African states’ contestation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has escalated over time, and culminated in proposals for creating regional criminal courts in the African Union (AU) and East African Community (EAC). This talk will explain how and why African states have adopted this strategy of regionalizing international criminal justice. It will show how, after unsuccessful attempts to work within and change the ICC to address their contestation, African states have proposed creating regional criminal courts as strategy of last resort. Drawing on interview and archival research, it will explain the AU and EAC proposals’ differing origins, development, and outcomes, where the AU’s proposal was pursued and the EAC’s proposal was ultimately abandoned. Examining these proposals provides insights into the politics of Africa-ICC relations and international criminal justice in Africa more generally.
Nicole De Silva is the IKEA Research Fellow in International Relations at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. Her research combines international relations and international law to understand how international courts, which have expanded in number and scope in recent decades, promote legal accountability and protections for rights. Nicole studies international courts of both global and regional scope, which operate in various issue areas, including regional integration, human rights, and international crimes. She has conducted fieldwork at a range of international courts based in Europe and in Africa, where she was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Pan African Lawyers Union. For this research, she was recently awarded the International Studies Association’s Lawrence S. Finkelstein Award.