AU pulling out of International Criminal Court is bad: Justice Emile Short

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is not targeting African countries as “misconceived” by the African Union (AU), Justice Emile Short has said.

At its February summit in Addis Ababa, the AU said member states must pull out of the ICC to send a message to the international community to stop “harassing” Africans.

A withdrawal strategy adopted by members, read: “A growing number of African stakeholders have begun to see patterns of only pursuing African cases being reflective of selectivity and inequality”.

It was put together by a ministerial committee (made up of foreign ministers of Kenya, Ethiopia, Chad, Burundi, Eritrea, South Sudan, Kenya, Libya, Sudan, Madagascar, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Senegal) formed after the African Union summit in Johannesburg in 2015.

The committee’s formation followed after South Africa rejected an ICC order to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who was wanted for war crimes in Darfur. South Africa subsequently notified the UN of its withdrawal intention.

The Gambia, under Yahya Jammeh’s presidency withdrew from the ICC but his successor Adama Barrow has reversed that move.

Also, not all member states are in favour of pulling out of the ICC. Countries including Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Botswana and Chad say they would want to continue being in the ICC.

At the February summit in Addis Ababa, the AU also agreed to push for reforms at the UN Security Council. No African country is a permanent member on the council which can refer cases to the ICC even though the court is not a UN court.

Speaking on World Affairs hosted by Dr Etse Sikanku on Class91.3FM about the ICC’s work vis-à-vis Africa, Mr Short, who served twice as a Judge on the Rwanda Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, said: “When you look at the African Union wanting to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC), that is a situation, which I think a lot of people don’t understand the real facts behind the issue. And I find it distressing that many people are supporting that decision because it is only going to leave innocent African victims without justice.”

Mr Short said as “a court of last resort,” the ICC “can only intervene in national situations where the national jurisdictions are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute those crimes. If national jurisdictions have the ability and the willingness to handle the crime, the ICC doesn’t come in at all.”

In his observation, the AU and Africans think the ICC is targeting the continent because all the cases currently pending before it have to do with African countries.

“Now there are nine cases before the court involving eight African countries, so almost all the cases before the court are from Africa, and, therefore, it sort of gets people to feel that ICC is targeting Africa but this is not the case. In five of those situations involving four countries, the African countries themselves referred the cases to the ICC. The African countries said: ‘We cannot handle these cases, decide these cases for us’: Mali, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.’ In two of the cases, it’s the UN Security Council that referred the cases to the ICC; that is Kenya and Libya … so, you have seven situations where the ICC had no hand in the investigations, and, so, when you take all of these facts into consideration, the allegation that the ICC is targeting the African countries is a misconception.”

Mr Short, the first Commissioner of Ghana’s ombudsman Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), said rather than the AU fighting the ICC, its members must direct their energies at pushing for reforms within the UN Security Council so as to make the five permanent members liable to the ICC.

“What the AU and the African countries should be talking about is the fact that the big powers: Russia, USA, China and so on, have failed to ratify the Rome statue and are, therefore, trying to escape accountability from the ICC. We should focus on that and put pressure on them to ratify the Rome statute, so they also become liable to the court. We should also be working at reforming the Security Council because what is happening at the Security Council is that the five permanent members, each one has a veto, and, therefore, they could prevent any of these big powers from being referred to the ICC. So, that is the injustice which we should be addressing. … It’s not about the ICC targeting Africa but most of all, I think this is what we should understand, the ICC was set up for innocent victims who do not get justice from their own countries, and, therefore, the ICC has been set up as a last resort so that they could provide justice for these innocent victims.”

credit:classfmonline

Publish on Apt

Do you have any Social, informational, educational or entertaining stuff that should be featured on www.aptnewsghana.com?

Please submit your stories, pictures, and videos to us via WhatsApp: +233548388489 or click on the icon on your screen. Alternatively, email us: aptnewsghana@gmail.com

RSS APO Group – Africa-Newsroom: latest news releases related to Africa

  • U.S. Government supports early grade learning in local languages with Minister of Education and Human Development February 21, 2020
    Download logoThe U.S. Government proudly participated in an official ceremony celebrating International Mother Languages Day in Matutine District of Maputo Province.  The U.S. Government was represented at the event by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Jennifer Adams, while Minister of Education and Human Development (MINEDH) Carmelita Rita Namashulua represented the Government […]
  • U.S. Embassy Burkina Faso Welcomes Three New Nouveaux Horizons (NH) Ambassadors February 21, 2020
    Download logoOn February 14, 2020, the American Center at the Embassy of the United States of America in Burkina Faso welcomed three new Nouveaux Horizons (NH) ambassadors to its Public diplomacy family. Nouveaux Horizons translates books by American authors into French, markets them in French-speaking Africa, and distributes them to American embassies who use them […]
  • African Development Bank issues call to strengthen fertilizer value chains at Argus Africa Fertilizer Conference February 21, 2020
    The African Development Bank (https://www.AfDB.org) urged development finance institutions, NGOs, farmer cooperatives, and the private sector to develop more effective financing solutions for Africa’s fertilizer value chains. The Bank’s call to action came during the Argus Africa Fertilizer Conference held on 19 February. The conference’s theme was Supporting the fertilizer value chain to improve agricultural […]
  • South Africa (SA) sides determined to bounce back on Guinness PRO14 tour February 21, 2020
    Download logoThe Toyota Cheetahs and Isuzu Southern Kings will have their sights set on bouncing back strongly from disappointing defeats last week when they line up against Ulster and the Scarlets in their second tour matches in the Guinness PRO14 this weekend. The Toyota Cheetahs, in particular, will be under pressure to register a win […]
  • Ringier Africa Digital Publishing (RADP) unifies all its brands under the company name PULSE February 21, 2020
    Ringier Africa Digital Publishing (RADP) (RADP.Africa), one of Africa’s leading media groups is unifying its assets across the continent - to form one integrated media company under the Pulse brand. With the unification, the former RADP group of assets will now be known collectively as Pulse (Pulse.Africa) across Africa. Its digital media arm 'Pulse' will […]
  • In 12 months, Sahel violence displaces more than 700,000 in Burkina Faso February 21, 2020
    Download logoThis is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and partners are facing severe challenges in accessing and responding to the needs of the internally […]
  • Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo February 21, 2020
    Download logoDuring the past week, the incidence of new Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases has remained low (Figure 1). From 12 to 18 February, one new confirmed case was reported. The case was reported in Beni Health Zone, North Kivu Province and had an epidemiological link to a confirmed case reported on 5 February. As […]
  • Prosperity Fund’s Future Cities Programme launches in South Africa February 21, 2020
    Download logoThe UK Prosperity Fund, in partnership with Future Cities South Africa is launching their Future Cities Programme in three of South Africa’s major city municipalities: Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. The Global Future Cities Programme is an £80 million programme, one of the several global programmes run through Prosperity Fund, sets out opportunities to […]
  • “Our goal is to surpass developed countries,” African Development Bank VP tells fourth industrial revolution forum February 21, 2020
    Download logoAfrica is not only ready for the fourth industrial revolution. It is set to outdo the achievements of the developed world. That was one of the messages that emerged at a seminar hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB.org) at its headquarters in Abidjan. The event attracted Ivorian and regional ministers as well as […]
  • Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari to visit Tanzania and Mozambique February 21, 2020
    Download logoMinister Ville Skinnari will visit Tanzania on 23–25 February and Mozambique on 26–28 February. During the visit, the Minister will learn about Finland's development cooperation in the two countries and have meetings with their political leadership. The visit will also promote commercial cooperation between Finland and these countries. Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign […]