African States, the African Union, and the International Criminal Court

"The predominant view of the AU states seems to have changed to one which prefers engagement and reform of the ICC, rather than withdrawing from it."
John Jeffrey​
Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, South Africa
"The existence of the ICC preliminary examination in Nigeria was critical to the decision to bring domestic cases in the first place."
Mausi Segun​
Executive Director, Africa Division at Human Rights Watch
"The three levels – domestic, regional, and international – must work as a web. No single system can do it alone."
Mohamed Chande Othman
Former Chief Justice of Tanzania, former Member of the Independent Expert Review of the ICC, and Member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability
"If there are any concerns of precarity or threats to international justice, then one should not look at Africa, but to the north, from where these threats against the ICC Prosecutor emanate."
Navi Pillay
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability
"It is in the interest of Africa that the ICC should be as efficient and effective as possible. There is now and in the foreseeable future, no alternative to the ICC."
Richard Goldstone​
Former Chief Prosecutor of the ICTR and ICTY, former Chair of the Independent Expert Review of the ICC, and Member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability
"Nigeria is using the Court to advertise itself as a law-abiding international citizen. The Court seeks to use Nigeria for the purpose of sorting out its relationship with the African Union."
Chidi Odinkalu
Senior Manager for Africa, Open Society Justice Initiative
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African nations and communities have been important players in the global struggle for the rule of law and the fight against impunity for international crimes. In recent years, however, the relationship between African states, the African Union and the International Criminal Court has become strained. Even though threats of a mass withdrawal have faded and opposition to the Court at the AU has been muted, many concerns raised by African states and communities remain unaddressed. Below, experts discuss some of these issues, and propose practical steps for African states, the AU and the ICC to work together more effectively in order to satisfy their mutual interests.

How can South Africa, the African Union and the International Criminal Court work together more effectively in order to satisfy their mutual interests?

Director of Africa Programme at the International Commission of Jurists
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Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh
Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, South Africa
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John Jeffery

Do you see more hope, or reason to worry about the relationship between African states and the ICC today? Why?

Former Chief Justice of Tanzania, former Member of the Independent Expert Review of the ICC, and Member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability
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Mohamed Chande Othman
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability
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NAVI PILLAY​
Executive Director, Africa Division at Human Rights Watch
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Mausi Segun
Director of Africa Programme at the International Commission of Jurists
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Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh
Director of Africa Programme at the International Commission of Jurists
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Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh

Let’s try and imagine a utopian system of international justice on the African continent. What would it look like? What practical steps can we take to get there?

Former Chief Justice of Tanzania, former Member of the Independent Expert Review of the ICC, and Member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability
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Mohamed Chande Othman
Former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, former Chair of the Independent Expert Review of the ICC, and Member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability
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Richard Goldstone
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability
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Navi Pillay

As the former United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, why does our human rights framework necessitate a strong ICC?

At the end of your nine-year term as ICC Prosecutor, how would you describe the current ICC-Africa relationship?

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
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Fatou Bensouda
Senior Manager for Africa, Open Society Justice Initiative
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Chidi Odinkalu

How can Nigeria, the AU and the ICC work together more effectively in order to satisfy their mutual interests? Would an African Court with international criminal jurisdiction be the solution?

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