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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 Irreconcilable Differences?

An Analysis of the Standoff between the African Union and the International Criminal Court

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 0 2014
Keywords International Criminal Court, African Union, Kenya investigation, immunity, Heads of state
Authors Mia Swart and Karin Krisch
AbstractAuthor's information

    From initial African support for the establishment of the International Criminal Court to recent proposals that African states should withdraw from it, the article traces the history of the relationship between the African Union and the Court and the reasons for its deterioration. The discussion is focussed on the issue of immunity for sitting heads of state, which has emerged as a major sticking point between the two organisations. The disagreement is illustrated with reference to the ICC’s efforts to prosecute the Kenyan President and his deputy. We examine the legal position on head-of-state immunity at international law, and proceed to evaluate the AU’s proposal that the ICC should amend the Rome Statute to provide for immunity for sitting heads of state, as well as the amendment to the Protocol of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, in light thereof.


Mia Swart
Mia Swart is Professor of International Law at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Karin Krisch
Karin Krisch is LLM candidate at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. The authors thank Prof. Charles Jalloh for his insightful comments and guidance.
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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