Africa and the Backlash Against International Courts

By: *Peter Brett and Line Engbo Gissel

Why are contemporary African governments working to undermine the international courts they proactively created and supported in the 1990s and early 2000s?

At the start of the twenty-first century the story of Africa’s engagement with international law was one of marked commitment and meaningful contributions.

Africa pioneered new areas of law and legal remedies, such as international criminal law and universal jurisdiction, and gave human rights jurisdiction to a number of new international courts.

However, in recent years, African states have mobilised politically and collectively against the regional courts and the International Criminal Court, contesting these institutions’ authority and legitimacy at national, regional and international levels.

Co-author, Line Engbo Gissel
Associate professor at Roskilde University.

Africa and the Backlash Against International Courts provides the first comprehensive account of this important phenomenon, bringing together original fieldwork, empirical analysis and a critical overview of the diverse scholarship on both international and African regional courts.

Moving beyond conventional explanations, Brett and Gissel use this remarkable research to show how the actions of African states should instead be seen as part of a growing desire for a more equal global order; a trend that not only has huge implications for Africa’s international relations, but that could potentially change the entire practice of international law.

About the Authors.

Line Engbo Gissel is an associate professor at Roskilde University, where she teaches global governance and human rights. Her research focuses on the politics of transitional justice, the role of the International Criminal Court in East Africa and the relationship between peace and justice.

Peter Brett is a senior lecturer in international politics at Queen Mary, University of London. He teaches the politics of international law and Africa’s international relations. His research focuses on the politics of rights and the judiciary, with a particular interest in Southern and West Africa.

Ange Ngu Thomas

Author: Ange Ngu Thomas

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