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Saturday, 15 April 2017

Africans vs. ICC…the Season of “Black Wrath”

(smc) Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza was never hesitant to officially declare his country’s pullout of the international criminal court (ICC) after approval by the parliament, a move indication of resentment by African leaders toward the court, and might prompt a collective African withdrawal from the controversial court.
Sudan has embarked on anti-ICC campaign in the wake of the court’s arrest warrant for President Al Bashir, which Sudan brands as a political tool for subjugating the African nations by targeting African heads of states.  
The AU 26th summit in Addis Ababa early this year adopted a proposal to quit the ICC, describing the court as “selective and solely targeting  sitting  African presidents…it is dealing with double standards in respects of issues related to human rights violations across the world.”
Many countries had rejected arrest warrants for their leaders, arguing that they [warrants] are in gross violations of immunities accorded to sitting presidents and could set a precedent might also degenerate to destroying international relations system; while,  the opponents  hold that the ICC might grant super an up hand over African nations to control their natural and national riches.
On the other hand, ICC claims it cannot intervene unless local authorities are unable or unwilling to pursue those legally accused.
The 123-member-court, including 34 African countries, was established 2002; however, it has apparently targeted African leaders, which is evident in its probing seven cases solely in Africa –namely in Uganda, DRC Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, Kenya, Libya and the Ivory Coast.
African state ministers in their 29th meeting lately ahead of Rwanda summit requested the 34 African countries – parties to the Rome Convention – to convene to debate a collective withdrawal from the ICC. The forthcoming AU summit, scheduled for January 2017, in Addis Ababa, is expected to see Africa’s withdrawal from the court.   
Dr. Rehab Mubarak, a legal expert specialized in the ICC, stated that the UNSC could reconsider issues raised by the ICC under the court’s statue and regulations governing its operations, which are characterized with numerous contradictions.
She added that Sudan’s campaign with friendly countries against the court is based on the argument that the court has no jurisdiction over non-signatories to the Rome Convention and that any party can withdraw from the court through a written letter to the UN Secretary General; and that the withdrawal will go into effect after one year from its submission; unless otherwise, a later date is specified. 
African leaders had earlier voiced their objection to the ICC decision. Chad’s president Debby described the court as mainly targeting African heads of states, including sitting presidents, while nobody seems to be concerned about numerous incidents of human rights violations across different parts of the world.
Debby branded the ICC as “double-standard” therefore “we [African leaders] decided to coordinate ours stance so the ICC realize the importance of the African position on the issue.”
The recent scandals regarding the ICC’s Prosecutor General’s acceptance of bribery and her reliance on false witnesses has brought about a tensions between the court and the African leaders to the degree that countries that used to be friendly to the court have decided to reconsider their position and quit the court.
African leaders maintain that the ICC was mainly established to exclusively punish Africans. “I have never seen the ICC indicting any white persons who seem to be exempted and immune to punishment by the court,” Debby said, citing that that the court has not brought Tony Blair and Gorge. W Bush to justice despite their assassination of the slain Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Apparently, fierce confrontations are likely between the ICC and African leaders given the ongoing outrage in Africa.