Regionalizing International Criminal Law?

57 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2009 Last revised: 12 Oct 2017

See all articles by Charles C. Jalloh

Charles C. Jalloh

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law

Date Written: July 1, 2009


This article examines the initially cooperative but increasingly tense relationship between the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Africa. It assesses the various legal and political reasons for the mounting criticisms of the ICC by African governments, especially within the African Union (AU), following the indictment of incumbent Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir. The author situates the ICC within broader African efforts to establish more peaceful societies through the continent-wide AU. He submits that the ICC, by prosecuting architects of serious international crimes in Africa’s numerous conflicts, could contribute significantly to the continent’s fledgling peace and security architecture which aims to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts and to anticipate and avert crimes against humanity. On the other hand, the author suggests that the ICC also has much to gain from Africa, especially in these early years when it is seeking to become a functional court of law with global legitimacy. By undertaking independent, fair and credible prosecutions without alienating States Parties, the world criminal court is more likely to fulfill its mandate and to win over powerful hold outs, such as the United States, China, and India. This will help it co-opt the support necessary for its universal reach and future success. However, he cautions that given Africa’s sensitive historical experience with foreign interventions, including the slave trade and colonialism, the international criminal justice regime anchored on the ICC may be undermined, or perhaps even falter, if it is perceived as having a biased, politicized or insensitive application to a single region of the world.

Keywords: Africa and the International Criminal Court, ICC and Africa, Africa and international criminal justice, AU and ICC, Bashir Arrest Warrant, AU Decisions on the International Criminal Court

Suggested Citation

Jalloh, Charles C., Regionalizing International Criminal Law? (July 1, 2009). International Criminal Law Review, Vol. 9, p. 445, 2009, U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-20, Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-24, Available at SSRN:

Charles C. Jalloh (Contact Author)

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law ( email )

11200 SW 8th Street
RDB Hall 1097
Miami, FL 33199
United States


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