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Article

The ILC Draft Articles on Crimes Against Humanity

An African Perspective

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Africa, norm creation, crimes against humanity, colonial crimes, official immunity
Authors Alhagi B.M. Marong
AbstractAuthor's information

    Africa’s contribution towards the development of the International Law Commission (ILC) Draft Articles should not be assessed exclusively on the basis of the limited engagement of African States or individuals in the discursive processes within the ILC, but from a historical perspective. When analysed from that perspective, it becomes clear that Africa has had a long connection to atrocity crimes due to the mass victimization of its civilian populations during the colonial and postcolonial periods and apartheid in South Africa. Following independence in the 1960s, African States played a leading role in the elaboration of legal regimes to deal with international crimes such as apartheid, or in the development of accountability mechanisms to respond to such crimes. Although some of these efforts proved unsuccessful in the end, the normative consensus that was generated went a long way in laying the foundations for the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which, in turn, influenced the conceptual framework of the ILC Draft Articles. This article proposes that given this historical nexus, the substantive provisions and international cooperation framework provided for in the future crimes against humanity convention, Africa has more reasons to support than to oppose it when negotiations begin at the United Nations General Assembly or an international diplomatic conference.


Alhagi B.M. Marong
Senior Legal Officer, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Article

Crimes Against Humanity in the “Western European & Other” Group of States

A Continuing Tradition

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords crimes against humanity, Western Europe and Other Group of States, WEOG, Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity
Authors Beth Van Schaack
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Western Europe and Other Group of states have a long history with crimes against humanity. They were pivotal in the juridical creation of this concept, in launching prosecutions in both international and national courts, and in formulating the modern definition of the crime. However, some members have expressed concerns around the International Law Commissions Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity. This article provides a summary of the history of crimes against humanity in the Western Europe and Other Group of states, as well as the current status of crimes against humanity in their legal systems. It argues that although these states have successfully incorporated crimes against humanity into their legal frameworks, it would be beneficial for them to embrace the proposed Crimes Against Humanity Convention.


Beth Van Schaack
Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor of Human Rights, Stanford Law School.
Article

Asian Perspectives on the International Law Commission’s Work on Crimes Against Humanity

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Asian States, crimes against humanity, international criminal law, Draft Articles on Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity
Authors Mari Takeuchi
AbstractAuthor's information

    No Asian States expressed regret over the failure of the Sixth Committee to reach a consensus on the elaboration of a convention on crimes against humanity. This article examines the comments of Asian States during the Sixth Committee debate on the final Draft Articles submitted by the International Law Commission, demonstrating that most States believed further discussions were needed. It situates these comments against the wider Asian approach to international criminal law, and argues that the concerns of the Asian States during the Sixth Committee are part of a broader context. In doing so, it suggests a common ground for future discussion and the progression of a convention.


Mari Takeuchi
Professor of International Law, Kobe University, Graduate School of Law, Japan.
Article

Gender and the ILC’s 2019 Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords gender, crimes against humanity, international criminal law, Rome Statute
Authors Indira Rosenthal and Valerie Oosterveld
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity document is the latest international instrument to address gender-based crimes under international law and the first to do so outside the context of international courts. The elaboration of a treaty on crimes against humanity provides a critical opportunity to affirm that gender-based crimes are among the gravest crimes under international law. This article examines discussions on the meaning of the term ‘gender’ under the ILC’s Draft Articles, with reference to the discussions two decades prior on the definition of ‘gender’ in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the basis for the Articles’ consideration of sexual and gender-based violence. It then turns to the ILC consultation process, and the 2019 discussion of the ILC’s Draft Articles in the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on the term ‘gender’. Additionally, it considers a number of concerns raised by States and civil society on the definition of some of the gender-based crimes included in the Draft Articles and concludes by arguing for a comprehensive gender analysis of all of the Draft Articles.


Indira Rosenthal
Indira Rosenthal, Independent Consultant, Gender, Law and Justice; PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania (Australia).

Valerie Oosterveld
Valerie Oosterveld, University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law (Canada).
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.
Article

The ICC or the ACC

Defining the Future of the Immunities of African State Officials

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ICC, ACC, immunities of African state officials, customary international law rules on immunities, Article 46A bis of the 2014 Malabo Protocol
Authors Aghem Hanson Ekori
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Criminal Court (ICC), whose treaty came into force about 18 years ago, was highly celebrated at the time of its creation in 1998 by many African states, led by the African Union (AU), even though it does not recognize the immunities of state officials before its jurisdiction. Conversely, the African Criminal Court (ACC), which was established in 2014 through a Protocol by the AU, recognizes the personal immunities of serving African state officials before its jurisdiction. Accordingly, this article argues that both Article 46A bis of the Malabo Protocol and Article 27 of the Rome Statute are neither inconsistent nor violative of the customary international law rules on the immunities of state officials. It further suggests that the immunity provision in Article 46A bis may be an affront to justice to the people of Africa as long as the state officials are in office despite its seeming consistency with customary international law rule. Finally, in exploring the future of the immunities of African state officials, the article will examine the possibility of blending the jurisdictions of both the ICC and the ACC through the complementarity principle since both courts are aimed at ending impunity for international crimes.


