Antoinette Louw

African Efforts to Close the Impunity Gap Lessons for Complementarity from National and Regional Actions

"The aim of this paper is to highlight some of the successes and challenges of domestic and regional international criminal justice processes in Africa. That discussion might be framed as one about ‘complementarity’ in a broad sense – the idea that states act as a complement to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to make the world a smaller place for genocidaires and war criminals. As will be seen, the idea of complementarity advanced in this paper and played out in the African examples covered below goes beyond the standard, technical understanding of complementarity as contained in the Rome Statute of the ICC. The idea of complementarity discussed here is less focused on how states work as a direct complement to the ICC (although that remains important), and is rather concerned with what they are doing to further the international criminal justice project more generally, which could (and has of late) include(d) domestic and regional cooperation efforts by states and civil society organisations."

Perspectives on Africa’s Response to the ICC’s Arrest Warrants in the Libya Situation

Published: 2011
"On 27 June 2011, the three judges of the International Criminal Court’s Pre-trial Chamber I issued arrest warrants for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and Abdullah al-Senussi for alleged crimes against humanity committed in Libya since mid-February this year. The decision is a significant but not unexpected development in a process begun by the United Nations Security Council when it passed Resolution 1970, which, among other things, referred the situation in Libya to the ICC for investigation and possible prosecution. The current motivator is African leaders’ unease with the NATO led military operation in Libya authorised by UN Security Council Resolution 1973, along with concerns that the Gaddafi warrant will undermine the AU’s efforts to negotiate a political settlement. The implications of these positions for international justice and the ICC are important and need to be approached by considering several questions: How did the Libyan situation come before the ICC? On what basis did the ICC judges issue the arrest warrants? To what extent are peace prospects now under threat? What are the prospects for Africa-ICC relations?"

Justice and the Libyan Crisis: the ICC’s Role under Security Council Resolution 1970

"The ICC’s work in Libya’s conflict zone is imperative and deserves continued support – although the road ahead already appears long and strewn with hurdles. In these early days there are at least positive signs from within the continent that Gaddafi’s behaviour towards his country’s citizens is unacceptable. In that respect the African Court’s decision on Libya – both in form and substance – represents a bold advance into a situation whose political implications have made the work of the AU’s other institutions difficult. The African Court’s decision confirms that Gaddafi continues to terrorise his people in the face of both Western and African opposition. The resistance to the ICC in some parts of the African continent is likely to increase. By requesting an arrest warrant for Gaddafi, it is only the second time the ICC has sought a warrant for a sitting head of state (the first being for al-Bashir). A chorus of voices can be expected to lament the ICC’s targeting of African leaders."

Symposium on ‘The ICC that Africa wants' 9-10 November 2009, Spier Hotel Stellenbosch, Key outcomes and recommendations

"The report reflects on key issues that were raised and provides recommendations developed by the authors that draw on the rich and diverse presentations and discussions at the symposium. This report and its recommendations therefore reflect the views of the authors.The report and its recommendations have also been shaped by events that occurred immediately after the symposium. In particular, the section relating to the Review Conference has been shaped by the outcome of the 8th ICC Assembly of States Parties (ASP) (17-26 November 2009). The report responds to two broad questions: what are the issues of concern around the ICC, and what are the recommendations for states parties, CSOs and the ICC in preparation for the Review Conference, and beyond?"

Report from a Symposium on the Investigation and Prosecution of ‘Core International Crimes' and the Role of the International Criminal Court in Africa

"The International Criminal Court stands as a working model of international criminal justice in terms of which an international criminal forum applies rules of international law, is staffed by independent prosecutors and judges, and holds persons individually responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes, after allowing them a fair trial. It is the appropriate pinnacle of international criminal justice. Today, international criminal law has truly come of age. The moral imperative of international criminal law – of holding individuals accountable under the world’s highest law for the world’s worst crimes – means that international law can no longer be seen as a law that applies only between states. It is today a law that binds soldiers, civilians, and leaders. And it is a law that protects individuals from genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, if only through the promise that perpetrators of such crimes will not go unpunished. Its importance for Africa can no longer be denied."

Report from a Symposium on the Investigation and Prosecution of ‘Core International Crimes’ and the Role of the International Criminal Court in Africa

"The first objective was to lay the foundation for greater cooperation between the African Union (AU) and the ICC. The second, and related, objective was to highlight the problems and politics (both domestically within African states and regionally within Africa) of prosecuting international crimes. The idea was to identify critical areas where national criminal justice officials are likely to need support/training in investigating and prosecuting international crimes. Africa has already demonstrated a clear commitment to the ideals and objectives of the ICC: more than half of all African states (28) have ratified the Rome Statute, and many have taken proactive steps to ensure effective implementation of its provisions. In addition, participants of the symposium identified clear initiatives that can be taken to enhance the prosecution of international crimes and end impunity for serious crimes in Africa."

Crime and Crime Prevention in South Africa: 10 Years After

"This article argues that South Africa’s criminal justice system has performed well considering the challenges it has faced since 1994. The task now is to deal with increasingly negative public perceptions of safety and renew efforts to prevent crime by tackling the social and developmental factors that are beyond the scope of the police and courts. This paper argues that the South African criminal justice system has performed well considering the challenges it has faced since 1994. However, while acknowledging this success, it also points out that there remain many challenges and that more could be done to address certain problems that still exist."

Criminal Justice in Review 2001/2002

"Chapter one analyses the latest available official crime statistics at the time of writing. During the 2001/02 financial year 2.5 million crimes were recorded in South Africa, some 25% more than in 1994/95. While recorded crime increased rapidly in the late 1990s, a less than 1% increase during 2001/02 may indicate that crime levels are beginning to stabilise. Nevertheless, levels of recorded violent crime remain extremely high. The budget allocation of the criminal justice system departments is analysed in chapter two. Chapter three focuses on the performance of the Department of Safety and Security. Evaluating the performance of the South African Police Service (SAPS) is complicated by the fact that the goals of the police service are often vague, and information about police performance is not always made public. Any variation in the number of crimes recorded cannot be ascribed primarily to police action. The performance of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (which encompasses the National Prosecuting Authority) is evaluated in chapter four. Chapter five deals with the performance of the Department of Correctional Services. In the concluding chapter it is argued that the three criminal justice system departments performed satisfactorily during the period under review."

Violent Justice Vigilantism and the State's Response

"This monograph has argued that the main reason why people support vigilantism today relates to weaknesses in the criminal justice system and particularly the long period of time taken to deal with criminal cases. The review of policies and strategies above shows that there are many government initiatives in place to deal with these problems. Certain factors may however limit the impact of these approaches.These factors are presented within the context of four recommendations which are listed in italics at the start of each discussion."

Drugs and Crime in South Africa A Study in Three Cities

"This study has given an intriguing glance into a world in need of urgent attention: the world of the drug motivated criminal. It has shown that this is not one world, but many worlds: sex workers trading their attentions for rocks, Cape gangsters warring over a prime retail street corner, wife beaters gearing up on booze or other drugs, white kids from the suburbs peddling stolen cell phones for a fix in the inner city. But this research has barely scratched the surface of this complicated and often contradictory underground. The central limitation of a study of this sort is that the causal links between drugs and crime cannot be adequately probed. The interview component was conducted by non-specialists in an accusatory environment, resulting in startling levels of prevarication among the subjects of the research. This leaves high levels of certainty about the presence of drugs, but little guidance about what can be made of this fact."