Hauntings, Hegemony, and the Threatened African Exodus from the International Criminal Court

40(2) Human Rights Quarterly 369-405 (2018)

37 Pages Posted: 18 May 2017 Last revised: 27 May 2018

Date Written: May 16, 2017


The Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court (ICC) entered into force in 2002. Now, the ICC faces its most significant challenge -- the prospect of a mass exodus by African countries. Complaints of institutional bias against African leaders, supported by a general critique of western superintendency attaching to international law’s long and close association with colonialism (the mission civilisatrice), haunt the future of atrocity accountability in Africa. Borrowing from the critique of the western juridical tradition, as framed by the spectral imagery of Jacques Derrida and applied as critique to international criminal law by Kamari Maxine Clarke, this Article reshapes that discussion by situating the discussion of atrocity accountability also within the framework of the neopatrimonial state and the lingering ethnographic presence of the politicized Big Man. Post-colonial and ethnographic narratives are then set against the vibrant and less discussed backdrop of African civil society to forward cautious support for the progressive development of the ICC in Africa owing to effective modalities supporting the ICC’s principle of complementarity below the formal structures of the state.

Keywords: International Criminal Court, Mission Civilisatrice, Neopatrimonialism, Big Man, Hauntology, African Union, Spectrality

Suggested Citation

Rossi, Christopher, Hauntings, Hegemony, and the Threatened African Exodus from the International Criminal Court (May 16, 2017). 40(2) Human Rights Quarterly 369-405 (2018), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2969130 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2969130

Christopher Rossi (Contact Author)

University of Iowa College of Law ( email )

Melrose and Byington
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

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