African Grievances and the International Criminal Court: Issues of African Equity under International Criminal Law
Africa and the Future of International Criminal Justice 81 (V.O. Nmehielle ed., Eleven 2012)
45 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2013 Last revised: 31 Mar 2014
Date Written: June 26, 2013
As a chapter in the valuable collection Africa and the Future of International Criminal Justice (Vincent O. Nmehielle ed., Eleven Publ. 2012), this discussion argues that the debate about the relationship between the ICC and Africa should not be confined to interpreting the treaty obligations between the ICC and African states. It must also and equally address issues of African equity in the global criminal law process. In understanding these imperatives of equity, three policy Dilemmas regarding international criminal law must be identified and explored as inherent in the general debate. One centers on the ‘principle of necessary self-help for subordinated peoples', including exploring the issue of complementarity in Africa under international criminal law. A second Dilemma revolves around the global authority of the Nuremberg Principles and African regional authority, including Africa’s ability under the African Union to collectively make decisions on how best to deal with issues of international criminal accountability of its subjects, and including a critical discussion of the Yerodia case. And a final Dilemma goes to the normative assumptions and grounding for the authority to decide among strategies and issues, where “peace” approaches to international criminality, resting on negotiations with accused wrongdoers and diplomacy, appear to collide with and undermine “justice” approaches, incorporating the priority of invoking and preparing international criminal legal accountability strategies against the same wrongdoers, including issues of immunity and amnesty, and including discussion of the Bashir and Gaddaffi arrest warrants. These three Dilemmas demand informed decision making to enable African peoples to establish the most equitable non-subordinated relationship to ICC authority, and to determine the correct balances of legitimacy, in the context of Africa’s role in the global international criminal law process.
Keywords: International Law, International Criminal Law, Africa, International Equity, Race and International Criminal Law, Complementarity, African Union, Peace vs. Justice, International Criminal Court and Africa, United Nations Security Council, Impunity from International Criminal Law
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation