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Article

Access_open African Union and the Politics of Selective Prosecutions at the International Criminal Court

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1 2020
Keywords African Union (AU), United Nations Security Council (UNSC), International Criminal Court (ICC), immunity, impunity
Authors Fabrice Tambe Endoh
AbstractAuthor's information

    The African Union (AU) claims that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is selective against African leaders. The issue therefore arises concerning the validity of the allegations of selectivity. Partly because of such concerns, African Heads of States adopted the Malabo Protocol during their annual summit held in June 2014. Article 46A bis of the Protocol provides immunity for sitting Heads of States. This provision contradicts Article 27 of the Rome Statute and, consequently, arguably reverses the progress made so far in international criminal law by giving priority to immunity in the face of impunity. This article considers the validity of some of the allegations of selective application of criminal sanctions by the ICC and the likely consequence of the Malabo Protocol for regional and international criminal justice. The article argues that the Malabo Protocol should not be ratified by African states until the shield of immunity granted to sitting Heads of States is lifted to better advance the interests of justice for the victims of international crimes in Africa. In addition, the complementarity clause stated in the Malabo Protocol should have a nexus with the ICC such that the Court would be allowed to prosecute the perpetrators of international crimes in circumstances where the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR) prove reluctant to do so.


Fabrice Tambe Endoh
Dr. Fabrice Tambe Endoh holds a PhD in International Criminal Law from the North-West University, South-Africa.

    The Extraordinary African Chambers (CAE) within the courts of Senegal were created by the Agreement between the Republic of Senegal and the African Union of 22 August 2012 to prosecute international crimes committed in Chad between 7 June 1982 and 1 December 1990. The Chambers are governed by a Statute. For those cases not provided for in the Statute, the Chambers shall apply Senegalese law. Both laws, one of international or conventional nature and the other one national, could be applied to a trial in compliance with international standards. However, the Statute has priority over Senegalese legislation. It is indeed the Statute that is asked to settle all questions that may arise and that has made specific selective references and for any other point that it could not have foreseen.
    So, in the functioning of the CAE, both standards were able to interact. A beneficial process that, however, also has created difficulties. After the dissolution of the Chambers on 27 April 2017, Senegalese national law, that was enacted about the universal jurisdiction of international crime since 2007, should be inspired by it and adopt appropriate standards.
    Les Chambres africaines extraordinaire (CAE) au sein des juridictions sénégalaises ont été créées par l’Accord entre la République du Sénégal et l’Union africaine du 22 août 2012 pour connaitre de crimes internationaux commis au Tchad durant une période bien déterminée. De caractère international, elles sont régies par un Statut qui prévoit dans certains cas l’application du droit national sénégalais. Les deux droits, l’un d’essence internationale ou conventionnelle et l’autre nationale, ont pu être appliqués pour un procès conforme aux standards internationaux. Toutefois, le Statut prime sur le droit sénégalais. En effet, c’est le Statut appelé à régir toutes les questions qui pourrait se poser qui a opéré des renvois sélectifs expressément et pour tout autre point qu’il n’a pu prévoir. Ainsi, dans le fonctionnement des CAE, les deux normes ont pu interagir. Un procédé bénéfique qui n’a toutefois pas manqué de poser des difficultés. Après leur dissolution, le 27 avril 2017, le droit national sénégalais qui s’est lancé depuis 2007 dans la compétence universelle sur les crimes internationaux devrait s’en inspirer et adopter des normes adaptées.


Youssoupha Diallo
Substitut Général près la Cour d’appel de Dakar, Sénégal, dialloyoussoupha78@gmail.com.
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.
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