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States of Justice
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Book description

This book theorizes the ways in which states that are presumed to be weaker in the international system use the International Criminal Court (ICC) to advance their security and political interests. Ultimately, it contends that African states have managed to instrumentally and strategically use the international justice system to their advantage, a theoretical framework that challenges the “justice cascade” argument. The empirical work of this study focuses on four major themes around the intersection of power, states' interests, and the global governance of atrocity crimes: firstly, the strategic use of self-referrals to the ICC; secondly, complementarity between national and the international justice system; thirdly, the limits of state cooperation with international courts; and finally the use of international courts in domestic political conflicts. This book is valuable to students, scholars, and researchers who are interested in international relations, international criminal justice, peace and conflict studies, human rights, and African politics.


'States of Justice offers us a fresh and compelling analysis of the ICC through questions that call on us to think about how state actors that are variously positioned deploy mechanisms and strategies to leverage their interests. It does not just focus on the ICC and its relationship with African states, but also explores alternate spaces of engagement that are key to understanding not only law, but the place of politics in an unequal world. States of Justice is a tremendous contribution to the field - a must read!”

Kamari Clarke - University of California, Los Angeles

'Oumar Ba persuasively addresses the legitimacy gap that the ICC faces today, which is threatening to undermine international justice. Ba masterfully moves the debate with abundant facts and persuasive arguments. The book should be a requirement for novices and the initiates alike who wish to advance ‘international justice'. I strongly recommend it too for courses on humanitarian law.'

Siba N'Zatioula Grovogui - Cornell University, New York

'The International Criminal Court cannot escape the unruly effects of power politics. In fact, it depends on state cooperation and must find ways of navigating the forces of state competition and power maximization. But if we are to confront this reality, we also need to rigorously engage the strategies of its states parties bent on using the court to gain pollical advantage. Oumar Ba’s important new book argues powerfully for such engagement in the context of African politics. Its systematic analysis of African state parties’ strategies toward the ICC is a rich and insightful study of the shifting political dynamics of these states’ cooperation with the ICC. With its theoretical and empirical rigor, it shows just how important it is to probe the complex politics of the less powerful, authoritarian African states.'

Steven C. Roach - University of South Florida

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