Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Politics of International Criminal Justice

Lessons from the International Criminal Court and the Special Court for Sierra Leone

3,4 May 2012
Freetown, Sierra Leone

International criminal justice has become a weapon in political struggles in different African states. International court and tribunals, whilst often portrayed as legal bastions immune from politics, have proven to be inherently political. Depending on the definition of what counts as ‘political’, the politics of international criminal justice can be found at different levels. For instance, international criminal courts are created by political decisions, adjudicate crimes which are frequently related to politics, and depend on a mysterious and seemingly magical ‘political will’ for the enforcement of their decisions. Moreover, recent studies have shown how the International Criminal Court has become implicated in political struggles by making a distinction between the friends and enemies of the international community which it purports to represent.

This conference studies the politics of international criminal justice at these different stages. Some of the main questions include:
• How should the politics of international criminal justice be conceptualized? What theoretical approaches are helpful in articulating the political aspects of criminal courts and tribunals?
• What lessons can be learned from experiences in countries affected by interventions of international criminal courts? What is the political role of international criminal courts in countries such as Sierra Leone, Uganda, Congo, Sudan, Central African Republic or Kenya?
• How can we improve the accountability of those engaged in the politics of international criminal justice?

The conference brings together academics from different disciplines, including international law and political science, and practitioners in the field of law and politics (including diplomats, politicians, judges, legal counsels). While its main focus is on the International Criminal Court and the Special Court for Sierra Leone, contributions from other areas of international criminal justice are welcomed as well.

Submissions and selection
If you would like to participate in the conference, please send us a 500-750 words abstract of the paper you plan to present before February 1st 2012. We will select a maximum of 10 papers that can be presented at the conference. Early submissions are welcomed. If you are invited to present, we would like to receive a short position paper two weeks before the conference. The position paper should be max. 2500 words, outlining the main argument.

Please send your paper proposal to:
Prof. dr. W.G. Werner

Conference fee
The fee for the conference is 100 Euro. The money from the fees will be used to provide financial support for scholars or practitioners from (West-)African countries coming to the conference. If you would like to receive such support, please let us know before February 15th 2012.
Attendees from African countries are entitled to a waiver of the fee.