The African Approach to the Principle of Complementarity of the International Criminal Court: A Potential Gem or Germ?
Keywords:complementarity, International Criminal Court, African states, State discretion, international crimes, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
This article provides an analysis of existing and emerging African views that reflect and/or seek to develop the principle of complementarity of the International Criminal Court. The broad consensus on the African continent is that the principle of complementarity must be applied timeously within context and subjected to state discretion. It is argued that, despite the continent’s obvious shortcomings in confronting impunity, its proposed strategic pillars for complementarity require attention. These came at an opportune time, as there is controversy about the interpretation of the proper application of the principle of complementarity. The International Criminal Court is being accused of unwarranted intervention in national affairs. The rapport between the International Criminal Court and certain African states has deteriorated over the last decade, raising fears that an unacceptable interregnum in the prosecution of international crimes may occur. In this regard, the article discusses African efforts that may assist the International Criminal Court from further losing credibility and visibility in Africa. The article further asserts that international criminal justice in Africa is a regional, rather than a national issue, although regional positions will further the implementation at national level. Therefore, African states are exploring regional perspectives to safeguard ownership and incorporate regional involvement in international criminal justice.
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