Kerstin Bree Carlson

Feb 9, 2024

The Justice Laboratory

International Law in Africa

Brookings Institution Press 2022

Ever since World War II, the United Nations and other international actors have created laws, treaties, and institutions to punish perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. These efforts have established universally recognized norms and have resulted in several high-profile convictions in egregious cases. But international criminal justice now seems to be a declining force—its energy sapped by long delays in prosecutions, lagging public attention, and a globally rising authoritarianism that disregards legal niceties.

The Justice Laboratory: International Law in Africa (Brookings Institution, 2022) by Dr. Kristin Bree Carlson reviews five examples of international criminal justice as they have been applied across Africa, where brutal civil conflicts in recent decades resulted in varying degrees of global attention and action. Written in an accessible style, this book explores the connections between politics and the doctrine of international criminal law. Highlighting little-known institutional examples and under-discussed political situations, the book contributes to a broader international understanding of African politics and international criminal justice, as well as the lessons the African experiences offer for other regions.


This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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Miranda Melcher

Miranda Melcher (Ph.D., Defense Studies, Kings College, London) studies post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with deep analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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