Essays on The Turbulent Relationship between International Criminal Court and the African States Case Study

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The paper "The Turbulent Relationship between International Criminal Court and the African States" is an outstanding example of a business case study.   In this essay, we will explore the current rocky affairs between the ICC and Africa Union (AU) and target to demystify a number of charges levelled against the court in its quest to carry out its mandate especially on cases within African states. The paper comes at a critical time in the life of the ICC as it is currently grappling with near walk out of the African member states.

Some other interesting happenings in the last two years was the nomination of Fatou Bensouda, an African woman from the Gambia, to head of the ICC prosecution team. It had been hoped that under her stewardship, the relationship between the two bodies will be rekindled. In sharp contrast of the heralded expectations, major supranational bodies in Africa such as the Africa Union and more notable East African Legislative Assembly, have continuously pushed for mass withdrawal from the Rome Statute (which led to the establishment of the Court). The position taken by these bodies has its bearing in the opinion of complementary; which provides for the primary jurisdiction role of prosecuting grave crimes and play a prominent role in fighting impunity.

However, it is vital for such demand for regional and national mechanisms is followed by progressive, tangible and genuine actions with the aim of bringing the perpetrators of crimes against humanity to book. The International Criminal Court: The Rome Statute The Rome Statute that led to the creation of the International criminal court was adopted at a conference held on 17th July 1998, in Rome, Italy.

Senegal became the first African country to ratify the Rome State, and thereby a member of the ICC, a move that was heralded as a move towards an era of international peace (International Criminal Court (ICC), 2002). By the year 2012, the Rome Statute had been ratified by 121 countries. Among these, there were 33 African member states, 18 countries from Eastern Europe, 18 from Asia- Pacific, 15 from Western Europe, and 27 countries from Latin America (Meernik, 2005). From the statistics above, it is evident that member states from Africa constitute the largest share of parties to the Rome statute and thus their role in solidifying up the Rome Statute judicial system over the years. The obvious expectation is that these statistics automatically translate into wonderful support for the international court system in Africa.

However, the reality is that there is a sustained discord trend between ICC court and the African State members. We can conclude that high numbers of African countries suggest quantitative support to ICC rather than a qualitative one. While the African Member States were supportive at the beginning, the relationship deteriorated in 2008 when President Al Bashir of Sudan was indicted by the ICC court.

Bashir was charging as an individual bearing the greatest responsibility for war crimes committed in the Darfur region (Schabas, 2010). Perceptions of the ICC in Africa Despite the numerous atrocities committed in diverse geographical regions of the world, it is quite interesting to note that the prosecutorial interventions have been largely focussing on Africa: DRC, Central African Republic, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Libya, and Sudan. ICC has begun handling these cases as a result of referrals by UN Security Council, submission by the particular countries, and in some cases self-initiation by the ICC prosecution office.

Nevertheless, the recent perceptions of the prosecutorial interventions by ICC in Africa have formed a distorted belief about the whole idea behind the creation of the international body. It’ s good to point out that, the reality of the matter is that ICC and Rome Statute was not imposed to any country, therefore African member states ratified it voluntarily and thus becoming subjects to the ICC jurisdiction (Meernik, 2005).


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African Union, 2013. AU Extraordinary Summit on ICC. Addis ababa, s.n.

International Criminal Court (ICC), 2002. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Preamble. The Hague: ICC.. The Hague: ICC..

Kathleen , A. D., 2013. American Society of International law. [Online]

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Meernik, J., 2005. Justice and peace? How the International Criminal Tribunal affects societal peace in Bosnia.. Journal of Peace Research.

Murithi, T., 2013. The African Union and ICC embattled relationship. The instiute for Justice and reconcilliation.

Schabas, W., 2010. The International Criminal Court. The International Criminal Court nternational politics of mass atrocities: The case of Darfur.

Solomon , A. . D., 2013. The AU’s Extraordinary Summit decisions on Africa-ICC Relationship. [Online]

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