Saturday, 25 November 2017

Revisiting African Participation in the International Criminal Court

There is a perception among several African countries and commentators that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been initiating criminal investigations in a lopsided manner— to the detriment of African countries. Dundee Africa Research Network (DARN) first set this question for discussion on 3 June 2006 when Dr Patrick Tom was invited to drive the debate. There have been several interesting developments since Dr Tom’s presentation.
Some African countries have merely alleged selective justice by the ICC. However, on 27 October 2017, Burundi made history as the first country to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This withdrawal inevitably reopened the debate on possible political manoeuvrings in Africa-ICC relations.

Kurt Mills (Professor of International Relations and Human Rights) was a special guest speaker on 15 November 2017. Professor Mills thoroughly examined how some African countries have resisted the ICC. There was a concession that the ICC system was not perfect. Professor Mills, however, also observed that the withdrawal of Burundi was unlikely to trigger a domino effect on other African countries.

The question and answer session was very engaging and it showed that Africa-ICC relations will remain controversial for the foreseeable future. This is especially so as some African counties (or their citizens) continue to support the ICC.

Participants at the event reflected the interdisciplinary focus of DARN. Undergraduate students, postgraduate students and researchers participated. We thank everyone for attending. We are also grateful to Professor Mills for the detailed presentation.

Pontian Okoli (Co-convener)

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