Africa Justice System: The African Union Must Prove Itself

Published on 10th July 2012

African Heads of State and government this week embark on a last ditch effort to push for the expansion of  the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice to take over cases facing top African leaders at The Hague-based Court. Majority of the ICC's active cases are international crimes committed in African states of Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Libya and Kenya.

While it is indeed painful for sovereign African states to have their citizens face trial at the ICC, it is equally disastrous to wish away addressing of injustices. Failure to address injustices as well as build a robust judicial system that can tame individuals with overblown egos only serves as an incubator for future violent episodes. Countries such as Sierra Leone, and Liberia have illustrated what can happen to humanity when political contests drive off from the road of just laws.

The quest by the African Heads of State to allow African solutions to African problems is noble. The AU must however outline to Africa what it has done about factors that have made respective African countries to fall into the grip of the ICC.  Such factors include: Politics of exclusion; negative ethnicity; bungled elections; unreliable local judiciary and winner takes it all mentality. The AU must also convince Africa’s citizenry that it has risen above the apathy demonstrated in Libya, Ivory Coast, DR Congo and Mali that is falling apart.

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