Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program

Government and Legal Studies

First Advisor

Allen Springer


Fifteen years into its operation as the preeminent international institution charged with the prosecution of the most serious international crimes, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has faced and continues to face intense backlash from the African continent. Once the Court’s most fervent advocates, many African leaders now lambast the ICC. In recent months, three African countries and the African Union en masse have attempted withdrawal from the Court, thus pushing the ICC-Africa relationship into the international spotlight as a topic of acute global interest. This paper seeks to explore the critiques behind this backlash through both a historical and present-day lens, as well as from the perspectives of African leaders, victims-locals, and civil society actors. In doing so, it investigates historical critiques of the ICTY and ICTR, concerns raised during the Rome Statute negotiations, current African leader perspectives as viewed through the case studies of Darfur, Kenya, Uganda, and the AU-ICC relationship, and present African victim-local and civil society opinions of the Court. By understanding the current and multi-faceted African opposition to the ICC and such criticisms’ historical roots, as well as the pockets of hope for the Court within Africa, this analysis reveals the ICC’s main challenges in its relationship with the African continent. With such hurdles unveiled, the ICC can pursue several strategies, located primarily on the state and individual levels, in its endeavor to address these important critiques and regain African support.