The performance of international courts has traditionally been judged against criteria of compliance and effectiveness. Whilst these are clearly desirable objectives for litigants before Africa's international courts, this book shows that we must look beyond these criteria to fully appreciate the impact of these courts. This book shows how litigants use their participation in international litigation to achieve other objectives: to amplify political disputes with their governments, to build their movement, to educate the public about their cause, and to challenge the status quo. Chapters in this collection show how these courts act as coordination points for opposition political parties to name and shame dominant parties for violation of their organizational rights. Others demonstrate how Africa's international courts serve as transitional justice mechanisms in which truth telling about ongoing conflict and authoritarian governance receives significant attention. This attention serves as a platform to galvanize resistance against continued authoritarian rule, especially from outside the conflict countries. Ultimately, the book shows that these courts must be judged against new and broader criteria, and understood as increasingly important venues for waging political, social, environmental, and legal struggles.
Thank you very much Professor Padideh Ala'i for that very kind introduction. I would also like to thank you Dean Camille A. Nelson of the Washington College of Law and the Society for this really special honor of inviting me to give the Grotius Lecture this year. I also thank the President of the Society, Catherine Amirfar, for her leadership and stewardship. My thanks too to my friend, Fleur Johns, for accepting to be the discussant for this lecture. Like you, I look forward to her response very much.
On May 30, 2019, the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) entered into force for the twenty-four countries that had deposited their instruments of ratification. When the remaining thirty-one member states of the African Union ratify it, the AfCFTA will cover a market of 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion. That would make it the world's largest trade agreement since the World Trade Organization (WTO).