21 April, 2013

Is The International Criminal Court Only For Africa?

So far, most, if not all of those wanted, indicted and punished by the International Criminal Court have been from Africa. It makes one wonder: is this international court for Africans only? Is the 'Peace Through Justice' and its 'years of fighting impunity' only meant for, and supposed to be enforced on, Africans? Even in Africa, the court seems to be selective: any leader who strongly opposes or chastises Western countries, the US in particular, will most likely end up on the ICC list. Mr. Robert Mugabe, maybe due to his age or his being very knowledgeable about the West, has been lucky; so far.  African leaders who have been friendly profitable to the West, however brutal and cruel they are, have been spared by the ICC. Case in point is the Equatorial Guinea's leader: Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who is the longest serving African leader (he has been in power for 34 years now); he is one of the most cruel and one of the most wealthy heads of state in the world. But like Mobutu of the then Zaire, Obiang is useful to the West. The ICC is not for him.

The ICC, too, is not for the Sri Lankan leaders who are known to have committed horrific human rights violations, atrocities and war crimes during the last Sri Lankan war; and it is not for Myanmar leaders, who have not only been brutal to their own people but even more so, to Muslims living there who are systematically and in the most cruel of ways, being 'cleansed' from around the country. And no other country has acted with so much arrogance and impunity as Israel; it continues to blockade and strangle Gaza, and it continues to brutally oppress and suppress Palestinians with no action, at all, from the so called international court. If the ICC was/is just and equitable, there should be no hiding place. But international law never reaches into some corners because the levers that control the wheels of justice, we discover, are sometimes leaned on by the criminals themselves - quoted from Veterans Today.
Still from this very absorbing article from Veterans Today: The International Criminal Court was supposed to change all that. It is governed by the Rome Statute http://untreaty.un.org/cod/icc/statute/romefra.htm and is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established “to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community”. The ICC says it is independent and not part of the United Nations system… but that is not strictly true, as we’ll see. 115 states have signed up to the Rome Statute. The UK is one of them, I’m pleased to say. And so too is Afghanistan. But rogue states like the US and Israel rank alongside Saudi and Libya and skulk beyond the perimeter. A further 34 countries, including Russia, have signed but not ratified. These states are obliged, under the law of treaties, to refrain from “acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of the Rome Statute. Three of these states—Israel, Sudan and the United States—signed and then, presumably realising their conduct was not up to the standards expected and wishing to undermine the Statute whenever it suited them, “unsigned”. The Court has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by nationals of a State Party or on the territory of a State Party since 1 July 2002, the date the Rome Statute came into effect.

As long as the ICC continues to act and mete out its form of 'judgment' and 'justice' so blatantly: arbitrarily, deceitfully and inequitably; while others, due to their coming from certain countries or their holding certain positions or their serving certain interests/powers act with impunity and are exempted whatever crimes they commit or have committed - the court is no more but a circus. As for Africa, as long as it focuses on leaders from the continent (selectively), the court is no more but a dictatorial and an imperialistic tool to Western powers.

Search Safari Notes