Risky Business: Witnesses and Africa’s ICC Withdrawal

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The global response to South Africa’s failure to arrest President Omar al-Bashir when attending the African Union Assembly in the country in June 2015 sparked renewed protestations against the International Criminal Court (ICC) by African States. This in turn led to a call by South Africa for African States to pursue a collective withdrawal from the ICC. The practical, legal effect of such action on the ICC’s witness protection programme remains academically unexamined. This article sets out the witness protection framework, including challenges faced thereunder regardless of a mass withdrawal. This forms the foundation for considering the potential problems raised by any African walkout. The article explores the major problem of the enforcement of witness protection obligations in the event of States exiting the ICC. It endeavours to ignite deeper consideration of these issues and proposes starting points for potential solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-160
JournalHague Yearbook of International Law / Annuaire de La Haye de Droit International
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

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