African States and the International Criminal Court: A Silent Revolution in International Criminal Law
Journal of Law & Social Challenges, Vol. 12, Spring 2010
44 Pages Posted: 24 May 2011
Date Written: February 1, 2009
A decade after the International Criminal Court (ICC) was created, and six years after it came into being, we are witnessing a silent revolution: a crystallization of the most current status of international criminal law in Africa. This article analyzes the domestic legislation of African states that have implemented or have sought to implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The countries analyzed are South Africa, Kenya, Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso.
Legislation that seeks to implement the provisions of the Rome Statute into domestic law focuses on two main issues: (1) complementarity and (2) cooperation and as such, this article's analysis of the African experience will be divided into these two overarching themes. The first section of this article focuses on how African legislation implementing the Rome Statute has domesticated and penalized the ICC crimes laid out in the Rome Statute. This involves a number of steps, including defining the ICC crimes, asserting jurisdiction over the prosecution of ICC crimes, establishing adequate penalties and defenses, addressing inchoate offenses and commander responsibility, establishing fair rules of investigation and trial, and showing willingness and ability to prosecute ICC crimes. The second section of this article outlines how African states have provided for cooperation with the ICC. This involves adopting a general obligation of cooperation, cooperating with the ICC on evidence and the arrest and surrender of suspects, and enforcing ICC decisions.
Keywords: International Criminal Court, international criminal law, post-conflict justice, Africa, implementing legislation
JEL Classification: K14, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation