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Article

A Proposal for the International Law Commission to Study Universal Criminal Jurisdiction

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords Universal Criminal Jurisdiction, International Criminal Law
Authors Mr. Charles Chernor Jalloh
AbstractAuthor's information

    The principle of universal jurisdiction is a unique ground of jurisdiction in international law that may permit a State to exercise national jurisdiction over certain crimes in the interest of the international community. This means that a State may exercise jurisdiction regarding a crime committed by a foreign national against another foreign national outside its territory. Such jurisdiction differs markedly from the traditional bases of jurisdiction under international law, which typically require some type of territorial, nationality or other connection between the State exercising the jurisdiction and the conduct at issue. Due to the definitional and other ambiguities surrounding the universality principle, which has in its past application strained and today continues to strain relations among States at the bilateral, regional and international levels, this paper successfully made the case for the inclusion of “Universal Criminal Jurisdiction” as a topic in the long-term programme of work of the International Law Commission during its Seventieth Session (2018). It was submitted that taking up a study of this timely topic, which has been debated by the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly since 2010, could enhance clarity for States and thereby contribute to the rule of law in international affairs. It will also server to continue the ILC’s seminal contributions to the codification and progressive development of international criminal law.


Mr. Charles Chernor Jalloh
Mr. Charles Chernor Jalloh is Professor of Law, Florida International University and Member and Chair of Drafting Committee, 70th Session, International Law Commission.
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

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.

    Over the last decade, Nigeria has witnessed several high-intensity conflicts. It became a country under preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) following allegations of serious crimes. In 2013, the boko haram insurgency was classified as a “non-international armed conflict.” Commentators appear divided over the capacity and willingness of domestic institutions to manage crimes arising from or connected with conflicts in Nigeria. Those who argue for unwillingness often point to the struggle to domesticate the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Rome Statute) as one of the clearest indication that there is not sufficient interest. This article interrogates the question of seeming impunity for serious crimes in Nigeria and makes a case for domesticating the Rome Statute through an amendment to the Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes, Genocide and Related Offences Bill, 2012 pending before the National Assembly.


Stanley Ibe
LL.B. (Lagos State University, Nigeria); LL.M. (Maastricht University, The Netherlands); Postgraduate Diploma in International Protection of Human Rights (Abo Akademi, Finland). Ibe is an associate legal officer for Africa at the Open Society Justice Initiative. He writes in a private capacity.
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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