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Article

Civil Society Perspectives on the Criminal Chamber of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords Malabo Protocol, African Court, Criminal Chamber, International and Transnational Crimes, African Union
Authors Benson Chinedu Olugbuo LLB BL LLM Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    In June 2014, African Heads of States and Governments adopted the Protocol on the Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The Malabo Protocol seeks to expand the jurisdiction of the African Court to international and transnational crimes. This development raises fundamental issues of jurisdiction, capacity, political will and regional complementarity in the fight against impunity in the African continent. The paper interrogates the role of Civil Society Organisations in the adoption and possible operationalisation of the Court in support of the efforts of the African Union to end human rights abuses and commission of international and transnational crimes within the continent.


Benson Chinedu Olugbuo LLB BL LLM Ph.D.
LLB (Nigeria); BL (Abuja); LLM (Pretoria); Ph.D. (Cape Town); Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Abuja–Nigeria and Research Associate, Public Law Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
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.

    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.
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