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The African Union’s Rethinking of International Criminal Justice
In An African Criminal Court Dominique Mystris explores the potential contribution of a regional criminal court to international criminal law and justice across the continent. As set out in the Malabo Protocol, the court’s approach to international core crimes builds on from the current international system. Yet, the additional crimes and region-centric approach reflect the continental concerns.

To fully realise the court’s contribution, the African Union’s institutional objectives and approach to justice, peace and security, the author argues for the inclusion of the court within the African Peace and Security Architecture. By adopting such a holistic understanding of the Malabo Protocol court within the AU structure, a more accurate depiction of the potential of an African criminal court emerges.

Abstract

This chapter presents an overview to the pursuit of international criminal justice in Africa and the theory and rationale of prosecutions under international criminal law and transitional justice.

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In: An African Criminal Court

Abstract

The potential for the African Union to exercise ownership over matters of justice and accountability through the new regional court is presented. A key argument made is the need for a holistic understanding of the new court and its placement within the African Union structure. By situating it within the African Peace and Security Architecture greater ownership can be achieved.

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In: An African Criminal Court

In 2014 the African Union (au) and African states set in motion the establishment of African justice mechanisms for addressing international crimes including a new section of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights, the International Criminal Law Section (icls). This book queries what contribution and role such a court might play in the international criminal justice system, and whether or not there is a need for this new regional criminal court.

It is clear that the existing system has a number of shortcomings particularly in the areas of: universal jurisdiction; accountability; complementarity; ownership; and immunity. There is also a wider question as to whether the original purposes of international criminal law (icl) are being effectively fulfilled. In this book it is determined that the new regional court does not need to be a competitor court to the International Criminal Court (icc) but can offer complementary jurisdiction to strengthen international criminal justice and develop icl in the same manner that the ad hoc courts and icc have done. It is also shown that the new court is a legitimate response, albeit with some weaknesses, to the inequalities of the international system and has the potential to create a forum through which African states can increase their ownership. The new court will have the ability to address many of the underlying crimes leading to conflicts thereby linking the judicial organ to the au’s peace and security agenda. By placing the icls into the African Peace and Security Architecture, a more holistic understanding of the new court is achieved. This helps to erode the misconception that the initiative is pursued purely as an anti-icc mechanism.

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In: An African Criminal Court

Abstract

The International Criminal Court followed the trend of other international courts and removed the defence of immunity for state officials. This has subsequently turned into one of the more controversial areas when applied to non-state parties. Within the literature many claim the court has help establish a customary law removal of immunity, the veracity of which is considered. The findings of which are used to establish whether an African criminal court is bound by such custom.

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In: An African Criminal Court

Abstract

The International Criminal Court is meant to be a court of last resort yet, the court’s admissibility criteria raise concerns over the narrow interpretation approach and this impact on the encouragement, recognition, and undermining of domestic prosecutions. The notion of complementarity as a policy or “big idea” approach is presented and contrasts with the mandate of the court and queries the national capacitating role international courts should, or could, have.

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In: An African Criminal Court

Abstract

As states have primary responsibility to prosecute international crimes, the chapter focuses on the domestic prosecutions of international crimes based on universal jurisdiction. The principle’s purpose and scope are presented, alongside the African Union’s concerns over how universal jurisdiction has been used by non-African states. Consideration is given to the limiting effect of immunity and what this means for international criminal justice and the role of a regional criminal court.

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In: An African Criminal Court

In 2014 the African Union (au) and African states set in motion the establishment of African justice mechanisms for addressing international crimes including a new section of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights, the International Criminal Law Section (icls). This book queries what contribution and role such a court might play in the international criminal justice system, and whether or not there is a need for this new regional criminal court.

It is clear that the existing system has a number of shortcomings particularly in the areas of: universal jurisdiction; accountability; complementarity; ownership; and immunity. There is also a wider question as to whether the original purposes of international criminal law (icl) are being effectively fulfilled. In this book it is determined that the new regional court does not need to be a competitor court to the International Criminal Court (icc) but can offer complementary jurisdiction to strengthen international criminal justice and develop icl in the same manner that the ad hoc courts and icc have done. It is also shown that the new court is a legitimate response, albeit with some weaknesses, to the inequalities of the international system and has the potential to create a forum through which African states can increase their ownership. The new court will have the ability to address many of the underlying crimes leading to conflicts thereby linking the judicial organ to the au’s peace and security agenda. By placing the icls into the African Peace and Security Architecture, a more holistic understanding of the new court is achieved. This helps to erode the misconception that the initiative is pursued purely as an anti-icc mechanism.

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In: An African Criminal Court

Abstract

The International Criminal Court offers a specific form of accountability – criminal – which is subject to both jurisdictional and institutional limitations which present challenges for the African continent and the reality in which conflicts and international crimes occur. Whether the icc envisions additional courts having a role in the pursuit of accountability is explored, with the potential for an African criminal court clearly identified.

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In: An African Criminal Court

Abstract

Having identified a number of shortcomings in the current international criminal justice system, this chapter explores the purpose of the International Criminal Law Section of the African Court. Through the inclusion of how the African Union’s institutional ideology and approach to justice, the purpose of the court is contextualised and a more holistic understanding of the intention behind the new judicial mechanism becomes evident.

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In: An African Criminal Court