The Department of Global Studies' Colloquium Series is a lecture series, which has been made possible by the generosity of the Orfalea Endowment for the Master's Program in Global Studies.  The Colloquium Series strives to open and explore a wide range of interdisciplinary debates and their interaction and engagement with the global, hosting new guest speakers each quarter from UCSB and beyond.  The upcoming event will be hosted via Zoom on Wednesday, February 17th at 12:30pm. Zoom link is (Meeting ID: 842 4656 4996). Please see below for the featured talk:


States of Justice: The politics of the International Court

Hosted by Kai Thaler, Global studies UCSB

The creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998, hailed in a triumphant language, was to finally usher in an era of accountability for atrocity crimes and an end to impunity of such crimes of concern to the international community. Two decades later, that optimism is waning and even supporters of the ICC have publicly aired their frustration. Amidst a string of high-profile acquittals of defendants, flawed investigations, dismissed charges, lengthy proceedings, and controversial rulings, it has become clear that the Court has not lived up to its promise. Why is it that the ICC seems able to deliver justice only on behalf of states rather than for victims and communities affected by atrocity crimes? International courts operate in a world made primarily of states, which try to leverage the legal institutions and processes in pursuit of their political and security interests. Even states that do not wield global power are able to use international courts in pursuit of those interests, while the international justice project reframes its mission as delivering “justice for victims”. Moreover, as calls to “fix” the Court gain ground, the broader question of the imperial and the liberal world order that sustain the international justice project remains at the margin of the deliberations. 

Oumar Ba is an assistant professor of political science at Morehouse College, Atlanta. His primary research focuses on international criminal justice norms and regimes, and the global governance of atrocity crimes. He also studies world making and visions for and alternatives to the current international order from Global South perspectives. He is the author of States of Justice: The Politics of the International Criminal Court (Cambridge University Press, 2020). His publications have appeared in journals such as Human Rights Quarterly, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, African Studies Review, Journal of Narrative Politics, Africa Today, and African Journal of International Criminal Justice.

For more information about the Colloquium Series, please contact Professor Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Global Studies Colloquium Director:

Event Details

  • Diane Jones
  • Efe Koomson

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