The politics of justice
A Gates Cambridge Scholar has taken part in a podcast discussion on the future of the International Criminal Court.
Georgiana Epure took part in the Declarations: The Human Rights Podcast last week. The podcast is a new project of the Centre for Governance and Human Rights Student Group at the University of Cambridge.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002 to prosecute individuals for committing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. However, only Africans have been prosecuted by the court so far, leading some African states to criticise the court for a perceived bias against Africans.
Georgiana was one of three speakers to address questions such as why the ICC is being accused of bias, whether the accusation is accurate and what the future is for international justice in Africa.
Her MPhil research looks at the 'making of' the responsibility to prosecute and its political implications.
During the podcast Georgiana spoke of how the ICC is perceived by some as racist and a reflection of neoliberal power politics. Many African countries had experience of conflicts and may have different ideas about justice, she stated. Moreover, the threat of prosecution at the ICC might mean war criminals had little incentive to relinquish power.
She outlined instead the case for transformative justice and distinguished between different types of rights. The ICC focused on the violation of civil and political rights, but guilt was “not necessarily individualised”. Structural inequalities might instead be to blame.
Georgiana added that one way of addressing the perceived bias of the ICC was to openly acknowledge that it is situated in a political world and its decisions have political consequences. "One way to solve the legitimacy crisis [of the ICC] is to acknowledge that it is political," she said.
Another issue she discussed was that cases are only referred to the ICC as a last resort when national governments were unable or unwilling to prosecute. The ICC is trying to work with national governments to create capacity at the national level so that cases would not have to be referred for its consideration.
The full podcast can be listened to here.
Picture credit: Wikipedia.