Mmegi Blogs :: The Rome statute, should African countries exit?
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Monday 11 December 2017, 03:12 am.
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The Rome statute, should African countries exit?

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court entered into force on July 1, 2002. As of March 2016, 124 States are party to the Statute. It is alleged that nearly all of Europe are parties to the Statute, all the countries of Latin America are parties; the United States of America, Israel and Sudan have specifically declared they do not intend to become parties to the treaty.
By Michael Dingake Tue 01 Nov 2016, 17:03 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: The Rome statute, should African countries exit?








It is said that 41 countries have been critical of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for reasons not stated. Among these, are India and the Peoples Republic of China . The 41 countries, of course happen not to be parties to the Statute.

The Rome Statute establishes the ICC functions, jurisdiction and the structure; it also establishes four core international crimes namely: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. Under the Statute, the ICC  can only investigate and prosecute the four core international crimes where states are “unable” or “unwilling” to do so themselves.

And the Court has jurisdiction over these crimes only if they are committed by a national of a state party. An exception to this rule is that the ICC may also have jurisdiction over the crimes if its jurisdictions is authorised by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Apparently, Omar Al-Bashir investigation by the Court was authorised by the UNSC since Sudan is not party to the Statute,

The UN membership according to my knowledge is 193 members. It strikes one as strange that not all members of the UN, in particular the USA, Russia and the People’s Republic of China, permanent members of the UNSC, aren’t parties to Rome Treaty. One would have expected all the five permanent members of the UN top organ to have been the first to be parties to the Statute. They ought to be role models in the maintenance of world peace, adherence to the UN Human Rights Declaration and exemplary as mortal enemies and preventers of crimes of aggression. Permanent members of the UNSC shouldn’t be lagging behind when crucial principles are in the process of implementation!

Do the permanent members of the UNSC believe the fight against these crimes is the prerogative of the  weak, inexperienced and  under-committed members of the UN? If not, why are they not parties to the Statute then?  One particularly finds the US decision to be absolutely inexplicable. The US is currently the sole world superpower. Under the status, she leads the world not only in terms of techno-economic-military prowess, but in terms of morality, as well. Yet it’s the US that shouts loudest when these crimes are committed by the smaller countries; she is ever been quick to wade into the fracas, be it Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Syria, with troops, drones and the supply of arms and money to terrorists masquerading as moderate rebels fighting for ‘regime change.’   

Let’s leave the US to stew for a while in her double standards, big power stunts and pulling of

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puppet strings on her squads of puppetry, and investigate what may be the backlash of lack of unanimity under the Rome Statute of the ICC. A few months back, the Afriucan Union (AU) at its summit discussed the relevance of African countries continuing to be parties to the Rome Statute. Reports from the summit was that AU members wanted to reconsider allegiance to the Statute when the ICC appeared to be on a trail of prosecuting Africans alone. This was patent discrimination. African parties to the Statute  had not foreseen the likelihood as they excitedly ratified the Statute in good faith. What good was the  treaty to be apt in theory, when it was obviously crooked in practice? Four African states have served notice that they are pulling out of the Statute which they had originally ratified in good faith. Burundi, the Gambia, Republic of South Africa and Namibia have served notice that they are quitting the apartheid-infested ICC.

The development is a sad one because objective outside observers, together with a multitude of Africans who watch helplessly while their compatriots groan and suffer under the heavy boot of dictators who abuse them without let or hindrance. Africa has been a site of the Idi Amins of many varieties; the Rome Statute was a light, however faint at the other side of the tunnel.

Now the African leaders, some sincere, some opportunistic, are latching on to the selfishness and the thoughtlessness of the so-called developed  and powerful countries. International treaties acceptance procedures are often complex. Participants often ratify a treaty in good faith expecting other stakeholders to ratify the document, especially when they believe none who professes to do good to fellow human beings can renege at the last call. Africans under their culture of botho are ever trusting.

The only exception was the instinctive Dingaane, king of the Zulus, who smelled the rat when Piet Retief and his retinue came sneaking on their reconnaissance mission!  I am disappointed with what is happening to the Rome Statute of the ICC. Though disappointed,  I don’t regret the likely disintegration to follow the exodus of the African members from the ICC; the demise of this potentially deterrent project against the evil that humans do to other humans, should be placed squarely at the door of neocolonialists and their henchmen who expect Africans to be the proverbial sheep to the slaughterhouse! Hopefully the African states, the opportunistic ones in particular, won’t see, as their evil triumphs over the original good intentions of the Rome Statute of the ICC!

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