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Title: Politicization of international criminal interventions and the impasse of transitional justice : a comparative study of Uganda and Kenya
Author: Lugano, Geoffrey
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 664X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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Since the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) establishment in 2002, its interventions in African situations have produced a mix of results. Whereas many observers have hailed the ICC’s forays onto the continent for expanding the avenues of justice for mass atrocities, there are also political connotations to some of its interventions, as evidenced in narratives of selectivity and neo-colonialism. Building on the latter impacts of the Court’s interventions in Africa, this thesis seeks to discern the shape of local/regional uptake of international criminal justice (ICJ). This follows from contrasting the ICC’s qualification as a moral agent in the global war on impunity for international crimes, with domestic political translations of the Court’s interventions and subsequent collective action at local and regional levels. Thus, the principal argument from this thesis is that contextual normative adaptions produce global-local exchanges that result in viable conditions under which the ICC’s interventions are politicized, to the detriment of its investigative activities and legacy in situation countries. More specifically, elite level exchanges in sub-national, national, regional and international realms produce blends of local and global realities, resulting into the ICC’s exposure to politicization. These findings are instructive for wider debates on the subtle ways in which the ICC is undermined (rather than outright defiance), with spiralling effects on long term peace-building and other regional contexts. In discerning the aforementioned conclusions, I asked the simple research questions: (1) why and how is an ostensibly international legal response to heinous crimes susceptible to (mis)appropriation and subversion by domestic political elites? (2) what are the far-reaching consequences of politicizing the ICC’s interventions on creating conditions for lasting peace in fragile societies? Given the duality of the ICC’s politicization – through (mis)appropriation and subversion, the thesis adopted a comparative study of Uganda and Kenya, which exemplify the two forms of domestic translations of ICJ. The thesis employed a qualitative methodological approach that drew upon secondary data sources, as well as primary data collected through personal key informant interviews in the Netherlands, Uganda and Kenya, with ICC officials, politicians, government officials, representatives of local and international organizations and affected communities. Some of the secondary data sources include: journal articles, media reports, government documents, books, online sources, legal instruments, the ICC’s documents and official speeches. The data collected was analyzed through grounded theory, in which evidence collected raised new sub-questions for further interrogation. All available evidence was then triangulated to develop a critical analysis of the research questions posed. Conceptually, I built on three interrelated concepts (the ICC’s projection of a moral universe, the narrative lens and spatial hierarchies) to discern the ICJ norm diffusion in local/regional contexts. The thesis concludes that the various forms of political resistance to the ICC have pernicious effects on peace-building beyond national boundaries. Perhaps, a greater degree of the Court’s acceptance will be driven by its proactive steps towards the universality of justice, whose absence partly informed the construction of narratives on some of its foremost interventions in Africa.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick ; British Institute in Eastern Africa
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: KC International Law