Seminar New Book Prof. dr. Luc Reydams

Date: 22 October 2013

Venue: CST - Building S - Nile Room (1st floor) - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerpen

Time: 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: IOB - Centre for the Study of the African Great Lakes Region

Short description: Seminar New Book 'The Politics of International Justice in the Great Lakes Region of Africa (1994-2014)' by Prof. dr. Luc Reydams

Over the last two decades, international criminal justice has occupied a prominent place on the international agenda. The period coincides with twenty years of instability, violence, and atrocities in the Great Lakes region of Africa. The conflict, which is said to be the deadliest since the end of the Cold War, can be broken down into the Rwandan civil war and genocide (1990-1994), the First Congo War (October 1996 – May 1997), the Second Congo War or ‘Great War of Africa’ (August 1998 – July 2003), and the off-and-on Third Congo War (2003 – 2013). These successive wars involved a multitude of local, regional, and international actors and resulted in a regional geopolitical realignment.

International criminal justice initiatives to end impunity in the region include the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (1994-2014), numerous trials of Rwandan génocidaires in Europe and Canada on the basis of universal jurisdiction, and International Criminal Court investigations and trials (2004-2014). The achievements are significant but so are the shortcomings: the failure of the ICTR to prosecute the victors of the Rwandan civil war and the failure to hold anybody accountable at all for atrocities committed during the First and Second Congo War. Also troubling, but perhaps inevitable, is the expediency of ICC interventions in the region (the Democratic Republic of Congo,[1] Uganda, and the Central African Republic[2]) and the instrumentalization of international criminal justice by political actors.

The book falls into the category of law, history, and politics and consists of five essays. Each essay addresses a pressing question regarding twenty years of international criminal justice in the Great Lakes region. We argue that these questions are interrelated and cannot be answered adequately without considering the national, regional, and geo-political context and dynamics. Thus, we confront the issue of politics directly and demonstrate that international criminal justice is more ‘negotiated’ and ‘traded’ than blindly applied.

The essays are chronologically organized. Essay # 1 revisits the Rwandan civil war and genocide and the politics of the legal and physical establishment of the ICTR (1990-1997). Essay # 2 deals with the First and Second Congo War and the politics of the non-establishment of an international tribunal for either (1996-2002). Essay # 3 discusses the arrival of the ICC in the Great Lakes region towards the end of the Second Congo War and the beginning of the Third. It delves into the politics of ICC ratification and self-referrals in the Congo, Uganda, and Central African Republic (2001-2004). Essay # 4 scrutinizes the investigative and prosecutorial policy of the ICC in eastern Congo for crimes committed during the Third Congo War. Essay # 5 zooms in on the Congolese province of Ituri and surveys local opinions and sentiments about ten years ICC intervention.

Luc Reydams is an international lawyer/ political scientist from Belgium, Patience Kabamba an anthropologist and political observer from Congo. Both are based in the United States.

Entrance fee: Free but compulsary registration


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Contact phone: 03/265.52.96

Attachment: The Politics of International Justice in the Great Lakes Region of Africa (1994-2014)