This chapter focuses on the legal structures that were introduced by the European powers during colonial rule, to understand how law related and contributed to these systems of domination (Sect. 4.1). In a wider sense, assessing the role of law in the context of European colonialism provides the framework for the later assessment of legal neo-colonialism in the field of ICL. Emphasis is particularly placed on the administration of French and British colonial possessions because both Great Britain and France, despite the presence of several other European states on the continent, were the leading powers on the African continent during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At the same time, they were the architects of the most renowned colonial policies in Africa, the French system of assimilation and the British indirect rule (Sect. 4.2). In the context of both colonial strategies, law was used a tool to unilaterally impose a Western legal system and enforce Western moral values in the colonial territories. The analyses of the French and British colonial policies further demonstrate that colonial legal systems were based on selectivity ratione personae and ratione materiae, both of which served the consolidation of the system of colonial subordination and the implementation of the colonial objectives of the European powers (Sect. 4.3).
- Indirect Rule
- European Law
- Western Values
- Legal Colonialism
- Native Law
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Osterhammel 2005, p. 17.
See Mommsen 1992, p. 8.
Merry 1991, p. 890.
In a similar vein, David and Brierley 1985, p. 556.
See ibid., pp. 556f. On the denial of African culture and law in general, Menski 2006, pp. 385ff.
Bryce 1901, p. 108.
See Mann and Roberts 1991a, pp. 9ff.
Fisch 1992, p. 15.
Ibid., p. 15. See also, Kämmerer 2012, p. 335, para 8.
Hooker 1975, p. 56. See also, Mommsen 1992, p. 7. In a similar vein, Schmidhauser has noted: ‘With the imposition of the conqueror’s law inevitably came replacement of indigenous legal and judicial elites with those of the conqueror, at least until a subservient indigenous elite was trained and screened’ (Schmidhauser 1997, p. 344).
For an assessment on the characteristic of the civil and common law tradition, Glenn 2014, pp. 132ff., and 236ff.
See infra Sect. 4.2.
See Joireman 2001, pp. 577, 592; and T. Obadina . ‘The myth of Neo-colonialism’ Africa Economic Analysis (04 November 2008). http://www.africaeconomicanalysis.org/articles/gen/neocolonialismhtml.html. Accessed 12 November 2016.
Mann and Roberts 1991a, p. 4.
The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences provides a general understanding of the term assimilation : ‘Assimilation is a multidimensional process of boundary reduction that blurs an ethnic or racial distinction and the social and cultural differences and identities associated with it. At its end point, formerly distinguishable ethnocultural groups become effectively blended into one. At the group level, assimilation may involve the absorption of one or more minority groups into the majority, or the merging of minority groups. At the individual level, assimilation denotes the cumulative changes that make individuals of one ethnic group more acculturated, integrated, and identified with the members of another.’ (Rumbaut 2001, p. 845).
Roberts 1963, p. 27 (emphasis in the original).
See ibid., pp. 27, 71. See also, Crowder 1967, p. 2.
Hooker 1975, p. 196.
Crowder 1968, pp. 169f.
A notable exception was the so-called Quatre Communes in Senegal where the French thoroughly applied the policy of assimilation . However, according to Roland Oliver and Anthony Atmore, ‘[i]n 1936, apart from the four coastal communes of the Senegal with their 80,000 black citoyens (citizens with full political rights), only about 2,000 out of 14 million French West Africans had received French citizenship’ (Oliver and Atmore 2005, p. 177 (emphasis in the original)). See also, Crowder 1967, pp. 3–7.
Roberts 1963, p. 71.
See ibid., pp. 72ff.
Crowder 1968, p. 165.
See, exemplarily, Hooker 1975, pp. 197, 201, 223.
Roberts 1963, p. 64.
Crowder 1968, pp. 168f.
Lugard 1922, p. 203.
Joireman 2001, p. 578.
Fisch 1992, p. 32.
Preambular para 1 Berlin Act (General Act of the Berlin Conference on West Africa (26 February 1885). http://africanhistory.about.com/od/eracolonialism/l/bl-BerlinAct1885.htm. Accessed 12 November 2016).
See, among others, Mommsen 1992, p. 3; Fisch 1992, pp. 16, 21ff.; Deflem 1994, pp. 52, 55. In a similar context, David Killingray observed: ‘Settler colonies, such as Kenya and Southern Rhodesia, tended to be more heavily policed than most other colonies and with a substantial European police presence (Killingray 1986, pp. 414f.).
Killingray 1986, p. 413.
In this statement, Chanock refers to Sect. 20 of the ‘Order of Council of British Central Africa of 1902’ (ibid., p. 72).
See Hooker 1975, p. 223.
Ibid., p. 223.
See ibid., pp. 130, 133, 223.
With respect to the French dominion, Mann and Roberts link the selective enforcement of the rule of law to competing models of colonialism (Mann and Roberts 1991a, p. 35).
Hooker 1975, p. 221.
Fisch 1992, p. 32.
See, e.g., Hooker 1975, p. 220; Killingray 1986, p. 413; Menski 2006, p. 444; Crowder 1968, pp. 7, 335, 342; and Crowder 1967, pp. 4f. In Nigeria, according to Crowder , there were only 200 British administrators for an estimated population of 20 million in 1925. In French West Africa, there were 526 French administrators for an estimated population of 15 million in 1922 (Crowder 1968, pp. 198f. On migration in French West Africa see ibid., pp. 335–342).
Hooker 1975, p. 220.
Mommsen 1992, p. 10.
See Joireman 2001, p. 571.
Mommsen 1992, p. 8.
Ibid., p. 10.
Mann and Roberts 1991a, p. 35.
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Schuerch, R. (2017). Legal Colonialism by European States. In: The International Criminal Court at the Mercy of Powerful States. International Criminal Justice Series, vol 13. T.M.C. Asser Press, The Hague. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6265-192-0_4
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