African International Courts and Tribunals AICT

(Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; New York University, New York)

This website has been developed by the Project on International Courts and Tribunals (PICT). PICT’s mission is to address the legal, political, financial and organizational challenges arising out of the multiplication of international courts and tribunals that took place as of the end of the Cold War. PICT is a catalyst for research, both scholarly and policy-oriented, and training … (about 1/2).

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About 2/2: … In the world of international courts and tribunals, Africa is, in many regards, a unique case. African States and international organizations are frontrunners in the development of international courts and tribunals. A few examples will help illustratie the extent of their path-breaking work.

  • In Africa, for the first time in history, the merger of two distinct international courts has been attempted (i.e. the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Union Court of Justice).
  • In the past decade, different forms and mechanisms for international criminal accountability have been explored and the limits of classical international law tested (e.g. Burundi, Darfur, Hissène Habré, Charles Taylor).
  • The first hybrid international criminal court was created in Africa (Sierra Leone).
  • The first investigations of the International Criminal Court have been done in Africa (e.g., Darfur, Congo, Uganda). Albeit global, the ICC is de facto for the time being an “African criminal court”.
  • Africa is the continent that by far has given birth to the largest number of international judicial bodies. Yet, at the same time a larger than usual part of these have been non-starters or, after a hesitant beginning, have been derelict, or remained only a project on paper. Also, some of the bodies that have started operating at significant levels have faced challenges different from those of their peers in other continents.

For these and many other reasons Africa can be regarded as an advanced laboratory for international courts and tribunals and international justice at large. Yet, there is a dearth of information available on international judicial bodies operating on the continent, and when it is available it is scattered in multiple sites and media. PICT has accordingly decided to develop this site to facilitate the efforts of all those working in the field and to provide Africans with a greater awareness and understanding of the burgeoning international judiciary that is developing in the region and the many opportunities for justice and peaceful dispute settlement that these mechanisms provide..

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