Zim criticised for backing Africa’s withdrawal from ICC

via Zim criticised for backing Africa’s withdrawal from ICC | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Friday, October 11, 2013

Zimbabwe is facing criticism for throwing its weight behind pressure for African nations to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), with human rights groups saying such a move puts the rule of law in Africa in jeopardy.

African foreign ministers on Friday gathered in Ethiopia for the start of a two day, special summit, called by the African Union (AU) to discuss the continent’s relationship with the ICC. This weekend’s summit is set to discuss the continued membership of the 34 African countries that have ratified the Rome Statue, the treaty that founded the ICC in 2002.

The meeting opened with a scathing attack by Ethiopia’s foreign minister on the Hague based international court, which he accused of treating Africa ‘unfairly’.

“The manner in which the court has been operating, particularly its unfair treatment of Africa and Africans, leaves much to be desired,” Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told ministers and delegates at the opening of the two-day meeting.

The special summit comes as tensions between the court and Kenya continue to rise, with Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta and deputy-president William Ruto both being charged with committing crimes against humanity.

Several nations in the 54-member AU have accused the ICC of bias towards Africa, and have demanded that the court drop its cases against Kenya’s leadership. African states have also repeatedly ignored ICC orders to hand over the indicted Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC for genocide and war crimes in Darfur.

The most recent African state to support calls for a mass withdrawal from the ICC is Zimbabwe, with Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa saying this week that Africans must “stand up and stamp their authority” against the court. He also accused the ICC of ‘humiliating’ African leaders by targeting them, while letting off Western leaders over conflicts in Iraq and Libya.

Amnesty International’s Southern Africa Director Noel Kututwa said a withdrawal from the ICC would be “retrogressive,” and “a smack in the face for victims of international crimes spread across the African continent.”

He told SW Radio Africa that Zimbabwe is “associated with impunity,” and it was therefore no surprise the country was backing calls for a mass withdrawal from the court.

“If we look at elections (in Zimbabwe) in 2000, 2002 and 2008, a lot of political violence took place, a lot of people were killed, serious injuries happened. All those cases are yet to be addressed and point to serious impunity,” Kututwa said.

Dewa Mavhinga, a senior researcher in the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, agreed that the impunity enjoyed by Zimbabwe’s leadership means that there would never be support for ICC.

“Cleary those countries that have something to hide, that are concerned that they may be called to account for abuses of the rule of law in their own backyards, are most vocal (for the withdrawal from the ICC), particularly Zimbabwe,” Mavhinga said.

He added: “If you look at Zimbabwe’s track record, it is one of insincerity in terms of commitment to the rule of law.”

Mavhinga added that any decision to withdraw from the ICC would have a serious impact on the rule of law and human rights protection across Africa.

“This would put the rule of law in the African continent in jeopardy. It is time for Africa to strengthen the institutions that stand for good governance, the rule of law and democracy,” Mavhinga said.

Meanwhile, Nobel laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has made an urgent appeal for members of the public to sign a petition, hosted by the Avaaz online campaign group, in a show of support against an AU walkout from the ICC. In his letter to Avaaz users, Tutu accused African nations of “trying to drag Africa out of the ICC” and “inflict terror across their countries … without consequences.”

“This threat to the ICC started precisely because the court was doing its job,” he said. “It charged Kenya’s deputy president for killing people who rallied against him during an election and Sudan’s president for murdering women and children in Darfur. Now Kenya and Sudan are lobbying all of Africa to pull out of the court and destroy its chance of success.”

More than 650, 000 signatures have already been added to the online petition, which is addressed to the Presidents of South Africa and Nigeria, urging them to “speak out in favour of the ICC.”



  • comment-avatar
    Kalusha 11 years ago

    Include withdrawal from united nations

  • comment-avatar
    mkhululiszu333@gmail.com 11 years ago

    Let us have nothing at all with anything western. Even they impose sanctions on us let us render them useless by not going to their countries. Then let it be seen what we will be like. The leaderss must not seek to do as super beings once they acquire political power.

