Your Most Reliable and Dependable Source

The International Criminal Court and African leaders.


The International Criminal Court, the ICC is in the news again; this time not for throwing despotic and blood thirsty African leaders behind bars, but for its frosty relations with some African political leaders.

Three nations, Burundi, South Africa and Gambia, recently made it clear in no uncertain terms that they have had enough of the shenanigans of the ICC. They accused it of unfairly targeting Africans for prosecution.

They cited the indictment of President Bashir of Sudan, president Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and his deputy as well as the Kenyan opposition leader and others as evidence of the court’s bias. They subsequently announced their intention to withdraw from the ICC.

I am scratching my head in bewilderment. What is wrong with some of our political leaders? I am just appalled at the decision by South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia to pull out of an organization that Africa was instrumental in creating.

Look, every nation on the African continent is sovereign and thus has the right to do what it deems fit as long as it conforms to international norms, but to pull out of an organization that we help establish is deplorable.

The reasons trotted out by the leaders of these nations cannot stand close scrutiny. Okay, most of those convicted by the ICC have been Africans, I agree wholeheartedly with that, but let us look at it more broadly.

Largely because of our continent’s sordid history of bloody wars and sadistic dictators, the court at its inception was viewed as the right instrument to wield in bringing those who infringed on the rights of helpless victims of tribal and political violence and war, to justice.

In fact, it is we Africans who have referred cases to the ICC for adjudication. Mr. Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations was the one who recommended that the president of Kenya be indicted by the court for inciting his followers, mainly his tribesmen to go on a bloody rampage after a hotly disputed election.

President Jacob Zuma has been a disappointment to progressives on the continent and elsewhere. South Africa was a principal player in the formation of the ICC, and Mandela, were he alive today would have voiced his displeasure at the decision taken by President Zuma. South Africa is displeased because the ICC took it to task for not arresting Bashir when he was in South Africa for an AU summit last year.

And Burundi is running away because it is under preliminary investigation by the ICC for its president’s bloody suppression of dissent and the Gambia’s strong man, Yahaya Jimneh, is a noted dictator and human rights abuser, who has suppressed free speech and jailed opposition members.

The decision of these three nations to cancel their membership in the ICC would encourage other African nations to do same. Already, there is talk that Uganda, Kenya and Namibia are thinking of following in their footsteps. South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia are doing our continent a great disservice. They are encouraging the culture of impunity so pervasive on the continent.

The actions of South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia bring shame on our continent. We should all be concerned. Who is going to indict those who abuse and trample on our rights, and incite tribal and political violence? They must be held accountable, and the only institution capable of dishing out justice is the ICC to the scoundrels. We should agitate against any move to disassociate Africa from the court.




Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.