ICC Is Western Tool; But Can Be Improved

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Ultimately, the solution isn't to entirely throw out the ICC; the solution is to insist that it prosecutes all who preside over mass crimes in Africa, without distinction of whether they are allied with Washington and London or not.

[Black Star News Editorial]

The African Union's leader, Libya's Col. Muammar Qaddafi says African presidents should withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) because it administers "warped justice in favor of Europe."

Meanwhile, former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan says the ICC actually represents "hope" for Africa and for the victims of atrocities.

Ironically, they're both right.

Without doubt, the ICC's existence --and the indictments and arrest warrants it's returned-- in recent years, believe it or not, has tempered some of the atrocities in Africa.

Kenya’s political parties pulled back from civil war once it became clear that Western countries would push for prosecution of its political leadership had they not reached an accord after the disputed and violence marred elections.

The ICC also indicted leaders of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on war crimes charges for abuses against civilians in its war with Yoweri Museveni’s dictatorship.

(A Special Court indicted former Liberian president Charles Taylor, on war crimes charges; he sponsored the atrocious war in Sierra Leone).

And, no question, had it not been for the threat of war crimes and crimes against humanity indictments –which may still be in the works anyway— Ugandan and Rwandan troops would still be occupying the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In recent years, both countries have resorted to the use of proxies after pulling out most of their regular troops. Uganda financed a number of brutal Congo militias including Jean Pierre Bemba's, to do its dirty work; massacres to depopulate whole regions and pave the way for looting Congo's natural and mineral resources.

Bemba ended up at the Hague anyway, where he's now on trial before the ICC. He is wondering why he's there while paymaster Museveni still sits in a "State House" as president.  His failure was to win the Congo presidency, which would have offered him similar protection.

Rwanda used Laurent Nkunda for the same purpose. Even with friendly Western media and countries --chiefly the U.S. and U.K.-- on its side, Nkunda so relished massacres that he became an embarrassment and risk to Rwanda's leadership, who still may face war crimes indictments anyway.

So then, how is Qaddafi right in his contention? In Col. Qaddafi's view, the ICC is a Western tool because it indicted Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir. But he's only half right.

To complete his argument, he should state this: The ICC is a Western tool because it indicted the Sudan's al-Bashir, and yet has not indicted Uganda's Museveni, for the war crimes committed by his army and militias he financed, in eastern Congo between 1998-2203; and for not indicting Rwanda's Paul Kagame, for war crimes committed in Congo by Rwanda troops in Congo in 1997 and 1998 and then more recently by its proxy army commanded by Nkunda.

In the case of Uganda, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) already ruled in favor of the Congo government in 2005; Uganda was found liable for the war crimes, including massacres and mass rapes, as well as massive theft of Congo's resources. The  ICC subsequently launched an ongoing investigation, according to a June 8, 2006 article in The Wall Street Journal.

If Qaddafi really wanted to make a more convincing argument, he should ask why the Sudan, which is clearly not a U.S. ally, had its president indicted for the crimes in Darfur, while the presidents of Uganda and Rwanda, two Western allied countries, are not indicted for crimes that are exceedingly more horrendous in magnitude and scope.

The ICC has a future.

Ultimately, the solution isn't to entirely throw out the ICC; the solution is to insist that it prosecutes all who preside over mass crimes in Africa, without distinction of whether they are allied with Washington and London or not.

As it is, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is tainted and should be forced out. Until then, the ICC remains compromised and discredited.


 

 

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"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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