Decolonizing the International Criminal Court: Considering Questions of Bias in the Prosecution of African Leaders

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Getabicha, Mihret

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The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice


Although the establishment of the International Criminal Court remains a historic achievement in the field of international criminal law, the court is increasingly subject to criticism by some African leaders and due to the prosecution of African leaders. Understanding the reason for these critiques requires an appreciation of the innovations in international law that led to the court’s eventual establishment. This paper provides a brief legal history of international criminal law and uses case studies of two African situations in order to better understand contemporary debates around the prosecution of African Heads of State by international courts. As such, the paper offers useful background information for actors that may be unfamiliar with the trajectory of international criminal law and how historical developments continue to impact the perceived legitimacy of international criminal law in Africa.



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