The hybrid court model and the legitimacy of international criminal justice in Africa
Hybrid Courts are the latest innovation in the prosecution of international crimes after the era of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Examples include; the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the Regulation 64 Panels in the courts of Kosovo and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The hybrid court model at its inception was believed to be the panacea for the short comings of purely international tribunals. The characteristic location of the tribunals in the locus of the atrocities and the participation of local judicial officers alongside their international counterparts was expected to promote legitimacy and foster capacity building for conflict ravaged transitional states. Despite the criticisms of the model today, a new hybrid court has recently been inaugurated to prosecute Hissène Habré the former President of Chad, for international crimes committed during his presidency. The promulgation of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Senegal suggests that the model continues to be useful, especially for Africa. This is of particular significance since international criminal justice has lately come under attack on the continent. The on-going feud between the African Union and the International Criminal court is only the most prolific example of this. This research paper explores the dimensions of the challenges facing the legitimacy of international criminal justice in Africa and the extent to which the hybrid court model can provide a solution for them. In order to do so, the study begins by addressing the meaning of legitimacy within the African context. A general discussion of hybrid tribunals, as well as the specific manifestations of the model in Africa so far, follows. The Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Courts of Senegal are distinguishable from each other in structure and are thus juxtaposed in order to illuminate possible improvements on the hybrid court model for the future.
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