African Alternatives to the ICC – A debate in The Hague

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Friday, April 22, 2016 - 14:43

Burundi is on the brink of civil war, the Democratic Republic of Congo is on edge and Ivory Coast is the subject of a landmark trial at the ICC. On the evening of 25 April 2016, Justice Hub will host a French-speaking event in The Hague between young bloggers/activists from these African countries and international justice experts.

(If you want to attend the event, the entrance is free but be sure to reserve your seat here: http://bit.ly/1T9ehoZ.)

Appropriately titled ‘African Alternatives to the ICC’, the event’s key statement is: The ICC is perceived to be anti-African. Could hybrid courts, like the one that is trying former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré, be an alternative for the continent?

Indeed, the trial of Habré in neighboring Senegal has sparked questions about Africa’s need for, and dependence on, the ICC. Habré’s trial has happened within one year and, arguably, without any major political implications for Chad. Senegal is also ‘closer’ to the affected community. (Of course, on a practical level, this is not exactly true: a simple Google Maps search suggests that it’s actually faster to go to The Hague from N'Djamena than it is to go to Dakar.)

Nonetheless, one may argue that the African Union’s preference for political solutions to conflicts – with the consequence of immunity for sitting heads of states – may just provide the best argument for the ICC’s continued involvement in Africa.  

Join us at Humanity House at 7pm to discuss these and more vital issues around justice and accountability for crimes against humanity in Africa.

Commissioner Pacifique Manirakiza will deliver the event’s keynote speech. He is a Burundian citizen and was elected to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights during the 17th Summit of the Heads of States and Governments in 2011. Currently an associate professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, Commissioner Manirakiza was previously the deputy prosecutor of the Republic of Burundi in the provinces of Rutana and Ngozi. He was also a member of the defence team for one of the cases that was brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Below are the profiles of the panelists:

Alice Banens is a program officer at the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Africa Desk. Prior to joining FIDH, she was a legal officer/project coordinator at Legal Aid Cambodia. She has also worked at the ICC and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court. A trained lawyer, she brings to the panel a strong understanding of FIDH’s approach to victims’ rights, justice and accountability. Founded in 1922, FIDH is an international human rights NGO federating 178 organizations from 120 countries.

Armel-Gilbert Bukeyeneza is an economist, journalist and blogger working for Iwacu, Burundi’s main independent newspaper. He also contributes to RNW’s Yaga Burundi, a platform where Burundian activist bloggers inform people and share their thoughts about the current crisis in their country.  

Chantal Faida is a Congolese blogger and social activist who is vying for a political seat in Goma through the Alliance pour le Développement et la République (ADR) opposition party in DRC Congo. She writes for various platforms, including RNW’s Waza Afrique. She is also founder of UWEMA, an NGO aiming to promote and protect the rights of women and children affected by war in North Kivu.

Dov Jacobs is an assistant professor at the Grotius Centre in Leiden where he teaches International Criminal Law, transitional justice and peacebuilding. He is a member of the Defence team of Laurent Gbagbo at the International Criminal Court. Currently, he is a member of the editorial board of the Leiden Journal of International Law and, the chief editor of international law of the European Journal of Legal Studies. Jacobs regularly comments on international law issues on his blog, Spreading the Jam.

Franck Boni is an Ivorian passionate about law and all topics related to human rights and politics. He has a business law diploma and is currently preparing another master degree in the legal department. He was a member of the National Jurist Student’s Organization in Ivory Coast. He is currently working as a community manager at RNW’s Ivoire Justice, an independent, impartial and informative platform about current Ivoirian affairs at the International Crime Court (ICC).

Franck Petit is the head of the outreach programme of the African Extraordinary Chambers, and the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of International Justice Tribune. For over 20 years, he has been working primarily on post-conflict situations and international political affairs, with specific expertise on war crimes trials, international courts and Africa. He has worked for Reporters without Borders, BBC News and RNW Media.

Our goal is to provide a safe space for open and honest dialogue around justice and accountability, between young African change-makers and international justice experts. We hope to see you there.

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