The Turbulent Relationship between the International Criminal Court and National Jurisdictions: The Libya Tempest and the Kenya Mutiny


October 9, 2013

The same week that the African Union met to discuss a resolution to urge its members to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), Professor Linda E. Carter, Co-Director of the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law’s Global Center for Business and Development, visited Brandeis University for an intimate discussion of that court and its future with Brandeis students.

Carter’s experience with international criminal law from a variety of perspectives led her to two vital questions when discussing the ICC. First, from a big picture perspective, what are the strengths and challenges of an international versus domestic court? More specifically, what does the future hold for the ICC? 

A key to answering both seemed to be a clarification of the concept of complementarily, and even more importantly the practical application of the concept by the International Criminal Court. Carter discussed at length the ongoing cases of Kenya and the implications of an accused of the international criminal court being elected president.  

She also unraveled the issue of state cooperation, emphasizing that post-conflict states such as Libya may not always have the control that the international community expects of state governments. 

Students, many of them alumni of the Brandeis in The Hague program, left with a better understanding of the complex relationships between states and the ICC and with a new perspective on what both sides are able and need to do for that relationship to thrive. 

Carter has extensive experience with the international legal community as a researcher of Rwanda’s Gacaca community courts and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, a visiting professional at the ICC in The Hague, a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Senegal and since 2004 as a collaborator with the Ethics Center’s Brandeis Institute for International Judges.

Carter is a member of the International Bar Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American Branch of the International Law Association. This past summer she directed the first Law and Development Practicum for law students in Kampala, Uganda.

This article was written by Anastasia Austin ’14.