n African Human Rights Law Journal - The Nairobi Principles on Accountability as a means of monitoring and enforcing the rule of law and accountability for international crimes in Africa

Volume 18 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



This article examines the Nairobi Principles on Accountability, a set of principles developed by civil society actors and academics to create standards for accountability processes relating to international crimes. The article describes key aspects of the Nairobi Principles of Accountability as well as their ramifications from a rule of law perspective. By creating standards and guidance relevant to academics, policy makers and practitioners working on justice processes for international crimes, the Principles intends to create a platform for policy and legal change with significant potential to advance the rule of law. This includes informing policy and decision makers at various levels – including the international, regional and national – on how to address the challenges faced by the contemporary system of justice for international crimes and, consequently, to develop a more efficient and legitimate system of international justice. Having described the justifications, methodology and scope of the Nairobi Principles on Accountability, the article elaborates on the main themes addressed by the Principles, namely, (i) state co-operation in international criminal justice; (ii) immunity of state officials; (iii) complementarity; and (iv) victim and witness issues. Whereas all of these topics are examined with the starting point in the challenges experienced in the Kenyan situation, the article comments on the broader ramifications from a rule of law perspective, including the lessons to be learned from the Kenyan experiences with regard to justice for international crimes, in order to advance accountability norms and, hence, the rule of law, in Africa.

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