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Unconstitutional Change of Government: A New Crime within the Jurisdiction of the African Criminal Court

By H. van der Wilt


One of the most interesting and controversial crimes that belong to the subject matter jurisdiction of the newly to be established African Criminal Chamber is undoubtedly the crime of unconstitutional change of government. This article explores the question why this offence is upgraded to the regional level of criminal law enforcement. After all, any criminalization of the conduct at a regional level and the concomitant inclusion of the offence in the jurisdiction of regional courts raises questions about the right of foreign intervention in internal political affairs and the curtailment of the right to rebel. The crime of unconstitutional change of government is tested against these principles and it is concluded that they do not impede criminalization, nor the elevation of the crime to a regional level. In search of a positive argument in defence of the inclusion of the crime within the jurisdiction of the African Court, I contend that the best explanation is that insurgencies are not contained to single states but are inclined to spread to other countries. In view of the specific African experience, where endemic conflicts have proved to be contagious, it is clear that states have a common interest in suppressing both the dynamic and static form of unconstitutional change of government

Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.1017/s0922156517000449
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Provided by: NARCIS
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