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MaryBeth Deiters ACF Abstract FY10

Paradoxes and Pitfalls of the International Criminal Court: Africa in the Circuit of ICC Justice

Conference Name: Celebrating Change, Defining the Future: Social Justice, Democracy and Cultural Renewal

Since 2002, the International Criminal Court has investigated four cases, all of which have been focused in the African continent. While support for the formation of the ICC was high during the Rome Conference, recent developments have resulted in increased tensions between many African leaders and the ICC. In March 2009, African voices rose in dissent when the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir. As some African leaders praised the decision of the ICC, others demanded that the United Nations Security Council defer Bashir's arrest warrant.

There is a concern among many African leaders that the ICC has become unfairly focused on Africa. This paper seeks to evaluate these concerns and what these tensions mean for the future of the relationship between Africa and the ICC. To do this, speeches given by African diplomats during the Rome Conference will be analyzed to discover the concerns and desires shared among them. By examining the cases before the court, the functioning of the court and the prosecutor can be pitted against the ideals put forth during the Rome Conference and the new concerns of the African leaders concerning the courts alleged bias. Further, situational factors surrounding both detractors and supporters will be examined to determine whether something beyond justice and fairness is at work.