differing relationships with the International Criminal Court, with Jordan opting to ratify the Rome Statute and Morocco refusing to fully commit. I analyze the impact of economic relations, the ability to comply, of political relations on each state’s ultimate decision. In both cases I find that economics and compliance capabilities play a more minor role compared to the role played by regional competition. Jordan viewed the Court as a mechanism capable of holding Israel accountable for its crimes in Palestinian territories, so it joined in an effort to deter Israel from continuing its actions in Palestine. Morocco’s relations with Algeria and its occupation of the Western Sahara influenced its decision to sign, but not ratify the Rome Statute. Morocco and Algeria have a history of competing for power in the Maghreb, so Algeria could have referred Morocco to the Court for its occupation in an attempt to increase its power in the region. My findings are evidence of the minimal role played by factors besides those pertaining to power maximization in state relations with the International Criminal Court.

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