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INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

A civilizing crusade against Africa?

THE African Union (AU), an intergovernmental organization involving the majority of countries on the continent, held an extraordinary meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss their relations with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Of the 54 African nations, 34 are represented in the ICC. However, many of them have criticized the court for its unilateral actions against Africa.

The ICC – currently composed of 120 members – emerged from the need for a permanent international body to bring to justice countries which had committed crimes in intra- and cross-border conflicts. The Rome Statute, in effect since 2002, constitutes the legal basis for the creation of the Court and its related entities. However, given that the ICC lacks an implementation mechanism, it is supported by national legal agencies for the purpose of ensuring detentions.

Currently, there are eight cases before the ICC judges: Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, Kenya, Libya, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali. All of them African nations.

Is it the case that the atrocities committed by the United States and its European allies in Iraq, Afghanistan... and in every one of their "humanitarian interventions" are not considered as crimes against humanity?

According to a number of African governments, the Court practices "judicial colonialism," despite the fact that in cases such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, it was their own governments which requested ICC intervention.

From this perspective, heads of state and government who took part in the two-day summit requested the deferral of the trials against the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto, charged by the ICC with being the moral authors of the wave of violence after the 2007 elections in the country.

The African Union also demanded an annulment of the trial against the President of Sudan, Omar al Bashir, and approved a resolution calling for no prosecutions of African leaders exercising their functions.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the AU Commission, refuted speculations about the Pan-African organization's possible withdrawal from the ICC, recalling that when the African states signed the Rome Statute, they did so of their own will and in defense of international justice. In addition, many African countries actively participated in the various negotiation phases for the establishment of the ICC.

She also noted that the objective of the meeting was to send a clear message to the Court to take African concerns seriously and not confine itself to solely trying and sentencing leaders of the continent. The ICC cannot continue attempting to "civilize" Africa.

"We would, therefore, like the United Nations Security Council and the ICC to work with us to ensure that the process of stability, reconciliation, security and peace in Kenya is consolidated," stated Dlamini-Zuma.

She added that Africa has decided that it will not allow Kenya to be destabilized. The opinion of the AU is that the trials opened by the ICC against Kenyatta and Ruto will obstruct the normalization of the country, something similar to the situation in Libya when they criminalized Muammar Gaddafi with the objective of isolating him politically.

Meanwhile the current president of the AU executive council and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom affirmed, "Far from promoting justice and reconciliation...the court has transformed itself into a political instrument against Africa and Africans."

Unfortunately, Adhanom added, the ways in which the Court has been operating, in particular its unfair treatment of Africa and Africans, leave much to be desired.

Adhanom noted that ICC methods could lead to an escalation of Violence in Kenya, with regional repercussions, and that African nations do not need pressure which amounts to interference in the fight against impunity. It is regrettable that the AU's reiterated calls have gone nowhere and its concerns have been completely ignored, he observed.

 

Jamaica Patriot

Writing about the realities faced by the oppressed people across the world
Category: The Patriot |

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This is an attempt to create a revolutionary movement to arrest the social decline of our country and reverse foreign domination of our economic and political life through the co-operation of our two political parties.

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