Abducted, inducted, and indictedThe case of Dominic Ongwen in the International Criminal Court

Authored by: Simeon P. Sungi , George R. Kakoti

The Routledge Handbook of African Law

Print publication date:  November  2021
Online publication date:  November  2021

Print ISBN: 9780815350682
eBook ISBN: 9781351142366
Adobe ISBN:


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One of the key features of the jurisdictional competence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the principle of complementarity. The principle provides that the ICC will only exercise its jurisdiction over cases where there are no credible national criminal prosecutions. The credibility of national criminal prosecutions is measured by the unwillingness or inability of the state to prosecute perpetrators of international crimes through national criminal courts. Currently, a majority of cases before the ICC are cases from Africa. The African Union and some legal scholars have argued that ICC is unfairly targeting African leaders and that it is a court with imperialistic biases. This research puts forth a different thesis that the sentiments that the ICC is targeting Africa is not correct. Rather, the ICC’s intervention in African cases is informed by the failures of the criminal justice systems of African states to ensure accountability. It investigates the criminal justice systems of the jurisdictions whose cases are pending before the ICC and evaluates whether the ICC intervention is informed by the fact that the criminal justice systems in those jurisdictions are unable and unwilling to prosecute perpetrators of international crimes because of the deficiencies in their criminal justice systems.

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