Abreha Mesele has graduated from Mekelle University and got his LLB in 2008. Currently, he is a candidate at Addis Ababa University for his LLM. He is now assistant Lecturer at Debre Markos University.

Locating Culture in the Best Interest of the Child

The best interest principle is one of the umbrella principles embodied under the CRC which assures the overall development of children to their fullest potential in order to maximize their capacity and become adulthoodThough this principle is a paramount important for the rights of the child, its vagueness impeded its implementation stage due to different wavering concept it has. And the principle of the best interests of the child has been the subject of extensive consideration in academic, operational and other circles.

Member States, parents, communities or any other organs or individuals, who are in charge and care of children and obliged under the CRC, use this legal loophole, which is left undetermined for implementation purposes, interpret it in different ways. As a result of this, the best interest principle left unrealized due to its vagueness, culture, religion and other considerations taken in the implementation of the rights of children. These factors may not always bring about the positive impetus to children in their overall development as was intended by the UN CRC but rather in most of the cases, these factors are seen contravening the spirit and philosophy of the CRC. Furthermore, the roles of parents given under the CRC towards their minor children are determined by parents’ perspectives, culture and religious understandings which many times found contravening the interest of children.

In addition to the above factors, the problems of assessment on the effects of the actions taken towards children are thorny under human understandings. So, obligations towards states, parents or other individuals or institutions imposed by CRC are complicated and difficult to implement because whether the actions taken are best or not to children are unknown at least time wise.

In my discussion, I will address the interpretation of best interest principle in different culture specific actions taken towards children concerning problems of assessment, compatibility of culture and spirit and philosophy of the CRC and the possible legal lacunae created under article 3(1) and article 41 of the CRC.

  

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International Criminal Court and African Union: Selective Justice?

Before I embarked upon the merit of the issue, some preliminary issues should be discussed to see whether International Criminal Court (hereinafter called ICC) is targeting Africans or not. In order to arrive at a fair and balanced conclusion, there is a need to discuss how the ICC exercise jurisdiction over the most heinous crimes by taking ICC Statute (Rome Statute). Here, issues of membership, complementarity, referral and treaty obligations should first be addressed in order to ascertain on the claim that ICC is selective and targeting Africans. Most, if not all, cases filed in the ICC in the year 2008 were cases from African soil; the issues whether it was deliberate and targetfull is going to be determined case by case and issue by issue bases later on.

International law should not be wielded as the big stick by strong nations used to pummel the weak ones. We are against selective justice. If we have to be fair, the Georgian president, who is being accused byRussia of genocide, must face similar justice.                                                  

The then AU Chairperson, Jean Ping

 

1.   Antecedents of Exclusion and Selectivity of International Criminal Law Enforcement

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