International Law/IR Workshop with Karen Alter
DateFebruary 27, 2015
Time2:00pm to 3:30pm
4357 Bunche Hall
Belinda SunnuPhone email@example.com
Presenter:Karen Alter, Northwestern Universitywith co-author Laurence Helfer, Duke UniversityTitle: “Backlash Against International Courts in West, East, and Southern Africa: Causes and Consequences”Abstract:This paper discusses three efforts to restrict the jurisdiction of sub-regional courts by African governments in response to unwelcomed international judicial rulings. In West Africa, the ECOWAS Court upheld allegations of torture by opposition journalists in the Gambia, spurring an effort by the Gambia’s political leaders to restrict the Court’s power to review human rights complaints. In East Africa, Kenya’s government attempted to eliminate the EACJ and to remove some of its judges after a decision challenging an election to a sub-regional legislature. In Southern Africa, Zimbabwe sought to suspend the SADC Tribunal and strip private access rights after the Tribunal ruled in favor of white farmers in disputes over land seizures. We argue that variations in the mobilization efforts of community secretariats, civil society groups and sub-regional parliaments explain why efforts to eliminate the three courts or narrow their jurisdiction were defeated in ECOWAS, scaled back in the EAC, and largely succeeded in SADC.
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