Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Carrie Manning - Chair

Second Advisor

Allison Calhoun-Brown

Third Advisor

Henry F. Carey


The literature on the capabilities of weak states to withstand pressure from strong states suggests that more often than not, weaker states tend to give into the stronger power. What are the motivating factors that enable weak states to withstand pressure from strong states? To ensure that the International Criminal Court (ICC) does not gain jurisdiction over its nationals, the United States is currently seeking to sign Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIAs) with all countries under the rubric of the American Servicemembers' Protection Act. This thesis examines through a comparative case study analysis how a number of African Countries are able to withstand the pressure to sign a BIA by taking advantage of internal and external institutional structures and mechanisms. It also fills a gap in the literature by examining one regions response to the BIAs relative to the U.S. position concerning the ICC.