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Article

The Rome Statute Complementarity Principle and the Creation of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords Rome Statute, International Criminal Court, complementarity, African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights, unwillingness and inability
Authors Muyiwa Adigun LLB, LLM PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Rome Statute places the responsibility of prosecuting crimes recognized under the Statute on state parties and the International Criminal Court (ICC) and will only intervene when such states are unwilling or unable. This is called the principle of complementarity. Thus, African state parties to the Statute are expected to prosecute crimes recognized under the Statute. However, these African state parties and their counterparts who are not parties have decided to create the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights, which, like the ICC, will prosecute the crimes recognized under the Rome Statute if they are unwilling and unable. This study therefore examines the question of whether the creation of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights is compatible with the obligation of the African state parties under the Rome Statute to prosecute. The study argues that the creation of the Court can be reconciled with the obligation to prosecute under the Rome Statute if the African Union, of which the Court is its judicial organ, is considered to be the agent of the African state parties, which invariably implies that the African state parties are the ones carrying out the prosecution as principals.


Muyiwa Adigun LLB, LLM PhD
LLB, LLM (Ibadan); PhD (Witwatersrand); Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Article

Access_open Joint Criminal Enterprise before the Chambres Africaines Extraordinaires

Hissène Habré’s Direct and Indirect Criminal Liability

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords International criminal law, joint criminal enterprise, complicity, Chambres Africaines Extraordinaires / Extraordinary African Chambers, hybrid tribunals
Authors Kerstin Bree Carlson
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Chambres Africaines Extraordinaires (CAE), ad hoc chambers operating under the auspices of the Dakar municipal courts, were constructed to try Hissène Habré. In targeting Habré, the CAE was designed to appease Chadian calls for justice (from Habré’s victims, on one hand, and the Déby regime, on the other), resolve Senegal’s impasse over the legality of Habré’s culpability and allow the African Union to meet its leadership obligations. To this tall order, the CAE was required to exercise legitimate judicial authority in the contested sphere of international criminal law (ICL), where content is pluralist and political.
    This article examines the CAE’s finding of Habré’s culpability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture. The article shows that the CAE applied a novel construction of liability under ICL and argues that it did so in order to strengthen its authority and legitimacy. By so doing, the CAE has made a significant addition to the field of ICL. This article explores the CAE’s application of joint criminal enterprise (JCE) to consider how the internationally formulated doctrinal standard is reshaped by CAE practice.


Kerstin Bree Carlson
University of Southern Denmark and The American University of Paris.

    Focus on whether a criminal chamber in a reformed African Court represents progress or retrogression relative to advances made in the Rome Statute shifts attention from the similar foundation of the two courts on an epochal bifurcation between the worst human rights abuses and quotidian wrongs. This bifurcation compromises our understanding of how abuses are related, what we should do about them and how we should go about studying them. It is at the core of aspects of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that have come under severe criticism. It also imperils the criminal chamber of the nascent African Court.


Ato Kwamena Onoma
Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa.
Article

The International Criminal Court and Africa

Contextualizing the Anti-ICC Narrative

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2016
Keywords International Criminal Court (ICC), security, African Union (AU), war crimes, international law
Authors Brendon J. Cannon, Dominic R. Pkalya and Bosire Maragia
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article critiques attempts by some in Africa to brand the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a neocolonial institution and stooge of the West. These arguments accuse the ICC of playing a double standard, being overly focused on trying African defendants, and warn that the Court risks exacerbating factionalism and ethnic divisions thereby threatening peace and reconciliation efforts. Although we neither defend nor champion the ICC’s mandate, we deem such criticisms as hyperbole. At best, they attempt to whitewash the instrumental role played by African states in the birth of the Court and ignore the fact that many of the ICC cases were referred there by African governments. Furthermore, the current African narrative understates the ICC’s potential to midwife local judiciaries and contribute positively towards conflict resolution in Africa through the promotion of at least a measure of accountability and offers of justice, thereby taming elite immunity and impunity in states where justice regimes are either weak or non-existent. Until African states strengthen their judiciaries to ensure such references to the ICC are indeed a last resort, the Court will continue to remain the only credible forum for states emerging from conflict and seeking justice and reconciliation.


Brendon J. Cannon
Brendon J. Cannon is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Khalifa University’s Institute of International and Civil Security (IICS) in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Dominic R. Pkalya
Dominic R. Pkalya is a post-graduate student at Kisii University, Faculty of Social Sciences in Nairobi, Kenya.

Bosire Maragia
Bosire Maragia is an Adjunct Lecturer of Political Science (African Politics) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA and works for the United States Federal Government. The views expressed herein are his and do not reflect or constitute official US government policy.

    This article explores the politics of international criminal justice and argues that the International Criminal Court is a lieu of staged performance where actors deploy their political narratives. Using the Situation in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire before the ICC and focusing on the pre-trial phase, I contend that the defendants Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé project a performance and deploy political narratives that are the extension of the politics of the Ivorian crisis, which make the Court the quintessential arena where domestic and international politics cohabit with law and rules of procedure.


