The International Criminal Court (ICC) is struggling at every level of its operations in Africa - in terms of its investigations, prosecutions, and relations with domestic governments, judiciaries and affected communities. A core cause of the ICC's travails is its remoteness from the societies in which it operates. The Court's conceptual and practical 'distance' from the places where crimes are committed greatly undermines its effectiveness and requires a major rethink about how international criminal justice is conducted, especially in the Global South. This presentation draws on 18 months of fieldwork in central Africa and The Hague since 2006, including 600 interviews with ICC officials, domestic political, legal and civil society actors, and local communities.


Phil Clark is a Reader in Comparative and International Politics at SOAS, University of London, where he teaches African politics and transitional justice. He was previously a Research Fellow in Courts and Public Policy at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, and co-founder and convenor of Oxford Transitional Justice Research. His latest book is The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda: Justice without Lawyers (Cambridge University Press) and he is currently completing a book on the politics of the International Criminal Court in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.