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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.

In: An African Criminal Court

Abstract

The historical background to the establishment of an African Criminal Court is traced back to the 1960’s. The focus is on the different iterations explored by African states helping place the concept in context and explain how we got to the stage of including criminal jurisdiction within the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights. Finally, the drafting history of the Malabo Protocol is set out.

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.

In: An African Criminal Court

Abstract

The African Criminal Court departs from the trend of international courts in that it does not fully remove the defence of immunity. While this has received much criticism, the provisions compliance with international law is established. Arguments are made for why the provision is more limited than often argued and cannot be dismissed as merely a means of promoting impunity.

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.

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.

In: An African Criminal Court

Abstract

The regional court has its own approach to complementarity through the inclusion of both African domestic and (sub)regional courts. Despite no explicit mention of the International Criminal Court there is scope, and provision, for a complementary relationship. Consideration of the issues from the new court’s admissibility criteria being copied from the Rome Statute is undertaken and proposals made for minimising the negative effects.

In: An African Criminal Court

Abstract

Through focusing on the scope of accountability offered by the regional court, the potential jurisdictional contribution and limitations are presented. The African Union is widely known to suffer from underfunding and capacity limitations, and the slow pace at which its treaties are signed, as such the impact of these on the new court are considered.

In: An African Criminal Court

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.

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.

In: An African Criminal Court