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judicialized elections, election disputes, international courts, national courts, Africa


This article assesses what benefit losers of high-stakes national elections think they will get from petitioning international courts in Africa. We seek to establish how judicial intervention differs before an election when there is a risk of an international law violation, versus after an election has occurred and the result is viewed as flawed. We address these questions by drawing on a set of disputes decided by international courts in Africa in the African Court, the Economic Community of West African States (“ECOWAS”) Community Court of Justice, and the East African Court of Justice. We supplement our analysis by discussing two important mega-political electoral disputes at the national level. Together, all the cases we analyze involve deeply divisive disputes surrounding competitive presidential, gubernatorial, and legislative elections that had significant political consequences.


Copyright © 2021 by James Thuo Gathii & Olabisi D. Akinkugbe.

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