The African Union-ICC Controversy Before the ICJ: A Way Forward to Strengthen International Criminal Justice?

Sascha-Dominik Dov Bachmann & Naa A. Sowatey-Adjei, The African UnionICC Controversey Before the ICJ: A Way Forward to Strengthen International Criminal Justice, 29 WASH. INT’L L.J. 247, 2020

57 Pages Posted: 8 May 2020

See all articles by Sascha Dov Bachmann

Sascha Dov Bachmann

Canberra Law School; NATO SHAPE; Swedish Defence University (FHS)

Naa Ayorkor Sowatey-Adjei

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 14, 2020

Abstract

The International Criminal Court was set up as a court of last resort to prosecute the most serious crimes under international law when its member states are either unable or unwilling to act. The African Union initially welcomed the court due to the continent’s history of violence and war. However, their soured when the ICC began indicting African heads of state and government officials. Since then, there has been a constant “battle” over whether such defendants could invoke immunity under customary international law. General criticism of the ICC by the African Union and other observers for its lack of focus has turned into region-specific criticism of the court as a “Western tool,” singling out and targeting African leaders. Consequently, African states have started to refuse to cooperate with the Court. At an AU Summit in January 2018, a resolution was adopted to seek an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on the issue of immunity in respect to the ICC. This article will elaborate on the often-strained AU-ICC relationship prior to the 2018 AU Summit before examining three scenarios highlighting how an ICJ decision would affect the present AU-ICC relationship. The article concludes with recommendations and the observation that a compromise must be sought to end the current standoff and impasse.

Keywords: International Law, ICC, AU, ICJ, UN, International Criminal Law, International Criminal Justice

JEL Classification: K00, K33, K49

Suggested Citation

Bachmann, Sascha-Dominik Oliver Vladimir and Ayorkor Sowatey-Adjei, Naa, The African Union-ICC Controversy Before the ICJ: A Way Forward to Strengthen International Criminal Justice? (April 14, 2020). Sascha-Dominik Dov Bachmann & Naa A. Sowatey-Adjei, The African UnionICC Controversey Before the ICJ: A Way Forward to Strengthen International Criminal Justice, 29 WASH. INT’L L.J. 247, 2020. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3575339

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Naa Ayorkor Sowatey-Adjei

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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