Past eventResearch Event

The International Court of Justice and Africa

5 April 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Chatham House, London


HE Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, President, International Court of Justice
Chair: Ruma Mandal, Head, International Law Programme, Chatham House



The International Court of Justice (ICJ), as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN), contributes to the peaceful resolution of disputes between states. Boundary disputes are the most common type of dispute between African states submitted to the court - although these are not the only contentious cases submitted and not the preserve of Africa. Examples include the Nigeria and Cameroon dispute over the Bakassi Peninsula and the current maritime delimitation case between Somalia and Kenya. Some argue that African leaders should rely more on African institutions, such as the African Union (AU), to resolve disputes between African states.

The ICJ also provides advisory opinions at the request of UN organs and specialized agencies. The AU is seeking a request from the UN General Assembly for the ICJ to provide an advisory opinion on the heads of state immunities issue in relation to the International Criminal Court. 

At this event, the newly elected president of the ICJ, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, will discuss the role of the court in sub-Saharan Africa, the contribution cases involving situations in Africa have made to international law, and the development of regional legal institutions in Africa.