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Contempt of Court: Reviving the Reputation of the ICC

03 Dec 2017
By Dr Alan Bloomfield
Flavia Zimmermann interviews Alan Bloomfield

The International Criminal Court was conceived as a bulwark of fairness, justice and the rule of law against those charged with the gravest crimes against humanity. In 2017, however, the court’s future seems increasingly under threat.

Despite the almost universal approval of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) mission in principle, participation in the court has always been spotty at best. Recently, even existing member states have been questioning its legitimacy. How then, can the court reassert itself as the torch-bearer of what Kofi Annan called “a cause of all humanity” and bring even the most formidable dictators, warlords and their associates, to justice?

As part of their research into the dynamics of international norms, Dr Alan Bloomfield and Kurt Mills have focused on how African states have resisted the anti-impunity norm and the constitutive norm of the ICC. They have found that the ICC is struggling to remain relevant and that its constitutive norm is weakening in the face of widespread non-cooperation and defection: Burundi withdrew from the ICC in October 2017 and South Africa and Kenya look set to follow.

Dr Alan Bloomfield of the University of Western Australia spoke with AIIA for WA council member Flavia Zimmermann about these challenges before presenting at AIIA for WA on 21 November 2017.


Dr Alan Bloomfield is an associate lecturer at the University of Western Australia.

Interview by Flavia Bellieni Zimmermann

Filming and Editing by Nancye Miles-Tweedie