International People's Tribunal: Pan African Lawyers Expose ICC's Hypocrisy At Columbia University Gathering

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Judges: Courtenay Griffiths, QC,  Lennox Hinds, Esq,  Ashanti Chimurenga, Esq. Photos: Amadi Ajamu

 

More evidence of western nations’ political, military, and economic war crimes, and the blatant collaboration of the International Criminal Court was exposed at the 2nd International People's Tribunal (IPT2) by prominent lawyers from around the world.

These lawyers, service as Prosecutors of the IPT2 took aim at war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the United States, Britain, France, Canada and NATO allied countries.

They argued new evidence to the criminal case submitted to the first IPT in January 2012, which was subsequently delivered to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands in June 2012. Now, nearly two years later, the ICC Chief Prosecutor has still not responded to the communication.

This time, IPT2 prosecutors also argued evidence exposing the ICC itself as a collaborator in Western war crimes and crimes against humanity, particularly in its unrelenting focus on prosecuting economically progressive African leaders.

The IPT2 was conducted in Columbia University Law School on January 25th in front of a panel of three judges including Mr. Courtenay Griffiths, QC (Queens Counsel) a prominent London based attorney, who defended former Liberian President Charles Taylor in the high profile case before the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague. Mr. Lennox Hinds, Esq., who has argued before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. And Ms. Ashanti Chimurenga, Esq., who has argued before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Mr. Courtenay Griffiths, QC, initially outfitted in British wig and robes, which he promptly unceremoniously discarded, opened the proceedings with an extensive statement on western power and political-economic interests in Africa's natural resources: “If you declare yourself to be an empire, and you're the Emperor that sits in the White House; when you take upon yourself the right to send your troops anywhere you like on the globe, the last thing you're going to want is for them to be detained and sent to The Hague for trial. Empires do not operate like that. It is a basic rule of empire building. That is why the US has made unilateral treaties around the globe with many countries, on pain of being refused aid; cannot hand over the US citizens to The Hague...”

“One of the essential and fundamental difficulties which has historically faced the idea of international criminal law is the absence of the machinery to enforce its writ. Here within the United States or within any sovereign nation, if you make a law you've got a police force and ultimately an army to enforce it. The ICC has none of that and that's one of the biggest flaws. So lacking its own enforcement mechanism, the International Tribunals have relied upon cooperating states to execute its arrest warrants and bring fugitives to justice. The United States and NATO have shown an increasing willingness to fill this void.”

The IPT2 prosecutors including, Attorneys Roger S. Wareham, King Downing, Joan Gibbs, Alfred Toussaint and Sylvestre Kouadio, charged the western states with war crimes and crimes against humanity against Libya, Haiti, Cote d'Ivoire, Zimbabwe, and Black people of the United States.

Extensive and compelling evidence was heard by the panel of judges. On Libya: the current political and military chaos as a result of the NATO forces’ “humanitarian intervention” and murder of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. On Haiti: the kidnapping of President Aristide, United Nations MINUSTAH “Peacekeeping” occupation, and UN Nepalese troops criminal cholera contamination of a principal river killing more than 8100 Haitians and  infecting over 680,000. On Cote d'Ivoire: the ICC trial against President Laurent Gbagbo who is currently being detained in The Hague in spite of the ICC’s own admission of lack of evidence.

Evidence on Black people inside the United States: political prisoners incarcerated under extremely long term sentences and isolated conditions, the creation of the prison industrial complex, the systemic criminalization of Black people, nation-wide racial profiling, police stop and frisk practices, and historic predicate crimes. On US foreign policy as seen in the continued illegal crippling economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and Cuba which dangerously effect the lives of: i) the people of Zimbabwe as a penalty for reclaiming vast hectares of their own land from a small population of european settlers; and ii) the people of Cuba for having the audacity to practice socialism 90 miles from the US.

Attorney Roger Wareham of the December 12th Movement International Secretariat and Secretary General of the International Association Against Torture addressed the ICC's complicity: “The ICC, by its deeds or failure to act, puts itself squarely in camp with defendants that we have cited for violations. The economic basis of their selective prosecution is most telling."

He added: “If you look at the fact that only African heads of state sit in the dock in the ICC and they are the ones who pose particular problems concerning western countries and control of Africa's natural resources… Presidents Bashir of the Sudan, President Kenyatta and Vice President Ruto of Kenya, and President Gbagbo of Cote d'Ivoire among others have all worked towards economic self determination.

If we take judicial notice of what's happening in oil rich Iraq, Iran and Pakistan with US government drone mass murders, there are clear violations of human rights, war crimes, and violations of the US's own laws.”

The IPT II Jurists concluded that war crimes and crimes against humanity continue to be perpetrated by the United States, Britain, France, Canada, and NATO allied nations.

Plans for a delegation led by Attorneys Roger S. Wareham, Courtenay Griffiths, and Lennox Hinds to return to the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands to submit a superseding communication to the Chief Prosecutor are underway.

 

An International Pan African Conference will simultaneously be held at a site in the city of The Hague. For more information contact the Pan African Solidarity Hague Committee at (718) 398-1766.

 

 

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