The Missed Opportunity to Africanise the International Criminal Court: An Appraisal of the Case of Prosecutor v Dominic Ongwen




Africa, Africanisation, ubuntu, Dominic Ongwen, International Criminal Court, Eurocentric, decolonisation, traditional justice mechanisms


More than twenty years have passed since the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC), by means of the Rome Statute (ICC Statute). Of the 120 states, thirty-three are from the African continent. The ICC is often perceived as being Eurocentric and retributive in nature. This is because it is often insensitive to cases from the African continent. The case of Prosecutor v Dominic Ongwen, which is the focal point of this article, illustrates this point. Ongwen, a former child soldier who became a warlord in the Lord’s Resistance Army committed numerous crimes under international law and was sentenced to twenty-five years imprisonment. His case was complex and required a wider approach than the retributive position adopted by the ICC. African traditional justice mechanisms were generally overlooked. This article resents this approach taken and proposes that the ICC should have taken a more Africanised stance in this case. The article aims to contribute to the field of research on the Africanisation and decolonisation of international criminal law.


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How to Cite

Nortje, Windell. “The Missed Opportunity to Africanise the International Criminal Court: An Appraisal of the Case of Prosecutor V Dominic Ongwen”. Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, 33 pages.



Received 2023-04-29
Accepted 2023-10-17
Published 2024-03-28