ICC: Withdrawal of African countries does not make sense – Judge

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A judge at the International Court of Justice ICJ, Julia Sebutinde is asking African countries seeking to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to re-consider.

Burundi, the Gambia and South Africa have all served notice of their desire to leave the ICC, accusing it of unfairly targeting African leaders for prosecution.

The ICC in the past 14 years, has brought charges against African leaders for various crimes but according to Judge Sabutinde, who hails from Uganda, the allegation by the African countries are unreasonable.

Addressing a group of journalists who were at the Hague on the invitation of the Dutch government to stay abreast of the International Justice System, Judge Sabutinde said, “the accusations that have been made against it [ICC], in my view do not make sense to me.”

“I sit and I take each argument and I measure it against the fact on the ground, such as the common statement, the ICC is persecuting African leaders. I take that statement and measure it against the fact.”

“In fact, more than three out of four cases were not instituted by the ICC, but were instituted by individual African states themselves,” he said.

‘African countries withdrawing from ICC’

In October this year, Gambia accused the International Criminal Court of ignoring “war crimes” in other countries and targeting African leaders.

Gambia’s Information Minister, Sheriff Bojang, in announcing the country’s withdrawal said “This action is warranted by the fact that the ICC, despite being called the International Criminal Court, is in fact an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans,” on state television.

“There are many Western countries, at least 30, that have committed heinous war crimes against independent sovereign states and their citizens since the creation of the ICC and not a single Western war criminal has been indicted,” a government statement said.

South Africa and Burundi also withdrew their membership from the ICC in October this year.

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