Oumar Ba
Oumar Ba is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Florida.
Article

The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Advancing International Criminal Justice

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1 2015
Keywords Non-governmental organizations, NGOs and international criminal justice, civil society and human rights, non-state actors in international law
Authors Charles Chernor Jalloh
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in advancing international criminal justice. I argue that NGOs have had considerable impact by contributing, among other things, to the global struggle against impunity through advocacy for the creation of more robust institutional mechanisms to prosecute those who perpetrate such crimes. This ranges from supporting the processes that led to the creation of several ad hoc international tribunals for Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, all the way through to their support for the establishment of an independent permanent international penal court based in The Hague. The crux of my claim is that a historically sensitive approach to evaluating the role of NGOs in international governance shows that these entities are not only willing, but also capable of enhancing the protection of human rights and international criminal justice especially but not exclusively in less developed regions of the world.


Charles Chernor Jalloh
Associate Professor, Florida International University, College of Law, Miami, USA. Email: jallohc@gmail.com.

    To ensure its continued viability, the International Criminal Court must find “practical” ways to appeal to its African (and global) audience, options that do not require substantial additional funding or revisions to the Rome Statute while remaining true to fundamental principles of international justice. Subject to such limitations, this article examines the “end product” of the ICC – the judgments authored by the Trial Chambers to date. Unfortunately, these opinions are simply incomprehensible to any but a few specially trained, highly interested stakeholders. They are extraordinarily complex and lengthy and fail to emphasize or address issues that are clearly important to the audiences in states where atrocities have occurred. The article reviews existing judgments and provides suggestions for future improvements, thereby increasing accessibility to African leadership, civil society organizations, and the public at large. Such efforts will contribute to increased legitimacy and, consequently, the long-term impact and relevancy of the Court.


Matthew C. Kane
Matthew C. Kane is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, teaching courses on criminal law, torts, and international and comparative criminal law. He also serves a director and shareholder of Ryan Whaley Coldiron Jantzen Peters & Webber PLLC, concentrating on criminal and complex civil law matters. Special thanks to The Hague University of Applied Sciences, which organized the conference “Africans and Hague Justice,” where this paper was originally presented.
Article

Access_open International Criminal Court in the Trenches of Africa

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 0 2014
Keywords Africa and International Criminal Court, Amnesty and war crimes, International Criminal Court, International criminal justice, Peace agreements
Authors Lydia A. Nkansah
AbstractAuthor's information

    The pursuit of international criminal justice in Africa through the International Criminal Court (ICC) platform has not been without hitches. There is a rift between the African Union (AU), as a continental body, and the ICC owing to the AU’s perception that the ICC is pursuing selective justice and the AU’s misgivings about the ICC’s indictment /trial of some sitting heads of states in Africa. This article argues that the claim of selective justice cannot be dismissed because it undermines the regime of international criminal justice. The indictment/trial of serving heads of states also has serious constitutional and political implications for the countries involved, but this has been ignored in the literature. Further, the hitches arise both from the failure of the ICC to pay attention to the domestic contexts in order to harmonize its operations in the places of its interventions and from the inherent weakness of the ICC as a criminal justice system. The ICC, on its part, insists that any consideration given to the domestic contexts of its operations would undermine it. Yet the ICC’s interventions in Africa have had serious political, legal and social implications for the communities involved, jeopardizing the peaceful equilibrium in some cases. This should not be ignored. Using the law to stop and prevent international crimes in African societies would require a concerted effort by all concerned to harmonize the demand for justice with the imperatives on the ground.


Lydia A. Nkansah
LL.B, LL.M (Bendel State University), BL (Ghana & Nigeria), PhD (Walden University) is Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. The section of the article under the subheading “Putting the ICC in the Domestic Contexts of its Operation” is partly based on some ideas from the author’s PhD dissertation titled ‘Transitional Justice in Postconflict Contexts: The Case of Sierra Leone’s Dual Accountability Mechanisms’, submitted to Walden University, 2008.
Article

Access_open “Can These Dry Bones Live?”

In Search of a Lasting Therapy for AU and ICC Toxic Relationship

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 0 2014
Keywords Criminal accountability, acta sunt servanda, Conflicts, Arrest warrant, Official immunity
Authors Nsongurua J. Udombana
AbstractAuthor's information

    The competing visions of international criminal justice between the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the African Union (AU) reached a climax with the recent adoption of the AU Protocol enlarging the mandate of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights to cover criminal jurisdiction. The Protocol, inter alia, grants immunity to state officials for atrocious crimes, which clearly conflicts with the ICC Statute’s normative framework. This dialectic is bound to deepen an already toxic relationship between the two international players. This article calls for practical reasonableness by all stakeholders in order to revive the diminishing effort at advancing international criminal justice in Africa.


Nsongurua J. Udombana
2014: LLM, LLD; of the Nigerian Bar; Professor of International Law, Babcock University, Nigeria; udombana@hotmail.com.
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