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Accomplice to Impunity?: Rethinking the Political Strategy of the International Criminal Court in Central Africa


In recent years, the International Criminal Court has emerged as a major player within the Great Lakes region of East and Central Africa. However, few scholars and commentators have sought to assess the court’s activities from within this regional lens. Yet viewing the court’s work from within this perspective is critical, because it highlights some of the profound deficiencies with the court’s investigative strategy thus far. Time and again, the court has chosen to target criminal activity while ignoring the larger criminal enterprise, seeking to eliminate the impunity of mid-level warlords, while allowing their patrons—who are often high-level government officials—to go free. For the court to truly have a long-term impact on the criminal networks that proliferate throughout the region, it will need to retool its political strategy.