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South North Dialogue on the Al-Bashir Arrest Warrant

Africa Legal Aid  (ALFA) will be holding a one day conference in The Hague on 26 April 2010,  titled “Al-Bashir Arrest Warrant: The World vs Africa or the African Union vs the People of Africa.” The aim is to explore the South/ North dimensions of the emerging regime of international criminal justice and discuss the views of both proponents and opponents of the actions of the International Criminal Court. Civil societies, legal fraternities and others from African and Northern states will express their views and discuss cutting edge issues on international justice. In the words of the Africa Legal Aid:

While many African States have been key contributors to the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC), recent developments in Africa demonstrate a growing resistance to the ICC and, more generally, international criminal justice. At the AU Summit held in Sirte, Libya, the AU Assembly issued a Joint Declaration stating that AU Member States will ignore the ICC arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar-al-Bashir, and will not take any measures to transfer him to The Hague. AU Chairman Ghadaffi fulminated that the ICC represents ‘new world terrorism’ and attempted to have all African State Parties to the Rome Statute withdraw from the ICC. This attempt failed, but his stance against the ICC was shared by many African countries and leaders. Only Benin and Botswana, kept their backs straight and openly dissented. Resistance against, and debates on, the South-North dimensions of the emerging regime of international criminal justice is not limited to the ICC. Quite controversial too is the exercise of universal jurisdiction by foreign national courts.

The Africa Legal Aid (AFLA) initiated South North Dialogue will stimulate discussion on unsettling issues on the interface between peace and justice as well as the legitimacy of international criminal justice. The ultimate goal is to contribute to an international justice regime that is truly universal, legitimate and effective. The discussions will contribute to formulation and adoption of the AFLA initiated Policy Agenda for International Justice.

The galaxy of experts and resource persons participating in the Dialogue include Prof. Tiyanjana Maluwa, Coordinator of Team of Experts of the African Union High Level Panel on Darfur (AUDP) (Mbeki Report); Maina Kiai, Immidiate past Chair of the Kenyen National Commission on Human Rights; H.E. Mirjam Blaak, Deputy Head of Mission of Uganda in the Benelex; H.E. Paul Wilke, Ambassador of the Dutch ICC Task Force, to mention only a few. Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court will present a keynote address. The provisional agenda and registration form for the conference can be accessed here.

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