INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
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
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
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
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
"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
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.