Aghem Hanson Ekori
Doctoral candidate at UNISA, 2020, LLM, UNISA, LLB, University of Dschang, Cameroon.
Article

Control in International Law

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Effective / overall control, international human rights law, international criminal law, responsibility of states, statehood
Authors Joseph Rikhof and Silviana Cocan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The concept of control has permeated various disciplines of public international law, most notable international criminal law, international humanitarian law, international human rights law and the law of statehood as well as the law of responsibility for states and international organizations. Often this notion of control has been used to extend the regular parameters in these disciplines to capture more extraordinary situations and apply the same rules originally developed within areas of law, such as the application of the laws of war to occupation, the rules of human rights treaties to extraterritorial situations or state responsibility to non-state actors. This article will examine this notion of control in all its facets in international law while also addressing some of its controversies and disagreements in the jurisprudence of international institutions, which have utilized this concept. The article will then provide an overview of its uses in international law as well as its overlap from one discipline to another with a view of providing some overarching observations and conclusions.


Joseph Rikhof
Joseph Rikhof is an adjunct professor at the Common Law Faculty of the University of Ottawa.

Silviana Cocan
Silviana Cocan holds a double doctoral degree in international law from the Faculty of Law of Laval University and from the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the University of Bordeaux.
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

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 serve 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

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.
Article

The Fight against Corruption in Sierra Leone

Challenges and Opportunities in the Jurisprudence

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2016
Keywords Accountability, corruption, judicial approach, jurisprudence, reforms
Authors Michael Imran Kanu
AbstractAuthor's information

    The fight against corruption in Sierra Leone gained momentum, at least in terms of policy direction, following the enactment of the Anti-Corruption Act 2000 and the Amendment Act in 2008. It is considered to be one of the most robust anti-graft laws in the world and its promulgation is in recognition of the international and national resolve to fight the menace, owing to its devastating effects, especially in the Least Developed Countries (LCDs) of the world. The Anti-Corruption Act of 2000, though viewed as a tremendous move towards curtailing corruption, was riddled with shortcomings. Practitioners viewed the Act as limited in the number of proscribed offences created, coupled with the lack of independence signified by the absence of prosecutorial powers. With the enactment of the Amendment Act in 2008, it is crucial to examine the opportunities it has created to eradicate corruption. Critical also to the national and global resolve is the consideration of challenges that may have sprouted. This paper will examine some of the opportunities and challenges in the jurisprudence in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone, with the aim of providing an avenue for reflection as well as a prompter for legislative reforms or change in judicial approach.


Michael Imran Kanu
Department of Legal Studies, Central European University. Email: Kanu_Michael@phd.ceu.edu.

    The Kenyan Situation pending before the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first situation in which the prosecutor exercised his power to initiate cases “proprio motu” under Article 15 of the Rome Statute. In the wake of the comments from the former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, that there was political interference from foreign diplomats during the investigation stage of the cases, it is prudent to re-examine the standards provided under the Rome Statute regarding prosecutorial discretion and evaluate the prosecutorial power and how the Kenyan cases may shape this discretionary power in order to align it with the Preamble of the Rome Statute. The Preamble affirms that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community must not go unpunished. Further, that their effective prosecution must be ensured for the purposes of ending impunity for the perpetrators of international crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.


Simeon P. Sungi
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya. He is also an Advocate of the High Court of Tanzania and the High Court of Kenya. Dr. Sungi holds a PhD in Criminal Justice from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana; an MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana; and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Indiana University School of Law (now Robert H. McKinney School of Law) in Indianapolis, Indiana, all in the United States of America. He also holds an LL.B. Hons degree from the Open University of Tanzania. He is a former United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda staff member. The views expressed herein are his own; ssungi@alumni.iu.edu.
Article

Accountability for Forced Displacement in Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda before the International Criminal Court

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2015
Keywords Forced displacement, International Criminal Court, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, reparations
Authors Luke Moffett
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the challenges of investigating and prosecuting forced displacement in the Central African countries of Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, where higher loss of life was caused by forced displacement, than by any other. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, armed groups intentionally attacked civilian populations displacing them from their homes, to cut them off from food and medical supplies. In Northern Uganda, the government engaged in a forced displacement policy as part of its counter-insurgency against the Lord’s Resistance Army, driving the civilian population into “protected villages”, where at one point the weekly death toll was over 1,000 in these camps. This article critically evaluates how criminal responsibility can be established for forced displacement and alternative approaches to accountability through reparations.


Luke Moffett
Lecturer and Director of the Human Rights Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, l.moffett@qub.ac.uk.

    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.

    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.
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