Wading in Troubled Waters

Date of Event



"Wading in Troubled Waters: Supporting the Work of International Criminal Court (ICC) Through Domestic Legal Institutions in Africa"

September 2, 2015

Speaker: Laurence Juma, Professor & Deputy Dean Faculty of Law Rhodes University, South Africa

Sponsor: The Frederick K. Cox International Law Center Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Summary: This lecture explores an interesting phenomenon in Africa’s relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is the apparent discord between the external policy agenda espoused by political leaders, and the seemingly grounded support for the ICC and the international criminal processes by internal legal institutions in most African states. It argues that whereas in their collective African leaders have condemned the ICC and are actively seeking ways of curtailing its authority to deal with powerful political figures across the continent, their desire to disengage completely from the ICC will probably be difficult to attain. The paper suggests that making assumptions about Africa’s relationship with the ICC based solely on the rhetoric of political leaders and the tantrums of the African Union (AU) may be less useful than eliciting insights on how modern domestic legal institutions that have aligned themselves with principles of international criminal justice but function within the constraints of political power may become key to ending impunity in the continent. Based on Kenya’s recent experiences with the ICC, the paper analyses the role and influence of domestic legal structures in this regard. It does so by, evaluating the success or otherwise of the political and legal efforts to disengage from ICC and withdraw from the Rome Statute, highlighting the point of convergence of ideas/roles of domestic legal institutions and the ICC evident in recently enacted laws/treaties as well as jurisprudence, and interrogating the responsibility African states as members of the international community and forecasting some of the possibilities that exist for strengthening their participation in the international system and bolstering the fight against impunity.

Lecture Series

Frederick K. Cox International Law Center

Subject Headings

International Criminal Court and Africa, Africa and the International Criminal Court, International Criminal Court, Africa, Laurence Juma, Rome Treaty, Rome Statute, Kenya and the International Criminal Court, Kenya and Rome Statute withdrawal, Rome Statute withdrawal, Rome Treaty withdrawal


Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Document Type