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Pulling out of the International Criminal Court is the right thing to do now

31 May 2023 at 06:59hrs | Views
IN 2018, the United States of America threatened sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC) in a bid to stop the international body from prosecuting US servicemen over alleged detainee abuse in Afghanistan.

Said then White House National Security Advisor John Bolton: "In theory, the ICC holds perpetrators of the most egregious atrocities accountable for their crimes, provides justice to the victims, and deters future abuses. In practice, however, the court has been ineffective, unaccountable, and indeed, outright dangerous."

On September 2, 2020, the US government imposed sanctions on ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and another senior prosecution official, Phakiso Mochochoko. The sanctions were meant to stop ICC investigations in Afghanistan and Palestine.

There have also been no investigations into alleged US war crimes in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria and other countries.

Fast-forward to 2023, the ICC issues a warrant of arrest for the President of Russia, and somehow, it is no longer "unaccountable" or "outright dangerous".

"Today, 17 March 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (‘ICC' or ‘the Court') issued warrants of arrest for two individuals in the context of the situation in Ukraine: Mr Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova," the ICC recently announced.

The US and her allies are now at the forefront of reminding ICC signatories of their important duty to help in arresting President Putin. One such signatory is South Africa, which has of late been ignoring such pressure from Western countries.  

While Russia is not a member of the ICC, a problem has arisen in that President Putin has been invited to attend a BRICS summit in South Africa, which like most African countries blindly joined the ICC bandwagon.

This is not the first time South Africa finds herself in this sticky situation. In 2015 South Africa declined to enforce an ICC warrant for the arrest of then Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir.

Now the question is why do Africans put themselves in such situations in the first place? Why did African countries join an institution which even the Americans have said has too much power and is "outright dangerous"?

Established in 2002, the ICC is supposedly an "independent judicial institution empowered to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and the crime of aggression".

In reality, the ICC is funded and supported by the US in persecuting America's enemies. US allies are immune from ICC investigation and prosecution.

"If the court comes after us, Israel or other US allies, we will not sit quietly," Bolton further said in 2018.

Pulling out of the ICC is no longer cheap rhetoric for African leaders. It is now a must.

Get out of that thing before the Americans use it to get to you!

Source - The Chronicle
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