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Refocusing International Law on the Quest for Accountability in Africa: The Case Against the “Other” Impunity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 August 2004


This article argues that the harrowing consequences of official corruption for African societies elevate corruption to the level of a breach of the social and economic rights recognized in international human rights law. Yet, unlike in the case of violation of civil and political rights, the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states seems to provide a convenient excuse for the inaction of the international community in the face of egregious violation of social and economic rights. This inaction, the article argues, is part of the reason why corrupt public officials in Africa perpetrate graft and openly accumulate illicit gains at home and abroad without fear of punishment. The article, therefore, suggests two things: elevation of corruption to the status of a crime in positive international law, and expansion of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court to include official corruption and looting of public funds.

© 2002 Kluwer Law International

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