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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: February 2021

Introduction: Understanding the Meaning, Context, Role and Importance of African Criminal Justice on the Continent and Beyond



The purpose of this book, which focuses on African criminal justice matters, is to examine a range of issues related to the development and the use of international criminal justice in Africa and on Africa. Thus, the book also seeks to understand the reach of the issues beyond Africa in ways that affect the continent. Adopting African perspectives, it provides details relating to the development, application and enforcement of international criminal law in Africa.

This book is timely as it is intended to provide a basis for examining African criminal justice issues. Therefore, engaging in theoretical and policy discourses on the substantive, as well as the procedural, features of criminal justice in Africa can contribute towards inculcating values about the need to ensure that perpetrators of international crimes are held responsible. We argue that a book focusing on criminal justice matters should assist in the understanding of these issues in Africa and around the world, and should also assist in improving the teaching of international criminal justice by providing more of an African perspective. Thus, the book adopts an expansive approach that is intended to allow for the exploration of ideas, themes, institutions and practices related to Africa's role and involvement in international criminal justice generally. It aims to explore concepts, patterns of convergence of criminal justice systems in Africa and how they have responded to international criminal justice issues generally. The continent's responses to international crime will be analysed on the basis of assumptions and expectations underlying international crimes.

This book therefore seeks to articulate issues concerning African criminal justice and to assess how its various component parts can be reformed in order to improve its effectiveness. It enunciates what have been the experiences of a range of institutions in and outside Africa, as well as African states, in holding individuals accountable for international crimes. It provides solutions on how African states can enhance their fight against impunity for the most serious offences of international concern. It addresses fundamental issues of criminal justice, which includes institutions that have been established in order to hold persons suspected of the commission of international crimes responsible.

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