Africa and the ICC’s discriminatory justice

Posted: October 26, 2011 in Analysis
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By Mona Al-Bashir

El Obeid: Murawah: African states reception of Al Bashir based on international laws regulating relations between states in accordance with the Vienna Treaty and not the Rome Convention.

A strategic expert: Africa has become a trial field for the ICC, a move suggestive of racial bias

Political observer: Non-rallying of African leaders round the ICC undermines it credibility especially that was criticized by the Rwandan President who is known for his zeal towards international justice.


In March 2009, the ICC prosecutor general issued a warrant of arrest against the Sudanese president Omer Al Bashir on charges of committing war crimes in Darfur.

Although that decision was met with the necessary campaign on regional and international levels, the question which poses itself is why the ICC has pointed its finger to Africa while it turned a blind eye to human rights violations committed in the UNS, other Western countries and Israel in particular, despite the fact that these crimes needed no material evidence as they were displayed on television channels.

The ICC targeting of Africa becomes obvious if seen in the light of accusing President Al Bashir after the court diverted similar accusations to the Congolese militia leader, Thomas Lubanga in 2007.

The failure to bring the latter to trial led the ICC prosecutor to issue accusations against Al Bashir a month after the court suspension of the former.

As seen by observers, the Prosecutor General Sought to rescue his reputation and that of the court by attempting to demonstrate competence through what he called unveiling of war crimes in Darfur.

The Prosecutor General believed there would be international consensus on the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, and that would be mounting popular pressure to counter it. But to his disappointment that was not the case.

In 2005 he bitterly told Time Magazine that Western leaders used  to instigate him to raise accusations against Sudanese leaders, and he did that, the former leaders begun to blame him for undermining the then-going on peace efforts.

He justified that on Western countries change of position on Sudan after signing of the South Sudan Peace Agreement, adding they decided to look at the Sudanese government as partner to peace.

Discriminatory Justice

As we mentioned earlier, the ICC monitors violations in Africa  only, motivated by the belief that Africa should remain under the grip of the West, which look at the liberation movements  there as mere decoration dedicated to promote the principles of Western liberalism which the west seemingly adheres to.

Under that disguise, the West can practice  neo-colonialism by calling for international justice though the ICC whose Prosecutor General shamelessly accused a number of African leaders while turning a blind eye to some Western leaders who committed the worst kind of violations.

As put by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe last September, this attitude constituted justice, a reference to the ICC accusations against African leaders.

To cite some examples of discriminatory justice practiced by the ICC, it has diverted accusations to the Lord’s Resistance Army chief, Joseph Kony, in 2007, followed by others against the leader of the Congo militias in 2004.

Changes against the latter were about to be overruled due to the Prosecutor General refusal to allow the defense access to the case documents.

The reason for Ocampo refusal was because the documents prosecuting the militias’ leader contained information he obtained from UN organizations operating in the Congo.

Disclosure of these documents was behaved by Ocampo to would expose these organizations’ staff to danger.

This case has caused a lot embarrassment to the court and its proponents, as well as it has cast doubt on the legal competence of Ocampo, particularly after the sexual scandals he was a party to.

In this connection the court was forced to pay (Euro (350) thousand  to a staff member who was sacked by Ocampo because of filing a complaint against him as a result of his sexual harassment of a female African journalist.

To rescue the situation, the prosecutor requested the suspension of the trial of the militias’ leaders, and the court approved that but did not release him. Eventually the trial was resumed after the defense was allowed to preview the documents.

Likewise, the case against another Congolese leader (Jean Peppe) has remained standstill since his arrest in Holland in 2007.

He was accused  of committing was crimes that took place in Central African Republic and not in the DRC, after he was accused of high treason at the backdrop  of skirmishes  between his guards and the army.

Africans defy the ICC

The ICC issue of a warrant of arrest against President Al Bashir was no more than ink on paper. Al Bashir defied the court decision and paid official visits to four African countries signatory to the Rome Statute.

The four countries faced threats and were demanded to hand over Al Bashir, but they lent no ear to that. Not only that, President Al Bashir visited China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran where his visits paid off.

That makes clear that the Vienna convention regulating relations between nations prevails over the Rome agreement, the latter gives member states the right to commit to its implementation if it conflicted with immunities.

That position   by the countries Al Bashir visited was neither accidental nor dedicated by courtesy, but was based on African leaders’ decision in July 2004, stipulating non-cooperation with the ICC as regards accusations against the Sudanese President.

According to that decision, the African Union request for suspension of accusations against Al Bashir who not considered, and therefore the AU members will not abide by the ICC decision.

As in the words of a lecturer of philosophy at the University of Khartoum, the African countries’ positions on the ICC are unified in the rejection of the ICC decision.

This unification is justified by the court trend to turn Africa into a field where it conducts its trials. The lecturer calls for activating African popular position to support the official one.

The Shock

African countries refusal to hand over President Al Bashir to the ICC was a big shock to Ocampo.

However, the bigger shock was the almost unanimous position of African and Third World countries campaign against the ICC.

As put by Abdelwahab El Effendi; “If all almost all African countries reject the accusation of genocide directed to Al Bashir – this undermines the court credibility, especially if that court was criticized by the Rwandan President who is known for zeal to international justice.

The ICC targeting of African leaders led the latter to discuss at one of their summits unanimous withdrawal from the court or freezing of membership.


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