ICC should carry its cross

 

South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia have, in an unprecedented move, withdrawn their membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Many Africans fully support this move because of what has long been perceived as ICC bias against Africans.

Its detractors in Africa say ICC, despite being called an international criminal court, stands accused of seemingly persecuting, tormenting, harassing and belittling Africans and their leaders while others that stand accused of committing similar crimes against humanity have with impunity been left largely untouched by the selective ICC.

They cite the case of former US president George W. Bush and former British prime minister Tony Blair, who got off lightly after their hideous crimes and mass violation of human rights when the two leaders spearheaded the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

The ICC has been a thorn in the flesh of many African leaders, who believe it has adopted a prosecutorial policy of going after leaders whom it accuses of being responsible for political violence in violation of international law. This is seen as in stark contrast to the perceived hideous war crimes and mass human rights abuses committed by America and Europe in the many global hotspots.

America, a country that has one of the most active armies in combat across the globe because of its status as the self-appointed global cop, has committed countless atrocities wherever its army operates.

But we are yet to see an American general or politician being dragged to ICC. In fact, America has legislated against anyone suing its leaders or army for the atrocities committed by the US army.

Africans also wonder why not a single Israeli leader has ever been summoned by ICC to appear before this war tribunal for countless crimes against humanity and the senseless killing of unarmed Palestinian women and children by the Jewish state.

ICC brags about being founded on the Rome Statute to bring justice to the perpetrators of the worst crimes known to mankind, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, especially in cases where national courts have been restrained from doing so.

Several UN investigations found smoking gun evidence based on confessions by members of the Israeli army, who admitted having indiscriminately used disproportionate force causing mass casualties among thousands of unarmed Palestinian men, women and children in what has been classified as war crimes and thuggery.

The scale of the devastation, in terms of mass civilian casualties and destruction of civilian residential properties in Gaza at the hands of the Israeli army, has been unprecedented but to date not a single Israeli general or politician has been held accountable by the ICC that professes it will bring justice for the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Instead, ICC seems hell-bent on humiliating African leaders for fomenting election violence that pales in comparison to some of the war crimes being committed by non-Africans.

Early this year, Saudi Arabia indiscriminately dropped bombs on civilians in Yemeni where it is involved in a military campaign and the ICC has yet to summon a single sheikh to account for those atrocities.

The recent decision by South Africa that is seen as a bastion and a leading light for democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law is indicative of the fact ICC needs radical surgery and long-term chemotherapy to treat the cancer that is consuming this court.

Because how else would one explain the fact that since 2005 ICC has indicted 40 people and each of these indictees is an African?

ICC and its sponsors can fool some people at times but they should not be allowed to fool most people most of the time. Justice should be blind and a crime against humanity should be such whether it is committed by America, Britain, Israel, Saudi Arabia or Uganda.

Africans have been taken for a ride for too long. Indeed where there is justice all are brothers. In Africa, we have a saying: “there is no elephant that complains about the weight of its trunk” and ICC should carry its cross if all African states take their cue from South Africa.

Read full story on New Era Newspaper Namibia