The newly established International Criminal Court (ICC) promises justice to the victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Past offenders can be punished, while future potential offenders may be deterred by the prospect of punishment. Yet, justice is no substitute for intervention for the benefit of people at acute risk of being victimized. The Court may create a new moral hazard problem if the promise of ex post justice makes it easier for states to shy away from incurring the costs of intervention. This article indirectly tests for the relevance of this potential problem by estimating the determinants of ratification delay to the Rome Statute of the ICC. If the Court represents an excuse for inaction, then countries that are unwilling or unable to intervene in foreign conflicts should be among its prime supporters. Results show instead that countries that in the past have been more willing to intervene in foreign civil wars and more willing to contribute troops to multinational peacekeeping missions are more likely to have ratified the Statute (early on). This suggests that the Court is a complement to, not a substitute for intervention.
Neumayer, Eric (2009) A New Moral Hazard? Military Intervention, Peacekeeping and Ratification of the International Criminal Court, Journal of Peace Research 46 (5): 659–670.