Expanding the Focus of the ‘African Criminal Court’
ASHGATE RESEARCH COMPANION TO INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW: CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES, Y McDermott, N Hayes and WA Schabas, eds., Aldershot, Ashgate, 2012
22 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 7, 2012
To date, all situations where the ICC, since its effective establishment in 2002, has formally opened investigations originate in the African continent. This led to criticism of the ICC as an “African Criminal Court”, criticism which came to a head when an arrest warrant was issued against Sudan’s sitting President Omar al Bashir. In this paper I will show that the criticism against the ICC, albeit understandable to a certain extent, is misleading for essentially three reasons. First, the African continent has been heavily involved in the creation of the ICC and continues to be so. Thus, Africa is not (at least not primarily) a target but a part of the ICC. Second, there is not one but many African voices on this matter; others, maybe less vocal, support the ICC. Third, there are objective legal and policy reasons which explain why currently most situations before the ICC come from Africa. In conclusion, the paper will argue that the ICC is not currently limited to Africa and will in the foreseeable future also open investigations into non-African situations and cases.
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