Legitimacy and compliance with international law : access to detainees in civil conflicts, 1991-2006
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British journal of political science, Vol. 44, issue 2, April 2014, p. 323-355 : tabl., graph.
Hyeran Jo and Catarina P. Thomson
Existing compliance research has focused on states’ adherence to international rules. This article reports on state and also non-state actors’ adherence to international norms. The analysis of warring parties’ behaviour in granting the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to detention centres between 1991 and 2006 shows that both governments and rebel groups adhere to the norm of accepting the ICRC in order to advance their pursuit of legitimacy. National governments are more likely to grant access when they are democracies and rely on foreign aid. Insurgent groups are more likely to grant access when they exhibit legitimacy-seeking characteristics, such as having a legal political wing, relying on domestic support, controlling territory and receiving transnational support.