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Five recommendations to pacify relations between the ICC and Africa

Just Security, 2 décembre 2016

Three African countries – South Africa, Burundi and Gambia — recently started the process to leave the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court, and others could follow suite. This is unprecedented in the history of international criminal justice, but the risk of a domino effect is low, as withdrawing from the ICC is costly, and not only in terms of image as it potentially involves retaliatory measures (such as cutbacks in EU or US development aid). At the recent Assembly of States Parties, even critical states like Kenya and Uganda, which have been behind the African Union’s backlash against the court for years, were either silent or supportive. Even though the current hemorrhage does not threaten the Court, it does confirm it has a serious image problem at the least. For more on this topic, Just Security already has an excellent series of contributions. In the last issue of International Affairs, Chatham House’s peer-reviewed academic journal, I also published an article on “The African Union and the International Criminal Court : counteracting the crisis.” I will summarize and build on that article here, focusing on the recommendations I propose to repair relations.

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