The relationship between peace and justice is a convoluted one. History reveals that justice has mostly been subordinate to the cravings for peace. In the wake of international armed conflicts or civil wars, war criminals have usually benefitted from amnesties or have simply been left untouched. While the opinion ‘to let bygones be bygones’ may certainly not be shared by everyone, war fatigue, lack of political power and the urge to turn over a new leaf are factors that contribute to the policy of burying the past.
The old-fashioned international humanitarian aid relief has been criticised for years as doing too little and too late while no real alternative has been articulated to fill in the enormous need for food, medicines and know-how offered by international and multi-lateral programs. This UN FORUM issue reflects on some old-standing and some emerging problems in Africa through the new mechanisms, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) to deal with them.
To date, the Office of the Prosecutor has initiated investigations that have exclusively focused on the African region. These developments have led to rigorous discussion and debate on the legitimacy of the Court’s mode of operation in the African context, particularly, whether the ICC as an institution is capable of meeting the notions of justice as desired by Africans.