African countries meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to
speak in one voice over a single issue: The
International Criminal Court and its handling of the
Kenyan cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and
Deputy President William Ruto.
In May, the African Union asked the ICC to return the
cases to Kenya but the Court did not act on the
resolution. A follow-up by an AU delegation to The
Hague yielded nothing.
The continent’s group appeal to the United Nations to
have the cases stopped and returned to local
jurisdiction also fell on deaf ears.
In the application by Mr Ruto to skip some court
sessions, some African countries sought to be
present as friends of the court.
Some were allowed, while others were rejected. More
importantly, the application was dismissed in the
usual manner that has become ICC’s stock-in-trade
on matters filed by the defence.
Thirty-four African countries have ratified the Rome
Statute, the international law that sets up the ICC.
Yet the ICC ignores their views as it would those of
charlatans, but is too happy to parrot the
protestations of nations that are not even members.
What is it worth being party to the Rome Statute if
this is the treatment you get?
Kenya, a State party for a decade, has had to live
with similar treatment from the ICC. None of its
applications have ever invited more than a cursory
Any appeal or plea is thrown to the dustbin as
quickly as is applicable.
But any application that is anti-Kenya, anti-President
Kenyatta and anti-Ruto gets quick attention.
The most recent is a letter from a Kenyan activist
who opposed granting Mr Ruto leave to skip some
Though the activist would suffer no damages, and
though the court had not been informed beforehand,
the matter was ruled in her favour simply because
her case was also the prosecution’s.
This is but one example to show that justice recedes
farther and farther away in this European court!
The ICC has dragged only Africans to court over
alleged crimes against humanity and genocide. Its
tired argument has been that many human rights
atrocities have been committed against African
citizens by their leaders or fellow citizens.
Granted. But has there not been similar abuses in
many other parts of the world, some even where the
West has been complicit? Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria
spring to mind. Why is the ICC so colour-sensitive?
The drafters of the Rome Statute had envisioned a
court that superintends the world on matters
genocide and crimes against humanity. But they
were wrong. The British were clear from the
beginning what the court would never do.
Former UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said it was
not a court that would call to account British
premiers or US presidents. The inference is clear:
This is a court for Africans and other people of less
Through inept methods and racial profiling, the ICC’s
only conviction is Congo’s Thomas Lubanga. But
what the world must not forget is that he was not
convicted due to the thoroughness of the
prosecution, but for lack of it.
The court had discharged Lubanga and he was only
within the ICC’s ambit because Belgium, his adopted
country, had refused to take him back.
As a safe destination was sought for him, the
prosecution came across an international media
organisation’s TV footage on the child soldiers of the
Congo. They rushed back to court.
The judges had scathing things to say about the
prosecution’s methods of procuring and coaching
witnesses. They could as well have been referring to
The ICC argues that a discussion on relations with
African countries should be left to the Assembly of
State Parties.
But that is where they show that they are at once
arrogant and naive. Africans have a right to decide
their relations with the ICC.
If a court seeks to dictate how its creators have to
behave, that court is no longer able to fully
understand the environment in which it exists.
Tomorrow, therefore, Africa will have no difficulty
regarding its ties with a court not meant for leaders
of the West.
It will walk out of the ICC en masse, for where there is
no honesty there cannot be justice; and where there
is no innocence until guilt is proven, there is anarchy

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