‘We Ourselves, We are Part of the Functioning’: The ICC, Victims, and Civil Society in the Central African Republic
Posted: 22 Jul 2009
As a new justice institution, the International Criminal Court needs to gain legitimacy not just with states, but also in civil society, both at the global level and in the societies in which it intervenes. This article, based on interviews, NGO documents, newspaper articles, and participatory observation, looks at civil society relations with the ICC in relation to its most recent and least publicized investigation, in the Central African Republic (CAR). It charts the role of civil society organizations, local and international, in the opening of the investigation, and it discusses the initial responses of civil society figures and victims in the CAR to the investigation. It finds that, unlike in any of the other situations, the ICC's involvement in the CAR has been largely instigated by local civil society figures, and that, as a result, it operates in a quite receptive context. However, the slow pace of investigations and trials, the meagre outreach to date, and the Court's probable lack of capacity to provide victims with physical and material security are long-term challenges to its ability to meet local expectations of justice.
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