01:04 GMT +319 October 2019
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    This file photo taken on November 23, 2015 shows the building of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, The Netherlands

    Africans to Stand by ICC Despite Withdrawal of Some Countries - Ex-UN Chief

    © AFP 2019 / Martijn Beekman
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    Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan argued on Friday that despite the recent withdrawal of Burundi, Gambia and South Africa from the International Criminal Court (ICC), the majority of people in Africa, and he along with them still support the ICC.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — "Let me emphasise, however, that the people of Africa, and particularly the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and members of those communities affected by genocide, stand by the ICC. Most of the continent’s democratic governments stand by the ICC. I stand by the ICC, because the most heinous crimes must not go unpunished," Annan said in an article published in The Guardian newspaper.

    Annan's article comes ahead of the annual meeting of the Assembly of States Parties meeting in The Hague, whose members are parties to the ICC.

    The former UN secretary-general reminded that in eight out of nine investigations that were conducted by the ICC in the African continent, were requested by African states, while six African states had referred their own situation to the ICC and African states voted in favor of the UN Security Council referrals on Darfur and Libya, and Kenya was the only time when the ICC court independently opened a case following support from majority of Kenyans.

    The court has interfered because national authorities have failed to conduct investigations into the crimes that were committed, and stressed that the court does not substitute national jurisdiction but it only intervenes when the countries involved fail to prosecute its own citizens, and it prevents leaders from using violence against their people to protect their power, he added.

    Annan acknowledged that the ICC might have some shortcomings that include accusations of double standards and inefficiency in conducting investigations. He stressed, however, that the solution lies in not quitting the court but by working on resolving those shortcomings.

    Annan finished his article by urging Africa's democratic governments to show support to the ICC during the Assembly of State Parties meeting.

    On October 21, South Africa submitted a notice to the UN secretary-general requesting to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the ICC followed by Burundi and Gambia. South Africa is the first country to give notice to withdraw membership from the ICC since the court was created in 1998.

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    International Criminal Court (ICC), Africa
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