The ICC debate and implications

July 8, 2015, 8:53am

The ICC debate and implications

In the past few months there has been serious debate on whether African countries should maintain their membership to the International Criminal Court amid what many analyst viewed as biased prosecution against some African dictators.
In the past the ICC has been served by Chief Prosecutors from the mother continent but that also failed to extricate the international court from the accusations of bias.
 Proponents of pulling away from the ICC argue that the court played spectator when former President of the United States of America George W Bush apparently created non-existent charges against former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The charges were pinned around possession of illegal weapons of mass destruction but since that execution of Hussein the world is still waiting for the day the weapons will be uncovered.
There are also others who feel that those who have stood in the dock are only Africans and never has the ICC stretched its hand of justice to the untouchable western world with the thinking behind this school of thought arguing that that is where the court gets the bulk of its budget.
Understandably those that have been vocal enough are African leaders and Namibian President Dr Hage Geingob is also one of those that has also expressed his discontent on some of the traits portrayed by the ICC when dealing with sensitive judicial matters.
Most African leaders including Namibian are of the view that there is a need to strengthen internal democratic and judicial processes in the continent to enable fairness in elections, abolish dictatorship and obviously create harmony for citizens of the land.
This week the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations Neitumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah added her voice among those African leaders that want to see fairness from the ICC.
She believes the ICC should discharge its duties in a more acceptable and fair manner or else there is no need to continue being tied to such an institution.
 However that being the situation, what are the ramifications of African countries completely divorcing the Rome Statute which created the ICC.
Will we as a continent be able to rein in on teach other when certain African individuals feel like they will cling on to power by hook and crook. Is there enough resources in the African continent to thwart insurgents and deal with those that feel like they need to get power from anyone even by using excessive force?
One would not see anything wrong with Africans advocating for a disengagement from the ICC as long such a move is not being done with emotions. There is obviously the need for such a move to be handled in a manner that safeguards African interest. It is pretty obvious that the better number in Africa wants to abort that institution with even South Africa also saying there would not see any harm in it.
Of course for South Africa all this debate comes from the recent event where they were almost forced to humiliate their fellow African Omar Al Bashir. Whatever the need and consequences are for pulling for pulling away from the ICC Africa needs to stand for its own decisions and stop being the followers in international debate but rather lead the debate.
There is also the obvious need for many African leaders to be consultative and frank with each other in their quest to see whether we have anything to benefit from the ICC or Africa is only but following what everyone has done.