Peace and Justice at the International Criminal Court
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Peace and Justice at the International Criminal Court

A Court of Last Resort

Errol P. Mendes

This authoritative book addresses the greatest challenge facing the International Criminal Court since its historic establishment in 1998: reconciling the demand for justice for the most serious crimes known to humanity with the promotion of sustainable peace in conflict areas around the world.
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Chapter 5: The Future of the Court: Reassuring Africa, Investigating Gaza, Integrating America and Seeking Help from Global Finance

Errol P. Mendes


IS THE ICC FOCUSING ON AFRICA UNFAIRLY FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES? 1. An opinion editorial by a leading Cameroon jurist, Roland Abeng, in the new high profile online journal, The East African, offered a unique perspective on the future of the International Criminal Court. Pointing out that the majority of cases before the Court were from Africa, he asked whether Africans and the African Union (A.U.) had an alternative to the Court. He further asked provocatively whether there were even five African countries with judicial systems that could try grievous international crimes fairly and equitably through effective national court structures. The way the question was posed removed the necessity for an answer. For those who advocate a continental judicial alternative to the ICC, the jurist seemed equally skeptical.1 The conclusion of this African jurist’s perspective was that the ICC is a court of last resort because it is doing the job of failed judicial systems in many African countries. Contrary to the views of many authoritarian leaders in Africa, the A.U. and the Arab League, this provocative African perspective argued that the ICC had not replaced viable national judiciaries, but had helped attain justice where other options were not possible. The only other alternative to the ICC would have been the creation of numerous ad hoc international criminal tribunals to address serious international crimes in that continent. This African self-critique continued that many African governments are infamous for waiting until the situation deteriorates completely and then blaming the U.N., Europe or...

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