Immunities, Withdrawals from the International Criminal Court, and African Discontent: Reflections on an Impasse-Max du Plessis (KwaZulu-Natal)
10 Feb 2017, 1pm | White & Case Room, Law Faculty, University of Oxford

The interpretation by the International Criminal Court of the provisions of its Statute on personal immunities has been much criticised and is of course the subject of political controversy, in particular within the African Union and some of its members. That controversy has recently catalysed the withdrawal from the ICC by certain States, including South Africa.  Is there a way out of this impasse?  What does the controversy portend for the international criminal justice project? Are there any positive lessons to be drawn?

This event is being co-hosted with the Bonavero Institute for Human Rights.

You can listen to a recording of the event here.

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Speakers

Dr Max du Plessis
Colenso Visiting Scholar, St John’s College, Cambridge

Max du Plessis, is a barrister in South Africa, associate professor, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban) and a senior research associate at the Institute for Security Studies. The primary focus of his research and writing over the past few years has been international criminal justice and the work of the International Criminal Court in and about Africa. As a barrister in South Africa (and associate tenant, Doughty Street Chambers, London), Max has been working on domestic cases dealing with arrest warrants for senior government officials implicated in international crimes (including President Bashir of Sudan, Tzipi Livni of Israel, and President Mugabe of Zimbabwe) and litigating and advising on them in South Africa and other countries. He most recently acted on behalf of the Southern African Litigation Centre in seeking to ensure that the South African government complies with its obligations to arrest Bashir - arguing against the government's claim that Bashir has immunity from arrest under customary international law on account of him being head of state. He also acted for one of the parties in challenging the government’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

Max is taking time away from practice to work on a book of his experiences (particularly from an African perspective) of international criminal justice in action, and to focus on the promises and problems of doing such work on the continent – and the lessons that might be drawn therefrom for other jurisdictions.