Africa vs the ICC: Searching for an exit strategy

31 March 2017
(Image credit: Ntswe Mkoena/EPA)

The long–strained relationship between Africa and the International Criminal Court (ICC) recently reached the highest point of tension. For a long time, since the entry into force in 2002 of the Rome Statute, the African continent has been the Court’s almost–exclusive focus of attention, which sparked criticisms for a perceived bias in the administration of international justice. Such tension culminated in an “ICC withdrawal strategy” adopted by the African Union (AU), in January of this year, under the impulse of some countries. The implementation of the strategy would amount to a nearly fatal blow for the Court. Yet the range of the countries’ positions actually shows great variation, and the overall situation remains extremely fluid and unpredictable: South Africa’s shocking decision to withdraw from the ICC was deemed unconstitutional and blocked by the High Court; The Gambia’s new elected President quickly reversed the decision of his predecessor; moreover, several other African countries have expressed their commitment to the Court and criticised the AU’s rupture strategy. The Commentaries in this ISPI Dossier examine the issues at stake from the unique perspectives of six experts.

Maddalena Procopio
London School of Economics
Juliet Amenge Okoth
University of Nairobi
Mark Kersten
Munk School of Global Affairs and Wayamo Foundation
Cuno Tarfusser
International Criminal Court
Gerhard Werle and Moritz Vormbaum
Humboldt–Universität zu Berlin and Universität Hamburg

 *This Dossier was edited by Chantal Meloni (Università degli Studi di Milano) and Giovanni Carbone (ISPI).