  • comment-avatar

    Only the guilty are always afraid

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    Concerned Zimbabwean 11 years ago

    Transparency International Corruption Perception Index research reported that 67% of Zimbabweans within Zimbabwe perceived that corruption had “increased a lot”, that 86% of respondents in Zimbabwe felt that the police were “corrupt or extremely corrupt”, 74% of political parties were “corrupt or extremely corrupt”, while 70% respondents thought that public officials/civil service were “corrupt or extremely corrupt”. This is not western perceptions. This is ordinary Zimbabweans reporting what they perceive about their own country and the rule of law: http://www.transparency.org/gcb2013/country/?country=zimbabwe

    If there is such little respect within Zimbabwe by ordinary Zimbabwean citizens themselves for the rule of law, for government, for political parties and the police, what is the point of saying that links with the west need to be stopped and that the ICC should not have power to identify and hold to account criminal governmental leaders in Africa and across the world? It is madness to call for the disempowerment of the ICC. Anyone who does so is obviously deeply fearing that their own wrong-doing will be found out and they will be punished for human rights abuses. But so they should be! Archbishop Tutu is absolutely right – we must enthusiastically support the call to retain the ICC and hold corrupt governments to account within Africa as much as anywhere else, so that ordinary Africans can be supported to prosper under good governance within the rule of law in peaceful, just democratic regimes.

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    Said Omar Ali 11 years ago

    There others who have committed atrocities on the basis of lies. Many people have died as a result. We are not seeing any of them being ordered to go to Hague. The effects of their hegemony are being felt to date. Why are they immune? These are regimes which have perfected the art of double-standardizing issues where they are seen to condemn terrorism in one instance and assisting the same in another.
    Take the case of Libya where US has gone in to kidnap a notorious Al Qaida operative for the sake of world peace BUT the same US is arming the Al Qaida affiliates to destabilize Assad’s regime.

    G.W.Bush and his lap dog Tony Blair. These are very potential guests of the Hague. They are instead being glorified for the job well done in Iraq and Afghanistan. The effects of their mindless war are being felt to date. However, they insist African leaders must go to Hague. Justice indeed.

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    Pafunge 11 years ago

    Africa should not agitate to pull out of iccc because it offers the only way to justice for the oppresed in countries were there is no rule of law or the application of law is biased against the opposition and the underprevilaged. Rather they should agitate for those they know to have commited human rights abuses in Europe to be brought before the iccc.

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      Said Omar Ali 11 years ago

      Pafunge. That is coming, provided African leaders continue questioning the skewed application of the Rome statutes. Leaving the way it is for fear of backlash in the form of sanctions etc will not help Africa. For far too long we have been at the receiving end and now is the time we should talk back. Let shine and rain on everybody.

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    Zvichapera 11 years ago

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. You’re going to see Africa slide into anarchy, who is going to protect vulnerable? We are deluding ourselves, its almost as if we Africans suffer from Schitzofrenia. Never seen a people so foolish!!

    • comment-avatar
      Said Omar Ali 11 years ago

      Granted. Let us look at the genesis of the any anarchy anywhere in Africa. What do you see? There is always a hidden hand in it. However, we are programmed to believe we are not capable of running our own affairs and therefore need big brother. This has been the game all along. It has even been worse in the case of African countries with precious minerals including oil.

      Why do we have chaos anywhere there is, for example, oil? Look at what’s happening in Nigeria. The authorities there are preoccupied with Boko Haram that has been known to use very sophisticated weapons they don’t manufacture. Where are they getting the supply from? South Sudan is grappling with rebellion. Angola was almost brought to its knees during Savimbi’s hegemony. Libya is a foregone case. D R Congo has not had peace, her only sin being the precious minerals that multinationals are only praying the strife continues and in fact fanning to continue smuggling out. The list is endless. No. It’s not that we cannot run our own affairs effectively; we are programmed to believe we cannot do without the big brother.

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    joseph 11 years ago

    So you think the Western can protect you from the Africans? good for you.

    • comment-avatar
      Collin Mackenzie 11 years ago

      African countries must pull out from anything lead and controlled by the West period.

      African leaders must demand that George Bush, Obama and Tony Blair be tried and only then the will abide by that ICC rubbish.

      How can an African leader serve a jail term of 50 years in England and not Africa or the country of origin of the crime.

      This is slavery at its best and stupid blacks and born frees with no identity support that.

      Shame shame shame.
      What a joke.

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    Daniel Chatama 11 years ago

    Western leaders directly involved in the destruction of African continent must be tried in Africa for the crimes they committed to African people.

    • comment-avatar

      So nothing to do with bad leaders then?!!!?? Easy to place the blame elsewhere. Wake up and smell the coffee!

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    begin with withdrawing from the western devil inspired United Nations then ICC. Who is the biggest violator of human rights? Obvious Tony Blair, George Bush, Obama etc. So why r they not being tried? It is of no use Africa we say withdraw with immediate effect coz ICC is biased UN is biased, they hv a hidden agenda. That’s a gud decision, lets show them that we can’t b manipulated.