The ICC and Community-Level Reconciliation: In-Country Perspectives
"The ICC interventions in Africa have precipitated debate about the role of transitional justice processes in stabilising war-affected and post-authoritarian countries. The focus of this Regional Consultation was therefore timely and relevant to the contemporary efforts to administer international criminal justice in Africa. The fact that the ICC system has declined to publicly recognise how its interventions can adversely affect community-level reconciliation processes, suggests that there is a substantial amount of dialogue that needs to be conducted within the Court, government, academia and civil society on this issue. The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation will continue to play its role in this regard and will do so in partnership with governments, inter-governmental organisations and the ICC. The Regional Consultation discussed how the ICC is a court of last resort and not a court of first instance. Ideally, national criminal jurisdiction should take precedence in efforts to address impunity. This establishes the principle of complementarity between the ICC and national criminal jurisdictions, the idea being that domestic efforts to address impunity are preferable to the international fora. However, when a State Party is unwilling or unable to operationalise such a national criminal jurisdiction then the ICC has to step in. While this principle is clear and has been established with respect to retributive or punitive justice, the Rome Statute does not make any special provisions for restorative justice and reconciliation processes."