1 July 2013


Max du Plessis, Tiyanjana Maluwa and Annie O'Reilly


More than two-thirds of the members of the African Union (AU) are parties to the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC Rome Statute). Nevertheless over the years the Assembly of the AU has adopted various resolutions critical of the ICC and its practice. This paper discusses some of the reasons for the apparent antagonism of the AU towards the ICC.

Among the questions addressed are:

  • Whether the ICC is guilty of selective prosecution of cases originating in Africa 
  • Why the AU is so critical of the ICC and how its attitude has evolved over the years 
  • How is the ICC constrained by the customary international law doctrine of head-of-state immunity
  • The extent to which the prosecution of Kenya's president and deputy president pose a real challenge to the ICC's authority 
  • The problem of witness protection before the ICC
  • The principle of complementarity in the African context
  • The AU's attempt to establish a regional court to try international crimes.