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Gresham College: Prof. Sir Geoffrey Nice Q.C. – International Criminal Courts – #3/6 – The Permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) and Africa


About this series

This is a part of Sir Geoffrey Nice’s 2012/13 series of lectures as Gresham Professor of Law, which looks at the issues around International Criminal Courts

About this lecture

The permanent International criminal Court – the ICC – was long in planning and finally came into existence after the ad hoc Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals (the ICTY and the ICTR) were seen to have had some success. However, problems facing the permanent court that involves itself in continuing conflicts have been seen to be different from those of the ad hoc tribunals that deal with conflicts that had been largely concluded when the tribunals first sat. African countries whose citizens have been brought before the ICC complain of unfairness and bias and that the ICC has become a court for Africa, nowhere else. May they be right? Has the court dealt evenly with different countries or has it shown itself to be vulnerable to political influences? When the ICC becomes involved in continuing conflicts – as it has done in Africa – does it inevitably become involved in the politics of regime change and even in the conflicts themselves? Does the tension between the universal jurisdiction claimed by international criminal courts and the immunity of heads of state from pursuit in courts help or harm when the tension leads to some heads of state remaining in office simply to maintain their immunity from pursuit? Sir Geoffrey Nice’s involvement in the Sudan, Kenya and Libya cases may provide insight and indicate how a venture some think doomed could yet be saved..

This is a part of Sir Geoffrey Nice’s 2012/13 series of lectures as Gresham Professor of Law. 

About Sir Geoffrey Nice Q.C.

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC has practised as a barrister since 1971.  He worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia – the ICTY – between 1998 and 2006 and led the prosecution of Slobodan Milošević, former President of Serbia. Much of his work since has been connected to cases before the permanent International Criminal Court – Sudan, Kenya, Libya – or  pro bono for victims groups – Iran, Burma, North Korea – whose cases cannot get to any international court.  He works for several related NGO’s and lectures and commentates in the media in various countries on international war crimes issues.  He has been a part-time judge since 1984 sitting at the Old Bailey and has sat as judge in other jurisdictions, tribunals and inquiries.  Between 2009 and 2012 he was Vice-Chair of the Bar Standards Board, the body that regulates barristers.

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