The Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic: Failure or Vindication of Complementarity?

Journal of International Criminal Justice (15) 1, p. 175-206

39 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2017 Last revised: 1 May 2017

See all articles by Patryk I. Labuda

Patryk I. Labuda

Polish Academy of Sciences - Institute of Legal Studies

Date Written: December 9, 2016

Abstract

The Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic can be viewed in two ways. The optimistic view is that it is a vindication of the idea that the international community should complement the efforts of states in the fight against impunity. The pessimistic view is that its establishment represents the International Criminal Court’s failure to catalyze accountability at the national level. Against the backdrop of these two opposing narratives, this article examines the main legal features of this new ‘hybrid’ court and its relationship to the principle of complementarity enshrined in the ICC Statute. It addresses the following questions: the hybrid court’s legal basis under Central African law, its jurisdictional mandate, the mixed composition of its staff, immunities and amnesties, and the Special Criminal Court’s concurrent jurisdiction with the International Criminal Court. The article suggests that, although it is a promising example of international-national cooperation, the Special Criminal Court calls into question legal and systemic assumptions underpinning complementarity, the principle that gives states priority in prosecuting international crimes, which in turn raises questions about the relevance of complementarity in analogous conflict and post-conflict situations.

Keywords: International Criminal Court, Central African Republic

Suggested Citation

Labuda, Patryk I., The Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic: Failure or Vindication of Complementarity? (December 9, 2016). Journal of International Criminal Justice (15) 1, p. 175-206, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2883243

Patryk I. Labuda (Contact Author)

Polish Academy of Sciences - Institute of Legal Studies ( email )

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